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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


Lucky Blue is out now!

Image: Matt Sav.

Western Australian singer-songwriter Paige Valentine has unveiled her debut album, Lucky Blue. To celebrate the release, the singer is taking us through the collection of songs track-by-track.

Lucky Blue was started in Fremantle. It was a time when I had just moved from the stability and comfort of Margaret River and my life suddenly changed direction. I started re-building my life, recording music for the first time in a long time, working with bands such as the Divinyls and starting a band of my own. It was a really transformative time. I was by myself during the middle of Covid while still working on the songs and moved into an amazing mid-century home in Fremantle with a big garden and a studio with a blue door and horseshoe above it. It really was an omen that during the time the world stood still, and even though at times I was scared and alone, that I was lucky, I still had music as an outlet to work out how to navigate these big changes. 

The songs and myself really transformed in that time. It was the first time I learned how to be alone and thrive in the face of adversity. Lucky Blue came from me looking out my window each morning to the blue studio door with the horseshoe and the start of writing the songs that most felt like “me”. It really was a time where I had no one else to lean on for the first time in my life, and I think getting through that isolation made me so much stronger and I found more power and a strong sense of self in the music. 

After I realised the lockdowns were going to last much longer, the city became quite a suffocating place to be. There was a housing crisis, no rentals, no shows, and I was missing the country. I had the opportunity to head back to a place I always loved, wrote songs at, and came home to between touring. A remote location on the south coast of Australia in a town of approximately 40 people, no shops, no phone reception, and scenery that puts a spell on you. Here I remembered how to have fun, the lightness of living, the reflection and nostalgia of the intense lessons I learnt in the city.  I remembered how to live slow, without the luxury of convenience (groceries / hospital / civilisation – the closest small town is a 3-hour trip away).  The songs began to change form to complement the landscape, as a call back to the spirit inside you that still hopes, that wants to pack up the car and go. It was total freedom, in a world that wasn’t free at the time.  I started working with Andy Lawson and Palle Mazzulla who brought a sunshiny, guitar-driven, other worldliness to the songs. This record is how I found my sound and who I am as an artist. 


This song is really special to me because it marks the start of the project where my guitarist Palle and I started working together. It was a turning point for the sound of the record, the songs became so much more fun and spirited after our initial collaboration. It was like working with George Harrison reincarnated, he had great chords and a way of lifting the music from the ballads I was writing. He was imagining a bunch of people partying around a bonfire at a remote beach when we were writing it. I sadly don’t party much anymore (unless it’s the odd whisky with shearers) but there's something magical about watching the sun come up with a group of strangers, that now become friends. Being free, living in the moment, and having fun has a profound effect on your spirit and it’s often a way of working out what your truths are.  


Navigate is about the phenomenon of only wanting someone or something when it’s gone – (very much tied into the same timeframe as Don’t Tell Her). It’s about the magnetic force that makes toxic lovers so hard to separate, the push-pull dynamic and internal agony of waiting for someone to stop being confused and “see the light”, see the good things. It’s also about the psychic feeling that the love interest has someone else hence the lyric “something in the way of it” – there’s something in the way of the connection, or in the way of the relationship having a proper start. So, navigating a space of trying to be carefree and understanding, but also being frustrated and exhausted, struggling with the power and force of the connection. It was about a guy who was always looking for greener grass while he had good things, and ultimately deciding to let this unforgettable, powerful, magnetic, and chaotic chemistry become a memory. 


This song was written around the time that one of my closest young friends was in the last stages of her life. She asked me to write a song for her before she passed, but I was too full of words and emotions to even try. How could I capture the essence of this woman, my friend, a real-life pixie?

I wanted to write this song expressing that through whatever dimensions or doors there are to the other side, I have no doubt she is part of the cosmos. I wanted to write this from her perspective talking back to us. The strength of her spirit and the joy and magic of this track go hand in hand. After she passed, I went to the beach for a swim and the most intensely beautiful array of clouds blanketed my view. I lay suspended in the water, having a new conversation with the sky and my eternal friend Bec. 


Horoscopes was written when I was looking for pillars of strength, or omens in my life. I was a bit lost, and I put my life in everyone else’s hands and was at the mercy of that whirlwind in a strange new city.  It explores the push-pull dynamic of wanting to be with someone that you know isn’t good for you. It also is a scenic time stamp of my time in Fremantle, processing the collapse of my old life in Margaret River and trying to rebuild whilst in damage control. 

The chorus really describes the internal battle of trying to protect yourself while also being so far in love that you just want them around even though you know it’s doomed.  This song was a real step in taking back control of my life again and not just letting life happen to me. To not drag out endings, to not romanticise something that wasn’t making me feel good. I also read a lot of horoscopes because this guy was so hot and cold, I was always on edge so I was constantly watching YouTube videos and reading his horoscope to see “what would happen” rather than live on my own terms. 

This is one of my favourite songs, it was the moment during the recording process I felt like I had my own sound. I could see the beauty of the prairie when I was singing it and I love the sounds we used to create that nostalgia and the two landscapes of where the song was written and where my life led me. 


Retrograde was one of those bolt from the blue songs, that literally came to me in a dream the day before I was about to record the last song ( a totally different one) for the record. It’s half about some outlaw shearers who were on the run from the police in the town I live in, and half inspired by the life of Michael Peterson, a wildly misunderstood, mysterious and mind-blowing surfer from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The chorus came to me right before I woke up and was about to make the 8-hour drive to Perth to start recording the last song. I called my guitarist and producer to tell them to brace themselves for a change of plans. That night, when I got to the city, I spent half an hour on it and it was done. To me “Retrograde” is most in the spirit of where the record was born. It’s the last frontier, a place of run-away bandits, living for the moment, and embracing the wild and intoxicating spirit of youth. Those moments and legends live on forever. 


Don’t Tell Her is one of the hardest songs I’ve ever written. I liken it to Dolly Parton’s Jolene, but from Jolene’s’ point of view. It’s the often unexplored and perhaps innocent or untold story of “the other woman”.  It was written at the time I was starting a new friendship/relationship with a very confused guy and his ex found out he was starting to move on. She then, of course, decided she wanted him back. Things went really bad, they started planning holidays together, I started to not trust him, and the whole thing was a really painful experience. I tried so hard to be cool about it and let them have a friendship. I guess I strangely hurt the most because I felt my womanhood violated by feeling like I was at the mercy of a woman I’d never met.  That weirdly was one of the most hurtful parts about it. So, the whole song started because she saw me on a video and then researched me. I didn’t want her to know who I was, I didn’t want to cause anyone any hurt. So, it really was the notion of you can tell her everything else, but my name is my own and I really wanted it out of their thing. 


Hung Up is about experiencing the world without the colour of someone who left it. I wanted to explore the person as a painting and play on that. Re-learning the world as beautiful even after someone exits our path. To see the romance in the void of them, to remember good things, to remember the locations you once walked side by side but now travel alone. To be ok with letting yourself miss someone and know that that might last for a while but ultimately it is worth the love you had to learn to live without them. This is the end of the story for the series of songs Don’t Tell Her, Navigate and Horoscopes that was an equally gruelling and transformative part of my life. It’s the part of the grieving where you’ve gone through every rainbow of emotions to finally land at acceptance and wanting peace – and knowing that you can have that and still miss someone. 


Palle (guitar) and I were coming up with guitar riffs and working out the synths. This instrumental had this very strong introduction feeling to a lost time, a lost world. The synths almost take you to a Wizard of Oz-like new world. That’s what I wanted to create for this track, so that the listener can arrive at the last frontier where so much of this was written and inspired. It’s a journey song, an old surf movie song, a bridge between future, present, and past. 


Maps is about a co-writing session I was in when I first moved to Fremantle. We were having tea with a friend on my balcony and I noticed when the sun hit his eyes at a particular angle they had little dots in them that looked like an old-world map. It also plays on my tendency to fall for people quickly, romanticise connections, and drop all my responsibilities, running from one relationship to the next. At the time I had just moved towns, and everything was foreign, so it was a real limbo period for me that I was trying to find my way through. Looking back now songs like Maps and Navigate really show me I was trying to find my way in the world and stand alone for the first time in my life.


Pure is about when two people who love each other seem to drift apart chasing different dreams, or going through hardships, or just generally changing as people. It’s about trying to remember why you love someone and wanting to get back to that innocence of when you fell in love. Breaking everything back to zero and seeing the love without everything else that has accumulated around it, the grime of years of things unspoken and insecurities. When that is broken away to a clean slate, asking if the love is pure enough to be salvaged. 

Lucky Blue is out now!


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