Brad recently popped on the phone for an interview with Aussie pop darling Jessica Mauboy, who’s just dropped a new single.
But, as she reveals below, ‘Sunday’ is just the start of the next part of her musical journey, with a new album waiting in the wings.
Q : Hi Jess. How are you?
A : I’m really well thank you. How are you?
Q : I’m great. It’s an absolute honour to speak with you. I’ve been a fan of yours since ‘Idol’ and whilst I’ve been to all three of your tours, I did miss out on your Oxford Art Factory show as I was overseas.
A : Oh no! Well, you know, you’re not missing out anyway, because down the track after the album is released, there are plans to head out on tour and play the whole new record. So yeah, that’ll be coming soon, which I’m really excited about.
Q : That is so exciting to hear. How were the shows?
A : I had three shows and every single one of them was completely different, had a different crowd, a different feel and I must say I couldn’t really pick exactly which was my favourite. Because of that I think the amount of different fans that come from different backgrounds really brought a different celebration at every individual show.
I must say the Sydney show did go off, Melbourne was a whole ‘nother level of just like soul and groove and there was a sense of kind of… I just felt like really warm in Melbourne. And the community… I just felt like the whole crowd were my family and that we were just catching up and that made it really exciting.
Brisbane was like that kind country/soul feel when people had to drive from a little town just to come to the show and that was really sweet – that really made it for me. It just made me feel like, ‘wow, I’m so glad to be doing this, this is so cool’. I have some really cool fans and I just can’t wait to continue to do what I do and release more music.
Q : Do you have a preference between intimate shows or arena shows?
A : Oh, I do love intimate shows. Yeah intimate shows are very personal. It just makes it feel more real and it almost makes you feel a little bit naked, but also safe.
Q : What I really liked about your ‘All The Hits Live Tour’ is that you still made it personal and close even though it was in an arena.
A : That’s the thing I think being able to infuse on a bigger venue – that meant so much to me to be personal and share those stories and images on the screen. I love that you said that because those shows meant a lot to me.
Q : It seems I missed out on you premiering a few new songs live which I saw online. How far along is album four?
A : The album is pretty much finished and that’s the exciting part. The hard part is figuring out what single is next, the track listing and really putting them in the right form so that they tell a story track by track.
But also I’m a very visual and detailed person so having it look the way I want it to look is going to be the hardest because there’s colour coding and fonts involved and all these little kind of things that you would think, ‘God just do it!’.
But there is a deep and major story that I cannot wait to share that makes the album come to life and really truly that comes from a place of women that came before me. Women that are allowing me to be the woman I am today, and also a person, a human being, that’s part of language, part of culture, part of history that is a living proof of today and doing what I get to do. I’m hoping by the end of this year I’d love to have a whole record to be able to present.
Q : That’s super exciting! And each of your albums have featured high-profile collaborations. You’ve had Flo Rida, Snoop Dogg, Pitbull… are there any planned for this record?
A : You know there have been collaborations in terms of producers who have worked with really big names. Paul Phamous is a singer songwriter, acclaimed producer and a Grammy award winner. He is someone that came to Sydney and was connected with my music and rang the label up to get some time in the studio. He really wanted to write with me and I guess that’s what excited me the most that there were a few international writers that were in town and wanted to spend some time with me.
Same as with The Orphanage who produced the song ‘Sunday’. I love Demi Lovato and Kehlani and they’ve worked with them and having listened to their music, I felt like I already knew them, but it was nice to already be connected with them on a musical level.
Q : And how would you compare this album to your last one?
A : I think it’s deep-rooted in so many ways. You know… really finally being able to express myself as a woman as a wanting woman and needs…
Q : …So can we expect the sass of ‘Go (I Don’t Need You)’ and ‘Heartbreak Party’…?
A : *chuckles* You know, I just kind of wanted to step away from clubbing and four to the floor kind of stuff. It’s really kind of deep and soulful in the way that we could we can translate that with those added elements of feeling like you’re in a club.
I feel like you could hear us taking it back to a bit of old-school. So you hear Jagged Edge and it’s like ‘Lets Get Married’ in Sunday and it has those elements of that old mentality, but also something really familiar that everybody knows. Inspired by Mya, Toni Braxton and Kandi – women who I really love and I wanted to kind of add that tongue and cheek but also realness coming through.
Q : I think its really cool that you mentioned Kandi cause I love that song…
A : *sings Kandi’s ‘Don’t Think I’m Not’*
Q : Oh my God! I’m like dancing at work right now….
A : Woooooo!!! Hahah
Q : Hahaha. But you were talking about ‘Sunday’ and it’s very personal. You’re talking about walking out and leaving your boyfriend. What do you think allowed you to be more open with your music?
A : Yeah! I really wanted to create songs that are in the moment. Things that I wouldn’t have done in the past, but I would do now and it’s so funny. I think you get to a certain age or a point in your life that has allowed little bits and pieces of courage and strength to become more confident and become who you want to be. This record is plastered with those themes.
There are so many moments, characters and personalities that I’ve been able to uncover in myself in the last 15 years and now I feel I am giving myself permission to do that. I think everybody has a timeline that they are working on and at the age of 29, I’m finally on that path.
I finally realised my worth and how great my words are and sticking to my guns and my instincts and I think that’s a really important thing to do. I feel like I always have but I’ve never really been public about it. There are things that I care about and want to have a voice and not be afraid to shy away from that.
Q : That’s awesome. And I’ve got a question from one of your biggest fans Sunny. You’ve released a song about Saturday night and now Sunday afternoon… When are you going to sing about the Monday blues?
A : Hahaha! The Monday blues! Now that its been said, that’s going to be something great. Hold on to that one Sunny. *sings about Blues Brothers*
Q : This is by far my best day at work ever. I love hearing you sing hehe. And you released the film clip for ‘Sunday’ last week and it is beautiful! My favourite scene is at the staircase. Where was it all filmed?
A : This magical music video was happily filmed in a place called Broken Hill as well as Silverton in New South Wales. I believe it’s where ‘Priscilla : Queen Of The Desert’ was filmed and that’s what made it even more special because I’m like, well, it’s so iconic. So iconic that I can’t even bear it. The staircase scene was filmed at the Palace Hotel.
I had dreamt of these places and I had searched images and figured out how we would get a crew of 50+ to get there. I had things planned out and I put this portfolio together knowing that that’s what I was going to do. My story. I was going to be able to project and visually tell in this magical place.
And there were these plains that went forever! It’s called the Mundi Mundi Plains Lookout and it was truly like spirits were walking around me. You would get this sense that your hairs would stand up and this place felt like freedom. It felt like a place where there is hope, everything’s quite peaceful and the quiet is so noisy.
Bringing ‘Sunday’ to this kind of eerie mystical place was a pure joy. I knew instantly that it going to be one of the best things I’ve ever done, and there were a lot of people within the team that were a little bit half-hearted about traveling to this place and whether it was going to be worth it. I wanted this kind of earthiness, this sense of spirit, sense of belonging but also this sadness where you could just scatter around in this place but be eaten up by joy.
When I think about it, I just kind of go, ‘Yes! You did it Jess. Good on you. I’m so proud of you. Keep on rhythm because you’re on the right path’. I’m more so joyous because of the reaction that I’ve been getting from fans that have been there from the beginning that have seen the transformation that has been going for so long and it’s been so nice to see the words come to life. It’s so nice seeing it being typed on socials and people replaying the song and reposting and tagging – it just brings so much wonderful joy.
Q : And your two films ‘Bran Nue Dae’ and ‘The Sapphires’ seem like the most beautiful celebration of the indigenous community. Do you have any plans to act again soon?
A : I really loved being a part of those films – that was such a special moment in my life and at the time. The opportunities were just grand – it just felt like when you see Hollywood and I would just love to do something like it again.
I would love to do a film in a sense that has that comedy in an Australian flavour and spirit. We are so funny. Our culture is the way we talk. There’s so many different twangs to our sound and our body language but even culturally we are so diverse, and we just have this great celebrated humour that really attracts the world. I’m sure there’s an opportunity out there waiting to grow.
Q : I’ll look forward to that! And you proudly waved the flag for Australia twice at Eurovision. I really thought ‘We Got Love’ would win last year. Why do you think it didn’t perform as well?
A : It’s so funny because my gut instinct going with what I knew was going to be so joyous was that song. Writing it with DNA in Sydney – David and Anthony – was such a dream because having experienced Eurovision in 2014 and during the tour there, it really took me back to something that spoke and connected with the people. I needed the song to be the people.
Q : And it was that for sure…
A : Yeah! Thank you so much. I definitely felt that. I know politically there was so much involved, and you know, people were still stunned that Australia is involved. But somehow, we have the spirit that they do, we have the talent that they do, and you just can’t deny that everyone wants to be a part of Eurovision. It just so happens to be that we are the closest to definitely being a part of it.
It’s just going to get bigger and better and eventually, people are not going to be so stunned about Australia being a part of it. Kate Miller-Heidke is phenomenal and I cannot wait to be in my lounge room with friends and family watching, eating popcorn and drinking Coke and just enjoying it. I know how scary and how brave you must be, to be on that podium. It’s such a scary feeling because you legit have the whole world watching you and it’s definitely one of the greatest but also scariest moments.
Q : You have so many hits in Australia. I believe ‘Sunday’ is your 25th. Would you ever consider releasing an album of hits to launch overseas?
A : I would love to – that would be a dream. Whether it’s recreating or whether it’s having the songs as they are – I would love to. That’s definitely something that I would love to do now that you said that.
Q : With Spotify it seems Australian artists aren’t doing as well in the charts anymore. ‘Fallin’ was voted by our audience as auspOp’s favourite song of 2017 and it hit No.1 on iTunes, but it only peaked at number 11 on the ARIA charts. Does this affect you as an artist?
A : You know, I’m sure it does affect a lot of Australian artists. I mean, we have a very small industry that is growing, and we also have a handful of incredible artists that are just trying here in this country. And you know, it’s a hard job. It’s definitely hard, but I think if you really love it and you’re in it because you really love it then you don’t really have to worry.
I think for me writing music and being able to express and then going out to different communities and supporting young girls and young boys. That’s going to be a thing in the future that I cannot wait to be a lot closer with.
My dream is to continue to be able to make music – I’ve never really gone into going, ‘I want to be up there at the Grammys on stage’ – I’ve never really thought of it that way. I’ve always just enjoyed the process of making music and having people connect to it.
Q : Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
A : Thank you so much for your time and thank you for having me!
Q : And I would love to do a filmed interview with you one day.
A : Yeah, definitely. We will have to be like a personal one on one. I would really love that very much. I’m definitely going to have to get the team to set that up for sure. We could have a sing-along, an interview sing-along and get it in a space where there’s a karaoke kind of thing happening and we’re just enjoying – that would be so great!
Q : I’m definitely down for that! Have a great day!
A : And to you as well!