If you were to write an intro for “Backfire” before it played on the radio, what would you want listeners to know about the song?
My single, “Backfire,” is all about a love that burned too hot that it simply all backfired. It’s also a song about not being able to take back the feeling of a deep desire for someone.
6 Things You Don’t Know About Me:
Grew up in Papua New Guinea. Your Dad watched the Country Music Channel which introduced you to Shania Twain, Faith Hill, The Mavericks, George Strait and The Chicks. The first song you learned on the guitar was John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads.” How has the music you listened to as a child influenced what you create now as a solo artist?
Growing up in Papua New Guinea, listening to country music, most definitely shaped my music. I was listening to these artists as I was learning who I was, how to song write and story tell. Seeing strong female acts, such as Shania and The Chicks, was most inspiring to me because I could see parts of myself in them. I wanted to be able to express my feelings through songwriting as they had done. They were unafraid, talented, entertaining, and powerful — something about that really appealed to me.
Formed the indie pop-rock band Sheppard (“Geronimo”) with your siblings, George and Emma. You’ve shared the stage with Justin Bieber, Elton John, and Keith Urban, among others. What’s one piece of advice you’ve received from another songwriter that you still carry with you today?
We’ve had the privilege to tour with some incredible artists and songwriters, but the best advice came from my musical mentor, Baruka Tau. He always reiterated that your unique perspective is what sets your music apart. Experiment, but always remember the power of simplicity and sincerity in connecting with your audience.
Solo career. Debut modern country-pop EP, Nothing But Wild.
I came up with the initial chorus idea in my hotel room on a songwriting trip to Nashville in 2022. I took the song into one of my writing sessions with Phil and Lindsay and they loved the idea. We wrote it in just a few hours. Lindsay Rimes is one of the best producers in Nashville and I was so pleased with how it sounded – even after one day of work. I knew that it was going to be my next single.
National spokesperson for body positivity. “Kiss My Fat Ass” Campaign started in 2019, using the hashtag #kissmyfatass, to share your unfiltered and unedited photos in a bid to encourage young social media users to love and accept their bodies as they are. Feel Good email club. Can you share a fan’s story of how these have inspired their body positivity?
One of my greatest joys is seeing how my body image campaign, Kiss My Fat Ass, has impacted the lives of so many. Women and girls will often message me to say that because of my posts, they proudly wore a bikini for the first time in years or they feel confident enough to smile when they look into the mirror. It’s all about a perspective change and I always want to remind people that beauty isn’t about how we look. To be beautiful is to be generous, to share joy with others and to achieve your dreams no matter how you look.
Joined the global Masked Singer family. “It was one of the most exciting experiences of my career, and now the secret is out! I’ve loved performing as Orca and joining the global Masked Singer family. Hope you loved it too!” What do you consider your biggest musical accomplishment so far?
I’ve had so many, including playing one of the biggest festivals in the world Rock in Rio, performing on Jimmy Fallon, and spreading the message of self-love. My biggest accomplishment is being able to maintain music as my full-time job. It’s an absolute privilege and takes me on so many exciting adventures.
Covered “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. You said, “this has to be the best song ever written.”
Moving to Nashville. What are some of the challenges you face in navigating the Nashville music scene?
In many ways, it feels like starting again. We are busy building a new life here – new friends, new peers, and new ways of doing business. It’s never easy to upheave your life but we are making progress and learning a ton along the way. If you never try, you never know.
Can you share 12 songs that have influenced your life and career?
Landslide – Fleetwood Mac.
When I heard this song, I didn’t really understand the deep meaning in the lyrics. I was just a child, but as I’ve listened to the song over the years, it continues to hit deeper. This is what makes this song such a classic.
Goodbye Earl – The Chicks.
This song is hilarious! It explores a very dark and very serious theme such as domestic violence, but The Chicks managed to spin the story so the females prevail. It’s empowering and was a great example of feminism. I think I needed to see this at such a young age. It reminded me of the importance of female friendship and standing up for yourself and others.
I Will Always Love You – Dolly Parton.
This song really exposed me to what great songwriting is. To witness both the original and the Whitney Houston version takeoff was a great reminder that you never know when one of your songs will hit home. A great song is versatile and should be able to cross generations and genres.
Tequila – Dan and Shay.
This song is a beautiful example of great songwriting. Like so many, I fell in love with this song from the first listen. It inspired my song “Blue Guitar.”
Teardrops On My Guitar – Taylor Swift.
I found this song on YouTube when it first came out. I was so intrigued by this young girl who was a similar age to me. She was SO talented, and I loved her songwriting style from the moment I heard this song. I binged all her other music videos and have been a fan ever since. Her rise to world domination has been beyond inspiring.
That Don’t Impress Me Much – Shania Twain.
Again, I really seem to gravitate to strong female lead songs. The sassy songwriting had me hooked. This is SUCH a clever song!!
Country Roads Take Me Home – John Denver.
First song I learned on guitar. This song will always hold a special place in my heart.
Somebody Like You – Keith Urban.
As previously mentioned, I had the honour to tour with Keith Urban in 2014. He is a true artist and entertainer. As HUGE as he has become, he has managed to maintain his kind and down-to-earth nature. He’s a great role model and wonderful example of how to conduct yourself despite superstardom.
Dance The Night Away – The Mavericks.
This song is my childhood. My dad is a HUGE fan of The Mavericks and no doubt some of the bright and full choruses have rubbed off onto my songwriting.
Slow Burn – Kacey Musgraves.
This song really perked my ears when I first heard it. It was so smooth and unique but still had a country element to it. It reminded me that country music isn’t just one thing. It really gave me the courage to experiment with pop and country.
ANYTHING Lainey Wilson!
She is at the top for a good reason. Her dedication to her craft is so apparent and I’m obsessed.