After six years of releasing music under various pseudonyms and 'hiding' behind an image, Gold Coast-based pop artist Erin Foster is celebrating the rebirth of her career with the release of her new single, 'Birthday'.
"'Birthday' is a milestone for me," Erin says. "I've come full circle actually.
"When I was 18 I wrote and produced my own music. Then I went through a phase where I worked with a few producers and even did one track with a label – deleted forever!
"It took me a while to have the confidence to become self-sufficient, but I'm loving it now.
"For consistency reasons, I have developed standard 'go to' sounds for things like synths, basslines and percussion; I wrote 'Birthday' pretty quickly using my 'go to' sounds."
The track was inspired by Erin's boyfriend feeling 'down and out' on his birthday. "I felt a sense of responsibility for his happiness, but I couldn't seem to improve things for him," she says.
"At some point I locked myself in my bedroom and wrote this song. His mood gave me the inspiration for the underlying themes of dissatisfaction and the rest came to me fairly easily."
'Birthday' follows on from Erin's debut single 'Swimming Pool', which received support from triple j under her former moniker, Karamilk. "'Swimming Pool' was a really difficult song to finish and release. One of my friends called it a tortured track.
"I wrote it years ago and had so many versions. I even did a version in a studio in Brisbane with a producer and a label, but I didn't really gel with that version, it just wasn't me.
"One night I just re-wrote the song from the ground up using nothing but the vocal takes from previous versions. I even changed the key.
"'Swimming Pool' was my apprenticeship. It's probably the track I learnt the most in writing and producing, and to some extent I realised what I didn't like and didn't want in my sounds."
There has been some time between the two releases, which has been in part due to her reinvention.
When a prominent artist manager asked Erin to explain the story behind the stage name Karamilk and she couldn't really answer the question, Erin decided it was time to change the narrative.
"I wasn't married to my 'achievements' and knew there were many aspects of my artistry that could be enhanced with a little workshopping, so decided to take time out so I could put my best foot forward," she says.
"I'm still young-ish but it's important to set myself up to maximise my chances for a sustainable career in music. I'm not hiding behind an alias any more and I'm super proud to be able to say that I'm doing this all by myself.
"Being an indie artist means finding a way to get sh.t done. Maybe I'm a control freak, but I feel I need to control all aspects of my music.
"In the past, when I haven't been in control of it all, I've always been a bit disappointed with the final product.
"I work part-time in a music studio so I can earn enough money to fund my music, but at the same time stay connected to the industry.
"The upside is that I have taken the time to produce a lot of new material and I have more than a year's worth of new releases all ready to go."
Erin is currently working on a few more singles and an EP for release this year, as well as a stack of live shows, mostly in support of bigger artists.
A previously hinted-at track, 'Hurt', will be one of those releases. "Not sure if I should say this, but everyone tells me 'Hurt' is my strongest track and I'm keeping it to release at the right time.
"It will probably be my next release along with a full music video that's all ready to go. Look out for it. Definitely this year."
'Birthday' is available now.