She might not have won last year’s ‘X Factor’ competition, but Perth songstress Reigan Derry (truncated these days to simply ‘Reigan’) has done pretty well for herself.
She dropped her debut solo EP ‘All Of The Pieces’ late last year, has been travelling the world writing and today releases her long-awaited second single ‘Feels Like Heaven’.
So we felt like it was the ideal time to have a chat about the last nine months, who she’s been working with and her plans to release her debut album sooner than you may expect.
But we begin by talking about her debut single ‘All Of The Pieces’ and how she felt it was received.
“‘All Of The Pieces’ was great,” Reigan enthuses. “After doing a show like that, the worst fear is releasing a song that doesn’t represent you. And that was quite the opposite for me. ‘All Of The Pieces’ was a really great song after the show. It wasn’t really big and pop; it was kind of chilled and laid back and had a lovely thought behind it all.
“The best thing about it was the video where I got to be pulled up in the air with a bunch of imaginary wires. So really, I got to experience what it was like to fly. But ultimately, I’m now looking forward to releasing music that’s written by me and has my own lyrics to it. That’s what’s driving me now.”
And writing has been what’s occupied most of Reigan’s time over the past nine months. She tells us that she’s been travelling the world, working alongside a number of sought-after songwriters to create the songs which could potentially form her debut album.
“I went over to London and I’ve worked with people like Jake Gossling… Jake G we call him. But he’s the guy who did Ed Sheeran’s last album and he was fantastic to work with,” she tells us.
“I’ve worked with Adam Argyle who did my first single. Jon Hume in Melbourne, who’s the singer with Evermore, I went over to Sweden to work with Trinity. They’re fantastic – they did Dami Im’s ‘Super Love’ – and they’re really great.
“There’s no one that I wouldn’t work with really. It’s just a vibe. You’ve just got to vibe it out. I’m doing some really cool work with my musical director, who’s been a friend of mine since before the show. There are talented people all around Australia that are keen to do work and I guess it’s just about finding the people that you gel with.
“The other person I’ve been working with is David Ryan Harris. I just spent the last week with him, basically, and he’s fabulous. He’s so great. He did ‘Battle Scars’ with Guy.”
“The album is pretty much finished,” she admits. “We’re just in very final stages. I’ve written over one hundred songs in the last nine months and now we’re choosing 12 good ones. So I’m finally getting it ready for the public to hear it.”
But though the over-supply of songs seemingly puts her on easy street, Reigan says culling them all down to her favourite dozen has been anything but easy.
“It is kind of hard, because I’ve got a lot of acoustic numbers in there; songs that I’ve written years before and I just love. Now it’s just getting them to sound great on the LP. I want every song to work within the body of work. So it’s just a matter of making sure that all the sound’s right and doing the final touches. It’s hard, but at the same time, it’s a good position to be in to have too many songs, rather than not enough.
“The dream now is that after I’ve released my album, I can maybe sell some of the other songs to some other really popular artists out there who are looking for songs!”
After all, we say to her, that’s where the money is.
“Totes McGoats,” she replies.
Reigan has seen plenty of change in the music industry since she first appeared on the charts as one half of late 2000s outfit Scarlett Belle. Most significantly, the shift away from the physical product to digital downloads and streaming services.
“It’s so different, but it’s been fantastic,” Reigan enthuses. “It’s good to move with everything and not get caught up in the past. The biggest change is that we’re not going to make as much money with sales. You don’t sell as many hard copies anymore – and that’s where you make the most money as an artist.
“Now it’s all about streaming and we’re going to be getting something like 0.0005 cents per play. That’s the way the world is going. But as long as I’m going to keep writing music and keep doing live shows, that’s what matters. And that’s why it’s great to have a record company that nurtures the artist and your artistry.
“We’re all trying to find ways to make it work in order than we can do more later on. I really appreciate Sony working hard for me and doing their best with the marketing of this next single.”
Some things that haven’t changed, however, are some of the faces within the offices of Sony, who were around back in the days of Scarlett Belle.
“The funny thing is that we laugh about how different it is now. The person I was then and the person I am now and also how interactive it is now and how it wasn’t really back then. It was just a different vibe.
“But it’s so beautiful there. They don’t just treat me like an artist. It’s more like we’re just friends and I feel like I’m just part of the office. I love it. I love my management too; they’re in the same premises as Sony. It’s just really lovely. There’s really warm and understanding. They’re just my girls. My boys.”
Reigan releases her brand new single ‘Feels Like Heaven’ today. Co-penned alongside Hayley Warner, John Hume and Phil Burton, it’s a gorgeous, mature pop number that showcases her stunning, raspy vocals, particularly in the verses.
We ask her whether the decision to go with a locally-written number was a purposeful one.
“You know what? The song is the decision,” she says. “It’s always the song that makes the decision. It’s not like I’d go with someone’s song because I loved them as a person. Don’t get me wrong, but it’s because of the sound of the song, the power of the song, the pop sensibility versus a bit of acousticness and that singer-songwriter feeling.
“It’s the whole reason why the song is going to be what I will call ‘my first single’. More so than ‘All Of The Pieces’, just because this is the first single that I’ve co-written. It’s the song that paves the way.”
To the album, of course, which (she’s hoping) might be released sooner rather than later.
“Actually I’m hoping in October,” Reigan reveals. “I really want to drop it this year. But we’ve got to wait. I am still doing the fine tuning. It’s not actually finished yet. But I want it to be out at the end of October this year.”
We suggest that maybe if it does drop in late October, it runs the risk of being swallowed up by the other big name pop releases due before Christmas.
“Yeah, well… You’ve got to play it. It’s never not going to be competing with someone somewhere. So I guess it’s best not to get caught up in worrying.
“I have learned that you have to drive your own project. And you do. Everyone is given the freedom to drive their own project if they’re strong in what they believe in. But if you get lazy, then nothing happens and everything stops. Nobody will do the work for you.”
Reigan’s new single ‘Feels Like Heaven’ is released in both digital and (limited) physical formats today.