Ngaiire's glorious second album "Blastoma" was released last month and it's undoubtedly one of the finest works of music you're going to hear in 2016. It establishes the PNG born/Australian based artist as the Queen of the future soul scene around these parts and will make you smile, dance and cry... sometimes all at once. After wrapping up the "Blastoma" tour and still with a huge year ahead, we were stoked to be able to ask Ngaiire some questions about the album, trips to Israel and what comes next. Enjoy!
Interview by Matt Bond
Ngaiire! Welcome back to It's My Kind of Scene and thank you for joining us. How are you on this hopefully fine day?
Ngaiire: Pretty good. A bit tired now that we’ve wrapped up the BLASTOMA tour. Been a wild wild ride so far.
Congratulations on the release of your spectacular sophomore LP Blastoma. How does it feel having it out there in the world?
Ngaiire: So proud. Being out on the road seeing what I’ve been able to see and hear how Blastoma has touched the lives of people who come to the shows. It's overwhelming when people come up to you crying after a show which happened quite a bit on this tour. I’m glad I’ve been able to heal some people through it.
Since we last spoke you've been super busy getting the album finished, dropping some top singles, headlining a national tour and cracking the triple J Hottest 100 (woo!) with 'Once'. What have been some of your favourite moments over the past year? Are you taking some time to relax after your current tour or is it straight back into the music making?
Ngaiire: Getting added on Triple J was a pivotal moment. I remember getting the news one morning from my manager then crying into my avocado on toast. I knew things were about to change after that. I’d like to say that I will be relaxing but I go straight into writing the next album this month as well as supporting Leon Bridges and doing Splendour and then Listen Out later this year. Unfortunately but fortunately I don’t think I’m going to be sleeping for the next 12 months.
'House On A Rock' is your current single, earning a ton of deserved play on the j's. What's the story behind the song?
Ngaiire: It’s about doomed relationships. The ones you lose yourself in whilst trying to find the other person. Love can be quite deceptive when you get humans involved.
I may have seen that a video is on its way for 'House On A Rock' that was filmed on location in Tel Aviv. What did you think of Israel and shooting the video over there? And... can we expect to see it soon?
Ngaiire: Israel is a spooky place. Lots of spiritual energy seeping up from the ground. I have family and friends living there but it was my first time visiting and there’s a lot of rawness to the place. Listening to stories from both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides was eye opening and heart breaking. The film clip, filmed in the Florentine area of Tel Aviv, actually drops this week.
You will be performing this September as part of the Maroochy Music and Vis Arts Festival. It's quickly found itself to be the Sunshine Coast's premier music event for the year and 2016 has a really exciting collection of acts. For those that will be lucky enough to attend, what can they expect from Ngaiire's set? And who else are you looking forward to seeing on the day?
Ngaiire: There’s some dancing, some dynamic rise and falls and I give the band a chance to sing in the set as well which is always fun for me. My band are all made up of songwriters and singers i.e. Chris Port the drummer is being spun on the daily at Triple J, Jack Grace is on the verge of doing spectacular things with his solo project as well as Billie and Christian the backing singers. I’d love to check out the ladies George Maple and Vera Blue. There seems to be some vibe around them right now and it’s always nice to support other gals who are on the grind like me.
There's been a lot of discussion over the past couple of months regarding the lack of female headliners on festival lineups. What has been encouraging to see is the response from artists within the Australian music industry to change the mindset of bookers and promoters so we can see some positive change on this front. What do you think should be done to foster equal representation and who are some leading ladies you'd like to see headlining festivals around Australia?
Ngaiire: Oh! I kinda touched on that in the last question. Well, your own voice is your most powerful weapon and as a female I think it’s my responsibility to keep big upping good female musicians who are making great music out there. Obviously I don’t want to live in a world that just puts female artists on headlining stages just because they HAVE to even if they’re not that great but I would think bookers and promoters DO need to be conscious about how inclusive they are to female artists. There are a few men who are standing up for us but I’d like to see more fly the flag of feminism.
What is the best piece of career advice you've been given and if you could impart some knowledge to up and coming artists that you've learned yourself, what would you say?
Ngaiire: Plan. A lot of artists have some idea as to where they want to go but not many people are very good at planning 3 to 6 months in advance. So what if your plans change half way through? It’s important to have a plan if in fact you want to make a long career out of this. And ask someone if you need help figuring out what your next step should be.
If you weren't making music you would be…
Ngaiire: An astronaut.
Your favourite place in the whole wide world is…
Ngaiire: Right now Israel.
One person you would love to write music with is…
The best song you've heard this year is…
Ngaiire: Sorry – Beyonce.
And finally, you love music because it gives you...
Ngaiire: The ability to change lives.
Ngaiire: The ability to change lives.
All of the thanks to Ngaiire for taking the time to answer our questions and for gracing our ears with "Blastoma". Her national tour might be over, but you can still get tickets to see her perform at the Maroochy Music and Visual Arts festival, which has an amazing line-up. Don't believe me? Check out the poster below and then apologise immediately! You should go and give Ngaiire's Facebook page a like as well, if you haven't already. It's where we stole that totally awesome pic from above from.