KOOLZ is a hip hop, R&B, soul artist from the Gold Coast.
The past decade has seen Gold Coast creative KOOLZ "dabble" in her music projects, but not commit to her artistry full-time.
However, as her confidence grew with each positive experience – including a stint singing with fellow Gold Coasters Electrick Lemonade – KOOLZ knew her path was leading towards striking out on her own.
With a passion for songwriting and performance, KOOLZ has refined her concoction of indie pop, soul, R&B and hip hop – the result is her debut, self-titled EP.
You've just dropped your debut EP; how bloody exciting; what sort of a journey has it been to arrive at this point of your career? Over the past ten years I've dabbled in and out of collaborative projects as a singer and had a lot of fun with that. It was more of a pastime though, and to be honest I really had no idea how to actually write a song.
As I grew as person, I gained more confidence and understood more about who I was and what I was passionate about – and that was songwriting and performance.
More recently it's taken a lot of discipline, allocating the time and energy to figure out who I am as a musician and testing myself to figure out what I'm capable of.
How does this collection of songs introduce KOOLZ the artist? The other day I described this EP as a bag of liquorice all sorts.
From laid-back soul to '90s hip hop and R&B, that mingles with some smokey intimate pop and dances with some Nile Rogers party funk. It's bit of a vibe. Overall though, it's a real feel-good project and that's exactly what I wanted to deliver.
I hoped each track would be dripping with optimism regardless of its theme. We need that more than ever right now.
You worked with Lemaire who produced the EP; what did he bring to the project that elevated the songs; and will it be a collaborative partnership you'll continue in the future? Lemaire, what a legend! Did you know he just got signed?!
I had a lot of fun working on this project with him and definitely have plans to lay down another track or two together in the near future. That boy just gets me! He truLy was able to bring my ideas to life.
Also, I just adore the way he plays the guitar. I had to have his signature gatty goodness on my tracks, it's so goddamn buttery.
Paul Blakely and Saul Harvey also had a hand in bringing the EP to life; how important was it to have those guys involved? VERY. They both exceeded my expectations. I'm Gold Coast born and bred and over the years I would hear Paul Blakey's name come up; from what I was hearing, I was getting the gist he was one of the best in the business.
I knew I had to have him on this EP as this was my first musical baby, I wanted the best for it. So yeah CAN CONFIRM, Paul Blakey is the master of mastering.
Working with Harvey on this project was a bit of a fluke actually. I reached out one day to ask him who had mixed his band's (Plutos) album coz I am a big fan of the quality and sound of their work, and what do you know, it was him.
He was keen to work on the project and we all worked very well as a team. A good team is super important in bringing your final vision to life.
A couple of the tracks feature LGBTI themes, with the expression of love a major part of your songwriting as well; is it integral to your music bringing that positivity and social conscious to your musical messages? I think it's integral that I'm transparent and true to myself (and in turn true to others) as I write. I think that way I can produce an engaging product at the end of the day.
I've always been a very happy-go lucky kind of person so that positivity just tends to shine organically. I've been fortunate enough to have had some beautiful muses to guide me through writing this EP. :)
EP track 'Beach Daze' also features guest vocals from Scopes as well as Lemaire; are you looking to do more vocal collabs in the future? Hell yeah! Got a special one in the bag already. Collaboration projects are my fave.
It's a great way to create things you may not be able to necessarily create yourself, as you tend to bring out different things within each other. If it's the right chemistry, it's a whole lot of fun and experience for everyone involved.
Lyrically, what gets the creative juices flowing to put pen to paper so to speak? Real-life experiences, things or situations that move me but it also can be super-random inspiration at the most super random of times. I like to romanticise average, daily thoughts so my mind is a pretty interesting place.
Your time singing with Gold Coast funksters Electrik Lemonade; how was that experience and what confidence did you gain from it? It was a real life changer for me. When I joined EL it was right at the time I made the conscious decision to connect back into my creative side to which I had neglected for so long.
As EL has a strong passion for live performance, I was able to gain some serious confidence on stage after we toured four weeks after joining the band. I was able to navigate a whole new experience with seven awesome guys. What fun we had.
As a creative, the power of live performance and creating new music – is it a place that you feel most comfortable, the truest reflection of you as a person? Absolutely. Live performance especially.
When I set foot on stage, it's like some crazy force takes over me – that rush, that adrenaline, that energy and euphoria races through my veins. I feel like my most authentic self in that very moment.
While this is your debut solo EP, you've been a part of the music industry for many years including working with M-Phazes and Bliss N Eso in the mid '00s. Your perseverance is inspiring to other creatives who maybe questioning their own path. How did you remain positive during the moments when it must've felt easier to move away from your artistic dreams? All I can say is be true to yourself and be patient.
Put in the work, but also find your sweet spot and don't burn yourself out either – that's counter productive for your creativity. Surround yourself with those that inspire you, believe in your self and keep perfecting your craft.
Any plans for live shows? I've got a festival lined up, but it's still TBC so I don't have any exciting details. . . yet.
As a life-long Gold Coast resident, the local music scene has really grown and matured in recent years – how connected have you found the underground, indie scene to be? The Gold Coast's arts scene has undergone immense growth over the past few years and with that growth comes an influx of creative hubs catering to a growing appetite for live music and arts experiences.
It's certainly allowed us fellow musicians to be more connected with one another and also with our audiences and even more so our community.
In hand, this allows us more opportunities to make more connections within the industry and be seen. It's a truely beautiful thing to witness over the years.
As we all navigate the latest COVID chapter, what are your plans for the rest of 2022? COVID definitely threw a spanner in the works for me this year.
After releasing my debut single and EP I intended to play lots of shows to showcase KOOLZ, but after much thought I decided to take a step back and continue to channel my energy and focus into upskilling.
I'll be studying music this year to be more self-sufficient in the production side of things and of course will be writing more music than ever for you guys. I figured this was the most productive plan for 2022 until things blow over a little. Bring on whatever flows from there.
Thanks for your time; anything else you'd like to add? I have a little surprise coming up, so make sure you're following my socials; you don't wanna miss this one. Oh and also be kind – sprinkle that sh.t everywhere.