Tulliah's new single Distant Dreams is out now! We chat to the musician about the release, her debut EP Fre$h Hugs and more.
Image: Simon Eeles
Victorian singer-songwriter Tulliah has revealed her stunning new single, Distant Dreams. Set to appear on her debut EP, Fre$h Hugs, the release comes days after the musicians sold out debut headline show at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel. We caught up with Tulliah to chat about the release, Fre$h Hugs, and so much more!
Inspired by a painting found in her parents home, Distant Dreams navigates not wanting to break away from your visions and goals, instead opting to stay focused and not doubt your own capabilities. The song is an indication of what to expect from the musicians debut EP; heartfelt stories and emotional moments that balances intimacy and richness through swirling and powerful pop music.
Tulliah began working on the body of work in mid-2020 while her Victorian hometown came out of lockdown. Fre$h Hugs is set to offer relatable glimpses at a teenage musician coming of age, reflecting on mental health and relationships. "I was just writing what was on my mind at the time and what other people around me were going through." the singer tells MILKY.
Distant Dreams is out now, with Fre$h Hugs due to be released March 12! Read our interview with Tulliah below.
Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey...
I’ve always sang around the house and started writing songs when I was 15. I had a bad ankle injury happen and was then bedridden for a long period of time. I would observe what was going on around me even more and had a lot of time to think. This was when I really dove into songwriting. My first step into the industry though was when I was lucky enough to be one of the finalists in a competition called Triple J Unearthed High, which is for Highschool students only. That gave me a push into the industry and opened up lot’s of opportunities :)
Congratulations on the release of your new track, Distant Dreams.
The song is about not wanting to break away from your visions and goals. What inspired the conceptual nature of the track?
I was in a bit of a rut and didn’t know what I should be doing with my life or what steps I need to take to make a career in music. I still don’t know haha. I’m just taking everything day by day and learning as much as possible with whatever opportunities come my way. And luckily for me I have very supportive people in my life and an amazing team.
The song was written in response to the title of a painting found in your parents home. How did the writing experience for Distant Dreams differ to your usual way of creating due to this?
My beautiful friend gave me his old upright piano and as we were setting it up in the backroom, my parents were moving a painting that they have had for years to the top of the piano. My mum read the back of it and the painting was called Distant Dreams. The song flowed out of me quite freely and quickly after hearing those two words.
For Distant Dreams, the writing experience differed because I already had a concept in my head that was stemmed from the title of the painting. I usually don’t know what I’m writing about or where I am drawing inspiration from until halfway through the process.
The song features on your upcoming EP, Fre$h Hugs which offers relatable glimpses of moving from adolescence to adulthood, reflecting on mental health and relationships. How important was it for you to explore these themes within your music?
I was just writing what was on my mind at the time and what other people around me were going through. Firstly, it was probably very important for my own mental health. Writing those songs helped me come to terms with how I was feeling. As a teenager I was going through new experiences and I know a lot of people would’ve been/going through something similar. If one of my songs opens up conversations or helps to heal someone, I think that is pretty cool in itself.
What was the hardest part about creating a body of work that is so personal and tackles these themes?
The hardest part would be vulnerability. You just have to block out that part of your mind that sikes you out and just do what feels right for the music. Vulnerability is the key to anyone's heart. It’s all worth it when you have someone tell you that they have related to your song. As long as I am proud of what is getting released, I will put it out no matter how personal it is.
Which song off the EP are you most excited for listeners to hear and why?
At the moment I am really excited for people to listen to ‘Take it Off Now Boy’! I really love how simple it is. For me, It’s one of those songs that you put your headphones on, close your eyes, and be absorbed by the music.
The EP was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic. Did you encounter any challenges whilst creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic, or did it allow you the time and space to immerse yourself within this musical project?
It definitely did allow me to just focus on a recording. Because of covid restrictions, It was only my producer Dean Tuza and I in the studio at the start. I live about an hour from the studio so rather than driving home and risk getting covid, I just slept in the studio on a mattress and then we would start at about 10am through to 7pm. It felt like a mini holiday for me! I would play around with instruments all night cause I didn’t have to worry about waking up my family. I loved it.
What messages do you hope listeners take away from Distant Dreams?
I guess to not doubt your capabilities because anyone can do anything!! But I hope people see it as a fun track to drive around to also :)
How did you arrive at the style of music and sounds present on the release?
I had no clue what the record was going to sound like or what my sound was going to be. It’s a strange process because things just happen unexpectedly and every idea that you put down leads to something else, whether that idea was the right one or not. You just have to be patient and keep trying things out. Whatever felt right for the song was what we went with. Dean and I were conscious not to be constricted in songwriting, production and style throughout the entire process. So rather focusing on the ethos that ‘a good song can transcend genre’.
Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts?
There is a massive music scene in Australia with heaps of great artists! I love Tame Impala, Angeles (who is a recent discovery of mine) and Stella Donnelly.
The current pandemic has obviously put a halt to touring and performing live, what are your touring plans post pandemic? If any, what can people expect from one of your live shows?
Lucky for Victoria we are out of lockdown and gigs are starting to come back again. There are still restrictions on capacity and rules but we are slowly getting back to normal. I just had my first headline show at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne and then we are doing a EP tour around Australia in April if covid doesn’t ruin it. I missed live music during lockdown.
Right now it’s Tame Impala.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Stella Donnelly’s Beware of the Dogs
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Sad but happy.
A musical release you’re most looking forward to in 2021?
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
The best/most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
The other night at the Corner Hotel was special.
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Mmmmm Beware of the Dogs by Stella Donnelly.
Best concert you have been to?
Matt Corby’s at Rod Laver Arena a couple years ago.
Last concert you went to?
I’ve been going to heaps of smaller gigs but last big concert was Lime Cordiale at the Forum in Melbourne.
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Guilty music pleasure?
All of Adele's Albums, except I don’t feel guilty about it.
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
I think my advice would be to stay appreciative and keep making music for fun, and enjoy experimenting because you’re never locked into any one type of “sound”. That’s the same for both.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
When I was in my last years of high school.