30 November 2012
We understand that Guilty Pleasure was written in Bali on a writing retreat; quite removed from the claustrophobic feel of the actual track.
[Universal] organise a writing retreat each year; they get top-line writers, producers and singers from all over the world, pop them in amazing villas in Bali, and every morning you wake up, you get breakfast and it’s almost like playing the lottery; they pull your name out of a hat and you go with who you go with. I worked with Fredro [Starr], who’s a Swedish producer, my favourite claim-to-fame of his is being the guy who did ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’, then we had Washington there, Gary Go–who’s phenomenal, and who I obviously ended up pairing with–and just a ridiculous amount of talented people from every genre. I probably got about three good singles out of it, which I’m changing around at the moment, and finding my sound with.
Talk us through the actual writing and recording of the track.
Guilty Pleasure was just one of those songs that I thought never would have happened to me, but after having interviewed so many artists over the years, that story where they say they walked into a studio, had an idea, sung it, walked out and that was it, that’s sorta what happened. Stuart Crichton, who was the producer, had already started messing around with some beats, Gary started humming a melody and then we just sat opposite the pool from each other and wrote our verses; we recorded it, and kept it. We recorded it in what was doubling as a bedroom, we came back and everyone asked if we wanted to use these state-of-the-art studios and we were like, ‘Well, we could...’ then we thought about it and realised we really didn’t need to. The rawness of the singing and the fact that even in the first verse my voice cracks, I thought, ‘I don’t wanna lose that.’ I like the rawness of it.
At what point did you decide this was something you were going to chase?
The first year at MTV was my dream job. Well, every year was, but as it got to the third year, the third time I’d interviewed Katy Perry, when it got to a point where Powderfinger would come in and be like, ‘oh, it’s you again’. It was great it that, like Molly Meldrum, you build a rapport, but at the same time I was watching artists like Katy Perry go from her first intimate gig when she had just released I Kissed A Girl, to the third tour where she’s selling out Rod Laver, and those massive venues and I thought, ‘Here I am still interviewing her about the same stuff.’ My passion for music was getting unbearable; I would hear songs where I was like, ‘Oh I wish I wrote that’ or I’d hear songs I just hated and were in the charts and I’d think ‘I wish I was making music so this wasn’t in the charts.’ I was one of those kids who would sing–I was in the church choir–so in my mind I was accepting my ARIA awards with my hairbrush in a mirror, thanking God and my mother.
Do you think because you have been a VJ and a model that people will view this cynically?
Totally. And that will happen to a degree; I’m really shocked it hasn’t happened as much as I thought it would. I think it helps that the song is what it is; it’s not exactly what people expected. It’s still pop but it’s not ‘put your hands in the air, poppin’ bottles at the club’ pop. It’s got depth, and when I was with another record label, they were trying to get me to sign with them [as an artist], but I couldn’t do it. They just provided me with twenty pre-written songs, I listened to all of them and thought ‘none of these are me’. Not only because I didn’t write them, but they weren’t close to what I stand for.
I told them I wanted to write my own music, and it was almost like nobody thought I could: ‘Why write music when they are lots of great writers out there?’ Well, because, I want to write my own music! It was actually Universal who went ‘Yeah, you’re gonna have to write your own songs if you want to be taken seriously.’ It’s not like I’m gonna be the next Sia, or this amazing songwriter, but if I can write and co-write everyone of my songs then I will be very happy.
Guilty Pleasure is out now (ISL/UMA)
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