How are you feeling about releasing your new album, Cry Forever?
I feel good. I mean, I’ve been here before with previous albums, and in the lead up I get a little anxious and nervous; that was definitely the case with Cry Forever because it was held back, thanks to the pandemic.
I feel like I’ve been holding the songs so close for so long. I think it’s human to second guess yourself, too, and be like, “Is this still great?” Now that it’s out there though, I feel good. I’m really proud of it and I’m excited that people get to hear it finally.
Because of the delay, were you tempted to keep hitting refresh on the songs?
No, I made a conscious effort not to and not to overthink things, too. During any lockdown time, I worked on the songs I had, just making sure I was happy with
the mixes. On Love Monster I was touring so much, so I didn’t really get that time to tinker. This time I got to really sit with the songs and make sure every single song was exactly how I wanted it.
You’ve worked with some incredible talent like Ed Sheeran and Keith Urban on this album. What was that like for you?
It’s great! Ed co-wrote Love Songs Ain’t For Us with me [it features on Cry Forever]. He’s such a legend and so easygoing. Keith’s a legend, too. I’d love to hang some s--t on him but he really is Mr Perfect. People don’t understand how funny he is, too, he’s hilarious. Getting to work with those guys has been a pretty incredible experience.
You’ve probably had a few pinch yourself moments over the years. Which ones stand out?
There are so many. I used to always be in the mosh pit at Splendour in the Grass, so playing on the main stage at that festival a few years ago was a moment. I always watched the ARIAs on TV to see my favourite bands, so to then walk the red carpet at that event was incredible. When I was growing up, I worshipped Blink-182 and thought Travis Barker was the best drummer in the world. Now Travis is a friend of mine and he’s drumming on my track C’Mon. It’s so crazy!
You’ve had some incredible support …
Yes, I’ve been really lucky. Keith asked me to perform with him at the 2018 ARIAs. I was pretty new to country music but he reached out and that’s how I first got to know him. He’s one of those artists who wants to bring people up; Russell’s the same. He wants to connect with new people and he wanted to lift me and help me get to the next level. I’ve had so many people lift me along the way and offer their knowledge and guidance. Whenever I have any sort of questions, Russell is there – he’s a really great mentor!
Will you be touring soon?
Yes, and I can’t wait. When we were talking about a tour, I said to my team, “I don’t care if we have to downsize or whatever but I’m touring this album. I’m not waiting.” I’m one of those angry, impatient artists who wants to get back on a stage right now. It’s been really frustrating.
You’ve been working so hard, what’s downtime like for you?
I really like to binge crime documentaries on Netflix. I’ve started playing a bit of chess with my partner. I like to run most days and, even though it’s my job, I also really like to just write songs and mess around on music in my studio – that’s my happy place.
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