Interview with Salli Edwards

Divine Magazine
Divine Magazine 11 Min Read

Salli Edwards is a singer-songwriter based in Melbourne, Australia. She counts among her many musical influences Aimee Mann, Burt Bacharach, Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Beth Orton, Sergio Mendes, Stevie Nicks and Sharon van Etten.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

I would describe my music as hard to describe! I don’t stick to just one genre or musical style. I like all kinds of music and all my different influences come out so each song sounds different but they also have a unique sound that ties them together which a lot of people tell me is really hard to describe!

Beat Magazine described my first album ‘Revolving Doors’ as ‘genre-spanning.’ Same could be said about my latest album ‘City Life.’ It has tracks like ‘Stars and Snowflakes’ and ‘My First Morning Without You’ that delve into my alternative, shoegaze influences, ‘Golden Days’ which is a folky ballad, ‘Toronado’ has a jazzy, lounge feel to it and ‘Patience’ could almost be soul pop.

What is your creative process like?

It’s not really a set process for me – I’m sure that’s how it is with all songwriters!

Often it starts with a melody or a hook in my head. A lot of songs come to me when I am doing things like walking or driving or when I wake up in the morning. I then sin the melody into my phone to help me remember it because the idea can really disappear quickly sometimes. Then I pick up the guitar and play around with some chords to fit the melody. After that, I rifle through my piles of lyrics to see if there is anything that goes with the melody or the mood of the song.

Sometimes, it’s the other way around and a song starts with the lyrics and I noodle around with the guitar to find a melody that goes with the message or feel the song is trying to convey. I’ve also written songs starting with a chord progression and then write the melody from there. Some songs I have written in less than 20 minutes, other songs have taken months, where I might start with an idea and come back to it much later when it’s more fleshed out. Overall, I think it’s important to not force the creative process. If somehow, it’s just not working or coming together, you can’t force it or the song will just sound forced and uninspired. There is a flow that happens when it is all coming together and if it’s not there, it means the song is not quite ready to be born yet!

Salli Edwards

With the pandemic, how have you found a way to get your music and your message out there?

We had one of the longest and toughest lockdowns here in Melbourne, Australia. It seems like a distant memory now but many people, businesses and communities are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic. When the pandemic hit, I was just about to record my first album, ‘Revolving Doors.’

During that time, everyone had to stay home and nearly all businesses were closed, including recording studios. I had to find a way to record my songs without leaving the house or setting foot in a recording studio with other musicians.

As a solo artist, I am reliant on other musicians to complete the vision for my songs. I did some research online and I found a fantastic online recording service called ‘Tunedly’ which was the answer to all my problems! Through the service, I was able to record with professional session musicians of the highest calibre from all over the world. They did a fantastic job turning my rough home demos into professionally recorded and mastered tracks for the album. It was all done online, harnessing the power of technology and the internet. So, I was able to record and release my first album ‘Revolving Doors’ in 2020 from the comfort of my own home. I wrote a blog about my experience.

What is your favourite song to perform?

Continuing the story about the pandemic – I remember it was very early days when people were just learning about COVID-19 and there was so much uncertainty all over the world. I was in lockdown at home and wrote my song called ‘Traces’ which is on my first album ‘Revolving Doors.’ I was going through so many emotions at the time and I picked up my guitar and played around with some chords. Then I started channelling what I was feeling about the world at the time, about being in lockdown and unable to be with loved ones, and the uncertainty of this deadly virus that we knew so little about. The song pretty much came out in about 20 minutes, lyrics and melody. I love performing this song as it is quite an emotional song and is a way for me to really connect with the audience.

Traces (Isolation Mix)

How do you go about writing a song? Do you have a melody in your head and then write the other music for it?

It’s not really a set process for me – I’m sure that’s how it is with all songwriters! Often it starts with a melody or a hook in my head. A lot of songs come to me when I am doing things like walking or driving or when I wake up in the morning. I then sing the melody into my phone to help me remember it because the idea can really disappear quickly sometimes.

Then I pick up the guitar and play around with some chords to fit the melody. After that, I rifle through my piles of lyrics to see if there is anything that goes with the melody or the mood of the song. Sometimes, it’s the other way around and a song starts with the lyrics and I noodle around with the guitar to find a melody that goes with the message or feel the song is trying to convey.

I’ve also written songs starting with a chord progression and then write the melody from there. Some songs I have written in less than 20 minutes, other songs have taken months, where I might start with an idea and come back to it much later when it’s more fleshed out. Overall, I think it’s important to not force the creative process. If somehow, it’s just not working or coming together, you can’t force it or the song will just sound forced and uninspired. There is a flow that happens when it is all coming together and if it’s not there, it means the song is not quite ready to be born yet!

What would be a good theme song for your life?

‘Different Worlds’ by Jes Hudak. I have lived in many different places throughout my life and have experienced being in different worlds. In many ways, I feel like I have been wandering the earth (looking for that lighthouse as referred to in the song) before finally settling in my home here in Melbourne.

What makes you nostalgic?

I have very fond memories of my childhood in Tokyo, Japan, where I was born. My family and I left Japan when I was quite young, and I have been back there a couple of times. I visited the house that I grew up in – just walking around the neighbourhood brought back so many happy memories!

If you could learn any language fluently, what would it be?

I wish I could still speak Japanese! I spoke it fluently as a child but have completely forgotten it as I was quite young when we left and then rarely spoke it after that. When I’ve gone back to visit, some words and expressions come to me, but not enough to say I can speak it!

What do you think the greatest invention has been?

As someone who has travelled quite extensively all over the world, I am so grateful to whoever invented wheels on suitcases! It’s such a simple thing, but life changing!

Are you a valuable asset on a Pub Quiz team?

Oh, yes! I am obsessed with trivia and love pub quizzes. I have done pub quizzes with friends and we’ve had a pretty good track record of winning! I have good general knowledge and I love questions about music and movies.

City Life

https://www.salliedwards.com/

https://www.instagram.com/sedwsalmusic/

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