Releasing new music in 2020, a year that will go on record as being cursed for the music industry at large, Freo-based artist Paige Valentine has found herself swapping festival stages for live streams… a trade that may feel like a step down in the interim, but is ultimately the shape of things to come for musicians. Paige has embraced the sea change, launching her latest single ‘Pure’ mid-lockdown to a worldwide captive audience of people much in need of some light at the end of the tunnel. And this has always been what Paige Valentine’s music provides: light. We had a chat with the rising talent to talk about all things light, inspirational and of course, pure.
Hey Paige, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We’re loving your new single ‘Pure’! Can you tell us a bit about this track? How did it come about?
Pure was written in a spontaneous visit to Matt Gresham travelling between Fremantle and Margaret River. Matt had the chords he was strumming on guitar and at the time I’d noticed a few people around me that were in long term relationships all went separate ways around the same time and it was written with the context of unravelling time and separation to the beginning of falling in love.
This is the first single to be released since relaunching your music under your new moniker, having previously released music as ‘Valentine’. Why the change? What new direction can listeners expect Paige Valentine to head in?
Valentine was more of a songwriting project that I was doing a lot of co-writes and features under, whereas just simply adding my first name and acknowledging the need to express in a style that works on piano and guitar, reflects who I am at my core which is a singer – songwriter of my own stories and observations. Definitely in a lot more honest and raw direction, very similar to when I first started writing songs around 16/17 but had no confidence at that time to release them.
You recently relocated from your hometown of Maragaret River to Fremantle. Can you give us a bit of an insight into the music community in WA? Have you found many differences between the music scenes of these two cities?
WA has an incredibly supportive, close knit music scene. Across the regional towns and in Fremantle / Perth. If you land a spot on a festival you will have an inbox full of congratulations, it really is such a good community here. Everyone is so different stylistically, perhaps because of the isolation so it’s such a diverse range of talent.
Margaret River and Fremantle are quite similar in many ways, both stunning coastal towns with a creative quirk, great cafes and interesting people. Margaret River is breathtakingly scenic so I still travel down to recharge and I love Fremantle’s rich history, old buildings and amazing music scene.. Margaret River can still be a little more sleepy which is lovely for writing, Fremantle has been great for me to be inspired and work with a lot of creatives and have a fresh perspective.
You’ve said of the single “I think the real key has been writing from the heart, letting my voice go where it wants to.” What would you say are your biggest influences when writing songs?
My biggest influence would have to be just the actual urge of a song that wants to be written, those weird magical moments where you just jump on the piano to have a play and something just pours out of you. At the time it feels like a bit of a release and try not to judge it too much, but when you look back sometimes, especially at the lyrics, it’s almost like your soul was trying to tell you something, or how you really felt about an issue or person before you really understood it. I try to read a lot of books which always gets the creativity going and working with other songwriters tends to snap me out of chords and styles I usually do so that is incredibly inspiring to me. I also love a road trip to the middle of nowhere and have always had song ideas on the long solo drives around WA.
‘Pure’ was co-written with renowned songwriter Matt Gresham and produced by The Money War’s Dylan Ollivierre. Have you worked with Matt and Dylan before? What was this experience like, and how do you find working in a collaborative environment vs. the creative control of writing and creating music entirely by yourself?
I had worked with Matt on one of his songs off the Whiskey album. He loved an unreleased song of mine called “beautiful mess” and had been wanting to do some writing together. Pure came from our first session writing together and pretty much wrote itself with how I was feeling at the time. I hadn’t worked with Dylan before but had done some pre-production in Sydney and came back to finish it. I was really happy with the influences he was referencing for the track and it was a really organic process sonically.
What have you missed most whilst in isolation? Have you taken up any new hobbies like so many of us?
I was separated from my family by the borders and am really close with my family and especially my twin sister so I kind of felt like half a person without seeing them. My new hobby is being productive! Haha. I’ve always been a gardener so just getting my hands in the soil, starting a worm farm, starting to read books again, taking long baths and just having a break from playing live for a few months was great for creativity and writing.
And finally, what’s next for Paige Valentine? Any upcoming releases, gigs etc.?
I’ve just been in the studio today finishing the fourth and final track for the EP, so working on the next single and video clip. I have two more shows for the single release which are Cleaver St – West Perth 26th June and Woody Island in Esperance July 4th.