Far North Queensland singer-songwriter Greta Stanley has returned with a brand-new single "Follow Suit", the latest track off her just-announced new EP 'Sun In My Eyes'.
The EP, produced by long-time collaborator and producer Mark Myers (The Middle East), is an introspective and confessional insight into living and growing from youth to adulthood in the tropical, beautiful, and sometimes isolating Far North Queensland.
Touching on themes of depression, anxiety, and heartache, the EP also explores the beauty of nature, the comfort of home, the importance of friendship, and the personal journey of falling apart before finding a way to pick yourself up again.
Following on from previous release "Kick" with latest single "Follow Suit" (out today), Greta is once again offering her own unique perspective on the highs and lows of life. In one hand completely intimate and personal, and in the other recognising that there are others going through it all too - struggling on, fighting the fight, forging ahead.
Greta beautifully describes those universal doubts and fears of life, while also managing to highlight the magic moments when they come around, and weaving them into how she sees the world:
"Follow Suit is about wanting to pull away and wanting to feel something more but not knowing how, or when, or where to go. It's a song I wrote when I was questioning my reasons for continuing to do things I didn't want to do, and a lot of my friends were too. Because we were afraid of change and the unknown. It's about how quickly your mind can change - to being sure and moving forward, to feeling like time is slipping and you're stuck still - full of uncertainty." – Greta Stanley
Greta Stanley Upcoming Live Shows:
Fri Aug 23 – Darwin Festival – Darwin, NT
Supporting Emma Louise:
Fri 13 Sep - Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Sat 14 Sep - Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns QLD
Thu 19 Sep - The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD
Fri 20 Sep - The Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW
Sat 21 Sep - Byron Bay Brewery, Byron Bay NSW
Tickets available from www.emmalouise.net, and festival websites.
Question: Can you tell us about Follow Suit?
Greta Stanley: "Follow Suit" is about the mundane day in day out work week, it's about wanting to pull away and wanting to feel something more but not knowing how, or when, or where to go. It's a song I wrote when I was questioning my reasons for continuing to do things I didn't want to do, and a lot of my friends were too because we were afraid of change and the unknown.
Question: What inspired the EP, Sun In My Eyes?
Greta Stanley: I think it's always hard to pinpoint what inspired a collection of works, all these songs came at different times in my life, some are quite old and some brand new. Some are about people, and places in particular - and some are just dreamt up ideas that never landed anywhere at all. I think they all tie in, in the sense that they brush on how to navigate your way through the waves life can throw at you - and how it's important to allow yourself to be vulnerable. The title was chosen because I love watching the sunrise through my bedroom window, and I always feel some kind of sense of reassurance every time the morning rolls in, my thoughts settle and I feel okay even if only for a little while.
Question: What was it like working with Mark Myers on Sun In My Eyes?
Greta Stanley: I worked with Mark Myers and Tristan Barton on the EP, both had equal parts in the production. Mark has more of a focus and talent for the live instruments, as opposed to Tristan who has a real knack for beautiful electronic embellishments that really lifted the songs to a new direction compared to some of the older tunes. It's always a pleasure working with Mark, he and Tristan both definitely bring a lot to the table - I think it makes a significant difference when you have a great relationship with your producer/s as the music benefits when you feel comfortable and confident. Everyone can have their input without being worried about someone saying no, or I don't like that, or I love that! We took our time with the EP and tried not to rush anything. I welcome both their inputs and ideas, and I want them to add their own creative take on things - I don't think I could ever walk into a studio with a solid unchangeable idea, it's half the fun seeing what something can turn into when you have two other creative heads involved, they both have a few of their own creative projects too, very talented folk.
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Greta Stanley: Everything, anything, people, places, weather, seasons.
I like to use metaphors; I write most when there's some kind of prominent change in the weather, like winter vs summer in Cairns. I think that's probably evident across my songs because I talk about the heat and the cold - and what that makes me feel, or long for. I'm inspired by so much, and so little, I don't think there's anything key in mind - it changes all the time. I only ever write songs when I'm alone at home, I might scribble some words down on a drive, or in a moment - but they come together when I have that space to reflect on things by myself. If I'm stuck on a block sometimes I get more motivated to write after listening to Cigarettes After Sex on repeat, or Kings of Leon. I don't think my songs really reflect those artists, but their lyrics are real thought provoking.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Greta Stanley: It changes all the time! Anything new is always fun, because you get to see how it sits with an audience before it's released.
With the band, I think our long time favourites are probably Orange & Burden for certain, they've just got a lot of grit and are fun to move around to - but 'Kick' is up there too now.
Question: What should we expect from your upcoming tour?
Greta Stanley: New songs, nervous stage banter, maybe some tear jerkers and hopefully some re-assurance that you're doing just fine.
Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend a show, who would it be?
Greta Stanley: Skippy and Stormy, my two dogs, because I miss them incredible amounts when I'm on the road.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Greta Stanley: Both have their challenges and wins. I like performing, sharing my songs live and in the moment - I've met so many people through touring and created so many lifelong friendships! Touring can be hard with all the other stuff, the flying, the mental battles, the expenses - I'm sure a lot of artists can relate to that side of it, but it's worth it when you get up on the stage and have a great show. I like writing songs most, so I guess recording might take my favour because it's where I get to bring something special to life. But they all tie in, and I think it would be hard to do one and not the other - if you work on these songs forever, you want to get out of the studio walls and bloomin' share them! 'Look at this! I made this, and I've spent the last three months listening to it on repeat, analysing it in a small room and now I might hate it, so please give me some validation!' (laughs)
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Greta Stanley: Hobo Johnson, Dominic Breen, Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird, Phoebe Bridges, Current Joys, Tiny Little Houses, Sweater Curse, Jack Davies and The Bush Chooks (is that too many?); they're the most recently added to my playlists and they're all bloody terrific.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Greta Stanley: I always liked music; I was obsessed with Anastasia and Macy Gray when I was a little kid, then Missy Higgins and The Dixie Chicks when I was about 10. My dad always had a guitar lying around and he sung to me and my brother a lot - I think he knew I had an interest in it as a little one and when I turned 13 he bought me my first guitar and got a family friend, Dusty, to teach me some blues and basics - and introduce me to good music. One of the first songs Dusty taught me was 'Space Oddity' by David Bowie, kind of blew my little mind open. I never knew how long I would do it for, or where it would take me - I started to take it more seriously when I was about 19 and met a group of friends at TAFE while I was studying music who gave me a bit more confidence than I could find in myself, they said "Greta, these songs are good, you need to share them!" So I started to!
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Greta Stanley: Jamie T, Ben Howard and Paul Dempsey.
Question: How did it feel to hear your song played all over the airwaves?
Greta Stanley: Strange, surreal, very cool, reassuring.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Greta Stanley: Outside of music I work in disability support and retail, so I guess my day is usually walking my dog, going for a run or some other physical workout, working at one of my jobs, and I'm not a very social cat - most nights I'm home cooking dinner, working on music, hanging with my doggo and my brother/(housemate). I usually get one or two days off, where I'll go to the markets, Op shops, see my pals, get some sun if it's out and likely binge watch something on Netflix. I'm on round three of Blackbooks.
Question: Can you share your socials?
Greta Stanley: @gretastanley
Interview by Brooke Hunter