Brisbane songbird Sahara Beck continues to spread her wings with a collection of music representing another step further in the new direction she's taking.
Starting last year with 'Here We Go Again', Sahara has followed up with the next single 'I Haven't Done A Thing Today', her first release for 2019. “I feel really excited and lucky I guess with the response that it’s had,” Sahara says.
“At the same time, when I release something ideally I would like to let it out and then move onto the next thing but it’s also a really big, beautiful part of it, getting to watch how people react to it.”
Both singles have been taken from the new batch of music Sahara has been working on in collaboration with Tony Buchen, who has been helping Sahara hone her craft. “It's part of a whole bunch of songs I recorded over in LA,” Sahara says.
“A lot of it hasn't been released yet… but it's the sort of music I was ready to make, and it is very different to my old stuff but that's exciting.”
An ARIA Award-nominated producer who has worked with the likes of Mansionair, Courtney Barnett and Montaigne, Tony was the natural choice for Sahara. “I'd heard a bit of the music he'd made before and I knew he was the guy to translate the songs,” she says.
“I had quite a few of the new songs ready to go and basically just went around and tried out a few demos with people, and Tony was the one who captured it the way I needed it to sound, the way I heard it in my head.
“It was a really interesting process, especially being over in LA. It added a lot to the creating process as well, knowing I was there to make music and there was nothing else to distract me – unless I'd find a good bar,” Sahara adds with a laugh.
For many young songwriters, travelling overseas to write and record is an important pilgrimage that helps them develop their own independence and identity as artists. “I flew myself over [to LA] because I believed in the songs and I believed in what was going to happen,” Sahara says. “It's scary but the bigger the risk the bigger the reward.”
Contrary to the single’s title and hook, Sahara’s actually kept herself reasonably busy since releasing 'Here We Go Again' with a national headline tour, supporting Bishop Briggs and recently performing at Ipswich Festival in April where she got to showcase a lot of her new music and gauge audience response.
“It was interesting because some of the songs that I thought were the better ones or the ones that would get people moving, they weren't really the ones that made people react,” Sahara says.
“One of them that I haven't released yet, in the chorus it drops a little bit and has this motion to it that I didn't even think about until I saw people dancing along to it. It's interesting seeing people react in such a different way to what I expected.”
Sahara also picked up the Regional Award at this year's Queensland Music Awards in March. “It was such an honour,” Sahara says of the win. “I was really not expecting it at all and was in so much shock.”
Sahara will be showing off her new music when she performs as part of AltFest at the end of June, on a line-up that also includes Dallas Frasca, Z-Star Trinity and MARZ. “It's going to be so much fun,” she says of AltFest.
“I saw Z-Star Trinity play at Lefty's [in Brisbane] and I remember thinking 'oh my god, who is this person?!'. I'm excited to see everyone play and it just looks like a sweet little line-up, so I'm excited to be a part of it.”
Sahara Beck is an artist who has grown up before her listeners' ears, releasing her very first album of original material, 'Volume One', in 2011 when she was just 15 years old.
Now 23 and with 2 full-length albums plus 2 EPs to her name, Sahara looks back on her early work as an awkward, yet necessary stage of her artistic progression. “The best way I can put it is when you're in high school and you have a certain hairstyle or something and you think 'I'm so cool, this is how I'm expressing myself right now',” she says.
“It was great at the time, but when you look back at the photos you can't believe you did that. In reality you can't judge yourself for doing something that felt right at the time.”
Sahara says her approach to music and songwriting has always been more instinctive rather than premeditated, and avoids second-guessing herself.
“I've always had this mentality of if you think of something you can just do it, instead of thinking why you should do it or why you want to do it, because that's always been the thing that stops me from progressing in a way, and I think it stops a lot of people from progressing,” she says.
“When you think too much about something, you're not doing it, you're analysing it. There's lots of things I could have over-thought with releasing the first bunch of music that I did when I was 15.
“That stuff was written over the couple of years before that; obviously it was a huge risk spending money on it, deciding I wanted to do that and moving out of home to go to a music school at 15. I really needed to do it, I wanted to do it and there was no other choice,” she laughs.
“I look back at everything I've done and I've just reacted by just doing it. I've only recently learnt how to think about what I'm doing. It makes things a lot more scary when you're thinking about it.”
Sahara Beck is the 2019 Carol Lloyd Award winner.
Sahara Beck's Performance Dates
Noggin Aid - Fundraiser For Nick Broomham at The Foundry (Brisbane) 20 June AltFest at Woodville Town Hall (Adelaide) 29 June Official opening of The Fortitude Music Hall (Brisbane) 26 July Immersion series (Brisbane) as part of 2019 Queensland Music Festival.
Sahara Beck's Kim Churchill Support Tour Dates
Fri 7 Jun - Oxford Art Factory (Sydney) Sat 8 Jun - Woolly Mammoth (Brisbane) Sat 15 Jun - Howler (Melbourne) Sat 22 Jun - Jack Rabbit Slims (Perth)