I forgot to be profound today

What is the origin of this song?
I was tired of putting on airs for this big world that expects so much from us – as workers, as women, as performers. In order to keep my visa in so-called Australia I have to work full-time as a writer at an ad agency and I often just feel this blanket of exhaustion of like, how am I supposed to function as so many people in one day? On one hand I must commute and dress well and perform to the standards the corporation requires, then tonight I must sing in key, and in between I must be interesting – to lovers, to the world.

“Writing this was my little act of defiance against the system that keeps people cold and the narrative that never changes.”

How was the recording session?
I was so lucky to work with such gentle producers Tim Harvey and Marcel Borrack (Lisa Mtichell, Jade Imagine) on this album in Naarm/Melbourne. We recorded most of the songs live over five big days, and this one in particular we got in one take, live on the beautiful grand piano at Soundpark Studios. I was tired, in a good way, and that’s what this song is about, so the energy in the room was just so peaceful and heartbreaking and captured the mood perfectly.

What were the references, influences or musical inspiration?
I had been listening to a lot of really moving piano music before we recorded this – Fiona Apple, Leif Vollebek, Abdullah Ibrahim – so I guess I was sitting in that world where the piano does half the talking. I’ve always been inspired by these really experimental songwriters who speak WITH their instruments – Joni Mitchell, Vusi Mahlasela, you know who I mean? I was actually playing some shows around this time with Jordie Lane, a folk musician from Naarm, now based in the US, and he does a lot of that too. It’s like his guitar is a limb.

What did you most enjoyed of the writing, production and recording process?
This song came out in one piece, late at night, as though it already knew itself, and I was just the small body to welcome it. I was living in a sharehouse at the time, and playing SO quietly so as not to wake anyone up. That hardly ever happens – usually I sit with songs for some time and keep moulding them – but this was one of those times where I was feeling my way through the whole thing in real time as it appeared, and I’ve never gotten tired of playing it. I think that is very rare for me, because I like to overcomplicate most things in my life [haha], so I felt very privileged to experience music in that vulnerable, simple way for a moment.

What was the biggest obstacle?
We had to figure out how to mic my voice and the grand piano at the same time in a way that didn’t bleed into each other. I don’t know how they did it but Tim and Marcel figured it out [haha]. I like to stay away from technological things because they break when I touch them. It sounded warm and beautiful in the end. In fact usually I hate recorded pianos because they can be all bright and tinny but this sounds dark and mellow. Lucky me.

“This song is the opening track to a soft and big debut album called “I’m gonna die with this frown on my face” which comes out 2 September 2022. I’m so excited to share it.”

If you could have invited anyone else to collaborate, who would it have been and why?
It has always been my dream to have a choir of voices from my birthland South Africa singing harmonies and bringing their own incredible sense of song to the thing – people like Bongeziwe Mabandla, Nakhane, Orah & the Kites, Sibusile Xaba and Siphephelo Ndlovu. Actually one day I would love to play two pianos with Siphephelo. His piano playing just destroys me. It would be beautiful to see what he would do with a song like this one.

What is the biggest challenge to play this song live?
The chorus is very low [haha]. I think over the past three years since we recorded it my voice actually changed completely – I lived alone during the lockdowns in Melbourne and kind of didn’t speak much, except on some work calls, and sang in a really quiet, new way. It changed my tone and range a little or at least showed me new ways of using my voice and now sometimes I cannot reach those notes anymore. A couple of gigs I’ve had to stop halfway through because I’m laughing so much at how shit I sound and I have to transpose my keyboard up and do the rest of the song a little higher [haha]. I could just change the key of the song permanently but I’m lazy and I like how it feels under my fingers [haha].