Q&A Ricki-lee Coul­ter: “I’ve had to start over again.”

SINGER

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - In­ter­view by CAMERON ADAMS

What’s it like be­ing an artist in a time when you don’t nec­es­sar­ily need tal­ent to be fa­mous? A lot of artists, es­pe­cially young artists, seem to want to get into mu­sic for the fame and the glitz and they want to be rich and fly first class to New York. It’s so su­per­fi­cial; it’s not re­al­ity. You’ve got to work your arse off. You get beaten down con­stantly by crit­ics and fans and get judged and crit­i­cised. You have to be re­silient and tena­cious and am­bi­tious and driven – and not be afraid of fail­ing. You’ve been away for three years work­ing on new mu­sic. Is that a risk in the short-at­ten­tion-span world of mod­ern pop? To­tally. But I’ve al­ways been some­one to put ev­ery­thing on the line. The plan was to just write great songs and for­get the bells and whis­tles. In pop mu­sic, mar­ket­ing, videos, images and styling can take over. I wanted to strip all that back, [for] it to be all about the songs. So many peo­ple are fo­cused on chas­ing a trend or the sound on ra­dio at the mo­ment. That was ev­ery­thing I didn’t want to do. I was in­spired by peo­ple like Sam Smith, Adele and Sia who make clas­sic songs that are go­ing to be around for­ever – the same way you lis­ten to Ste­vie Won­der, The Bea­tles, Michael Jack­son. Their songs sur­vived trends be­cause they’re just great songs. The raw, soulful feel of your new sin­gle ‘Not Too Late’ prob­a­bly wasn’t what many peo­ple were ex­pect­ing from you. This song has got a spe­cial re­ac­tion from ev­ery per­son who’s heard it and that re­ac­tion is the rea­son I do what I do. The rea­son I wanted to make mu­sic from when I was seven, watch­ing Michael Jack­son on TV, was it made peo­ple feel some­thing. Whether peo­ple like me or they don’t, I can’t imag­ine peo­ple hear­ing this song and

not feel­ing some­thing. You’re now 31 and there’s a theme of loss and re­demp­tion in the song’s lyrics. I’m sure there are peo­ple who think I don’t un­der­stand what pain or strug­gle is. They see where I’m at in my life now and can’t imag­ine I’ve been to hell and back, as well. We all get dealt sh*tty cards in life. This song is re­ally about say­ing some­times we lose our way but it’s never too late to turn it around. I’ve had to start over again so many times in my life I’ve lost count. You’re mar­ried to your man­ager [Rich Harrison]. In the his­tory of show busi­ness that ei­ther goes re­ally well or re­ally badly. He’s an amaz­ing sup­port. He’s pushed me fur­ther than I thought I could go cre­atively. We moved to LA in­def­i­nitely so I could write with peo­ple for this al­bum. We put our stuff in stor­age. We were liv­ing in West Hol­ly­wood where we knew no­body. I’d come home from the stu­dio ev­ery day and for a long time he’d hear these

“A lot of young artists want to get into mu­sic for the fame and the glitz… but you have to be re­silient and not afraid to fail”

songs I was do­ing and he’d say, “This is just so empty, it’s soul­less – I don’t hear you in any of this.” It’s so im­por­tant to have some­body who is hon­est with you. What’s it like go­ing to LA and ar­riv­ing as some­body who is start­ing over? It’s tough! No­body cares about you or what you’ve done. The writ­ers want to get their songs on the next Justin Bieber or Bey­oncé record. I was torn for so long, try­ing to please every­one – be­tween my fans that love dance/club pop, and mak­ing songs that were more story-based and less about shak­ing your arse. Some­times the ugly truth is the most pow­er­ful thing. That’s what we got on this. Your Instagram posts al­ways seem to gen­er­ate click­bait sto­ries. Why is that? I don’t re­ally care about peo­ple be­ing rude about me on my so­cial me­dia. I don’t al­low those peo­ple to ruin one sec­ond of my day. It can be frus­trat­ing when you read me­dia sto­ries that are so un­true, at­tach­ing your name for click­bait. That pisses me off. I worked re­ally hard to get to the po­si­tion I’m in. I fo­cus on the good things in my life, not how many likes a photo gets or how many fol­low­ers I have. I care about what kind of per­son I am, what kind of a friend I am or what kind of wife or sis­ter or aunty I am. But peo­ple are still ob­sessed by what you eat and weigh… Like I care what they think about what I eat! I fall for it, too – I click on things go­ing, “OMG, she did not!” Web­sites or mag­a­zines will find a fat photo of me and say, “Oh, she’s off the rails.” I get it. I know the game. I un­der­stand where it all comes from. If I post about eat­ing an amaz­ing burger, the next meal I might be eat­ing cel­ery. It’s about bal­ance. Do you say no to a lot of things? Ev­ery day, whether it’s peo­ple want­ing to pay you to post things on Instagram or en­dorse­ment deals. I’d only pro­mote some­thing I ac­tu­ally use. I never make any de­ci­sions based on money. If you’re do­ing that you’re never go­ing to make the right de­ci­sions. ‘Not Too Late’ is out now.

“I’ve had to start over again in life so many times I’ve lost count”

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