Words by Keane Fletcher
It's Friday peeps, and you know what that means. Some fresh tracks to help you slide into the weekend. And this afternoon they come courtesy of Northern Rivers-based R&B superstar Budjerah who's second EP Conversations (Warner Music Australia) has just dropped today!
Picking up where his first self-titled EP left off, Conversations sees Budjerah reuniting with longtime producers Matt Corby and Chris Collins, as well as new collaborators MAY-A and Konstantin Kersting, revealing a darker, sleeker sound that's reflective of the changes he's experienced in the last 12 months. Say's Budjerah:
'These songs speak about the last year - about me figuring out what’s important.'
And to top it all off, he's just announced his first world tour, kicking off in Oz and taking him throughout Europe and the U.S. before finally returning him home as a special guest for Vance Joy. And he's only 19. I'm just happy if I put on pants today.
To celebrate the release of Conversations as well as his upcoming world tour, we sat down with Budjerah to talk all things music, inspo, and what being a global superstar means to him. Check it out below!
1- Where in the world are you right now?
I’m at home, in Fingal Head, right next to the beach.
2- Conversations comes almost exactly a year after your debut EP was released. How does it feel to be releasing new music? Has much changed for you over the past 12 months?
It feels amazing to be releasing new music. I’m also feeling a little nervous, but I think that's normal for a new release. A lot has happened since my first EP, it feels like it’s been ages since it came out. I’ve gotten a lot busier, so I find myself planning out my days more to make time for little things, which is kinda weird.
3- Can you tell us a little bit about the writing behind the EP. What were your inspirations? Do you usually write towards a specific theme or concept, or is the process far freer and less structured?
I didn’t have any specific inspirations for these songs, they mostly came from me needing to express myself when I was going through certain things over the last year. I went through a lot of changes and to handle it, I talked to the people I was writing with and put it into music.
4- Not only are you reuniting with longtime producers Matt Corby and Chris Collins, you’re also working with MAY-A and Konstantin Kersting for the first time. What do you usually look for in a collaboration? And how do you find your creative process changes when you’re working closely with someone else?
When I go into a writing session with someone new, I try to make them a friend first before we write a song. It’s a lot easier to write songs when you trust the people around you. The process is also a lot more fun. I don’t like writing by myself. I doubt everything I write so I enjoy getting outside opinions.
5- Has the success of your previous releases changed the way you approach music? Do you feel more pressure or is it exciting to know you have so many listeners out there waiting to see what you drop next?
I try not to think about the listeners too much when I write. I love them but I think they also like to listen to my songs because it’s my story and if I think too much about what they’ll want to hear, then we might lose the things we like most about these songs.
6- You’ve also just announced your first world tour! How excited are you to be getting to see the world after these last few years of craziness?
I’m really excited to go overseas. I’ve never been to Europe or America so I can't wait to try all the food and experience the different cultures. I’ve always dreamed of touring the world, so it’s crazy that it’s reality now.
7- For a lot of our readers, it almost seems like you’ve exploded on the scene and taken off at a clip. Especially considering your young age. But can you tell us a bit about the challenges you’ve faced in getting to where you are today?
I feel like I’ve been a little lucky compared to some of my friends in the music industry. It can be quite tough mentally. Rejection isn’t easy. The hardest thing for me would be prioritizing work over hanging out with my friends or making time for myself. Constantly writing and being away from home is tough after a while but it’s my choice and pays off in the end.
8- Who are your favourite artists at the moment?
My current favourite is King Stingray. In my opinion, they are the greatest band in Australia right now. They are incredibly skilled musicians, and their music is just fun and gives me energy when I listen to them.
9- How do you de-stress when you’re not working?
I like to go surfing. When I’m in the water, I don’t have to check my phone or think about anything. It’s really easy to have a clean mind when all you have to think about is not get smashed by the next set of waves.
10- How does the future look for Budjerah?
It looks like a lot of live shows! I love performing and now that restrictions are easing, I got a band together and booked a ton of shows. When I get tired of performing, I’ll take a break and write some new song for everyone, I think.
For ticketing and all other tour info go to: www.budjerah.com
And don't forget to check out Conversations on all good streaming platforms now!
Thanks for stopping by Hipland!