It’s a song about empowerment and control. Do you feel more in control now of your career and your direction than you have in the past?
I know that I’m more determined than ever. Even coming up with the idea for this song and for the rest of the record, yes it’s very collective, but the team are making it possible for me to do it all. I think that of course you grow from 16 to now 33. It’s very different places and spaces, and you just get stronger and wiser – but also still childlike. Still! At one point in my life I was pressuring myself that everything had to be perfect, but I’ve learnt to be nicer and more caring to myself, and aware of how that’s projecting in my environment.
The song is also about getting through life’s ups and downs. Can you speak to any times where you have overcome adversity or emerged from a tough time?
I would have to say that coming through my first record deal and just not having any sense of how this works, and leaving it up to others but wanting to be included. I felt like I didn’t have control and it made me blind to what I was doing. I think that, too, being First Nations there was a lot of pressure on being a woman and of colour at that time – there was a lot. And I didn’t know how to handle it, putting it to the side, and making it basic for me: I love music, I know I’m really good at it, let me just work on this and build, and I will come back to it.
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You’re increasingly becoming a mentor to young performers. Do you enjoy that role and what do you hope or try to convey to them?
I do enjoy it – although sometimes I don’t believe in myself that I can do it. That’s just the subconscious going, “You don’t know what you’re doing.” I don’t think I’ve ever done or projected, “Do it that way.” I’ve never been that kind of person. I think you should do it how you feel that you need to, in your own way so that you feel comfortable.
A lot of teen stars either burn out or blow up their careers...
Yes, that’s scary.
How do you think you avoided those pitfalls and can now look back on a long career?
This is such an important question as it takes me back to things that I was really afraid of doing, that I didn’t want to do. The choices were there to be made.
My parents always used to say, “Never forget where you come from, who you are, where you want to go and want you want to do.” I think that always stayed with me because in this life, society is always going to poke at you to say, “You gotta be this and you gotta do that, and this is how you’ve got to say it and it’s got to be perfect.”
So I think that was one thing I was really mindful of. Those words that my parents always used to share, that was the very base of everything and every time I walked into a different space, a studio or a stage, or an event, that was at the forefront. I know who I am, I know where I come from.
Who are your musical influences at the moment and who would you love to collaborate with?
I’ve always admired Mark Ronson, he’s a genius – I would love to be in the same room and see how this incredible human operates. Pharrell Williams is someone I really admire and look up to, and not as just a singer-songwriter, but a producer who’s been around for such a long time and created so much for so many people. Those two people would be a dream! In terms of style, I’ve always loved Mariah Carey. I love her older stuff, and I will sometimes sit and go through Music Box and The Emancipation of Mimi. As a lyricist and singer, it’s amazing to listen to that and gain inspiration.