Melissa Condo Francis

Australian musician, singer, songwriter and educator

S1 Ep13

Melissa Condo Francis

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My guest today is Melissa Condo Francis. Melissa is a singer/songwriter, collaborator, producer and performing arts teacher from Portland Victoria, and a mum of 3.

Describing her genres as wide ranging as folk, electronica, jazz and alt pop, Melissa has performed as a duo, and soloist under the guise ‘Sleuth’, done international collaborations and released 4 albums as an independent artist, as well as producing and performing in an operetta.

She talks about the way music has bonded their family, how she deals with criticism and finding 'your people', and the challenges of writing music with your significant other.

**This episode contains discussions around mental health issues, loss of a parent and grief**

Connect with Melissa on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/sleuthmusic11/?hl=en

Connect with the podcast here - https://www.instagram.com/artofbeingamum_podcast/

Melissa's music used with permission Spotify

Listen to all recent musical guests' tracks on this Spotify playlist


When chatting to my guests I greatly appreciate their openness and honestly in sharing their stories. If at any stage their information is found to be incorrect, the podcast bears no responsibility for my guests' inaccuracies.

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Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page

Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast


I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!

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Thank you!

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Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.

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Welcome to the art of being among the podcast where we hear from mothers who are creators and artists sharing their joys and issues around trying to be a mother and continue to make art. My name's Alison Newman. I'm a singer, songwriter, and mother of two boys from regional South Australia. I have a passion for mental wellness and a background in early childhood education.

Thank you for joining me. My guest today is Melissa Kondo France's Melissa is a singer, songwriter, collaborator, producer and a performing arts teacher from Portland, Victoria, and a mom of three, describing her genres as wide ranging as folk, electronica, jazz and old pop. Melissa has performed as a duo and a soloist under the guise of sleuth, she's done international collaborations and released four albums as an independent artist, as well as producing and performing in an operetta. On the episode she talks about the way music has gone to their family, how she deals with criticism, and finding your people and the challenges of writing music with your significant other. This episode contains discussions around mental health issues, loss of a parent and grief. Welcome, Melissa, it's great to have you on the podcast. Thanks for coming on today.

Thanks for having me.

So, for those who aren't familiar with your music and what you do, can you give us a rundown about the style of music you create and all that kind of thing?

Yeah, so I perform and right under the artist name of sleuth, which is kind of a bit of a parody harkening back to my days in the police force, actually. But I did my music style would be eclectic, really. I've done everything from sort of folk music to electronica to hardstyle, drum and bass. What else would I have done, I've got a lot of jazz elements to quite a bit of my music, as well. And probably the more prolific music or this stuff that's been out there a little bit more than the other stuff that in the back catalogue, we'd be all pop. Yeah, it's yeah, it's really, really, I have actually been openly criticized for not picking a particular genre to stick with. But I actually like it. I do a lot of international collabs with different artists. And they're all from all sorts of different genres, which is great. So keeps it interesting. And it really pushes my creativity, I think, to be able to write two different styles.

Hmm, keep keeping it keeping it really interesting. Yeah. How did you first get into music?

I've, I can't remember a time when I haven't been a musician. I learned piano from age three. So sort of earliest memories. Piano from age three till about, I did formal lessons till I was about 1516 years old. And yeah, I just stuck with that, really, and a lot of music theory, had a fair amount of personal family stuff go on for about a decade after that, which meant that I was sort of not playing music or writing. And I never really, in that decade, pushed myself to do anything musically. And then just found myself in a sphere, I guess, after after meeting my husband, where I could pick it up again, which was great. So from about age 26 onwards, just re fostered that, that love of music again, and threw myself into it. guns blazing, wrote four albums, did a couple of reasonably reasonably local regional tours. And yeah, I was I was probably a bit old really to be. And I say that with a big smile on my face, because I don't believe in age, defining how creative you can be. But yeah, I was probably a little bit too old to be marketed that successfully to the current pop scene, but that's okay. It doesn't. It certainly didn't stop me doing what I was doing. And I guess I was very fortunate that I could write music as a hobby, which allowed me to be a lot more authentic with what I was writing rather than try and write to a contract. To feel obligated to push out the music. I just sort of got on a creative wave, wrote it as long as the wave lasted and fortunately Um, the right the wave sort of has subsided a little bit about probably the start of 2021. I stopped, I haven't, I haven't actually released anything of my own. Since then I've released collaborations with other artists, but I haven't. I haven't written anything since Lux was finished. That was my fourth album. So just having a bit of a rest at the moment and dealing with COVID and dealing with other other scenes. I think my life at the moment that are taking a little bit more of a forefront.

School I have three children, I had three under four, which was insane. So they're currently aged 10, nine and six. So my daughter is 10 and my two sons, nearly nine and six and a half. And they are in grade four, three and one. So they're, especially with remote learning in Victoria because of lockdowns, it's pretty mentally consuming to try and get them through a school day at home. Yeah, they do. Amazingly, I think we, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a very large, extended inlaw family. And so they've had a lot of one on one time, they've had a lot of reading, they've had a lot of the early groundwork done. So they're actually, I think, probably a dream, realistically, speaking up to homeschool, but it doesn't feel like that a lot. But yeah, I think they're, they're amazing.

So where did the having the children fit in with doing your music,

I think the probably the scene for me to be reviving my, my musical abilities and interest really happened when I met my husband. We've been married for 13 and a half years. And that love of music has never really left me but I sort of didn't have any space to really inject any any deliberate effort into it or any sort of passion. Obviously, a piano is not that easy to transport to various different rental properties and that sort of thing. So my, my family piano stayed with my dad. And I've only just last year got got the piano. But I've been playing on since and everything since my husband actually gifted me one. My kids I had sort of I started having children about two and a half years into being married. So my husband and I were writing mainly folk music together, and just playing very sort of small, intimate Restaurant and Bar gigs in the local music scene, which, incidentally, I found super hard to get into it. There's a lot of ego I think involved in particularly the regional music scenes in Victoria, I don't know if it's like that in the rest of the country. But yeah, the covers scene is alive and well. And certainly if you if you play covers, you can get gigs just about anywhere, if you're any good. But to play original music, it's really really hard to garner a local following. So that that probably was a factor I think in in it just being sort of more smaller, intimate stuff at first. And then I had my children wrote music at home around doing all of that. But I was lucky that I never really needed to have it as a career. So I've always had a wage from another sort of job, or alongside being a musician that I think I was fortunate as well that when I did invest money into the music, I was able to do it under a performing arts business, which was one of my side jobs. So a lot of my expenses were tax deductible. And I had a very clever accountant that knew how to make it work for me. So I was able and my husband was amazingly supportive as well, which was, which was really nice. I don't think many musicians have that level of acceptance of spending 1000s of dollars on musical equipment, so that you can record an album which of course no one's paying you to record either. So then to produce CDs then costs 1000s of dollars more, and then you're really just taking a punt on whether or not there'll be enough I often local support to buy those albums just to recover your costs. So I think I've been quite lucky. That one, I have the support from him. And then secondly, I was lucky enough to have won a couple of competitions, which funded the subsequent album that I was about to release. So I released my firt, my debut album, number anima, which was very favorably received, which blew my mind, I got a five star review from a julong music publication, then independent music magazine, which just did not expect that at all, I remember getting the email with a review and just bawling my eyes out in the kitchen because it had been 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of hours of work, unpaid, nearly, like, oftentimes causing a lot of marital tension because of the amount of focus and just sheer ignorance that I had of whatever else was going on in my family scene. Because I'm pretty singularly focused like that, I often shut things out. So I've had an amazing amount of support to allow me to do that for a period of time. So those albums, were partially funded by me winning competitions, which was nice. And then also the sales of CDs, which I don't recommend doing either. Like, I must admit, I have chosen a medium to produce albums, which is not really that financially viable, but I'm lucky that at least it's paid for itself. So as far as a hobby goes, it's not costing me any more money, which is nice. That sort of takes a bit of a strain off. But yeah, it certainly is a privilege that not many, not many musicians get to get to enjoy

your children into music as well.

Yeah, absolutely. They don't have a choice really. Sorry. I had, as I said, I had music lessons from age three. My kids have been learning piano from or how old were they? I think I started them at age six or seven on piano. So they all play piano and they all start read music. They all play a little bit of drums. My son Austin plays guitar and Zach is learning all those a bit little. Zara plays ukulele they write songs, my daughter actually wrote a couple of songs with a girlfriend, which is super cute. I think that she was eight at the time and her friend was nine. And they put it on YouTube. So because of course they're watching mum do these music videos at home and things like that. Because obviously, I don't have a marketing budget to spend 1000s of dollars on music videos. So I just do the home job variety. I had a rude wake up call the other day actually, on a complete side tangent, I put one of my we've just recently got a pretty nice TV at our house. It was my husband's tax return present to himself. And I put one of my YouTube clips up on the TV. And on a phone or a small laptop screen, you can't see various errors. And then you put it on a massive 76 inch television. And you can see all these little blotches on the screen where I haven't edited properly and all this sort of thing i Oh my God, that's just an amateur hour. So yeah, it's it's been interesting, but I mean, unfortunately I don't have to. I don't have to answer to anyone about my my home job music videos, which is nice. But yes, in answer to your question, getting back on topic, my kids are all very musical. And it's a great way of bonding I think, particularly with my husband and the boys. They play drums and they also play like basic guitar. So they we all swap over instruments. One of our we had a we built a music studio during the first big lockdown in Victoria in the downstairs part of our house and so we have a bass rig a drum kit thing, an electric guitar rig a couple of my since the piano, the interface for recording and a big PA system down there as well. And so we'll have that family band time a lot of the time down there and the boys will they love it. It's actually really good bonding for them with with their dad and I don't think they would have been able to do it quite so early. If it wasn't for them. Piano Lessons might be at the beginning, my husband was thought I was crazy for insisting that they do theoretical piano lessons from a young age because it was quite expensive. And so, and he just didn't see the value in it initially. And now a few years in when they're playing sight reading music themselves and learning blues riffs, with their left hand and being able to have show independence on the piano between their hands and play some really cool little little jams, which he can then put bass or guitar or drums to. It's yeah, it's quite a good bonding thing for him. And for them, as well.

Oh, yeah. Do you find them that because they've learned piano? Because they know the basic skills? They can transfer that then into the other instruments?

Yeah. For them? Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Especially with with the drums. For Austin, he, he's quite gifted at drums. He's only eight years old, nearly nine. And he, he can play with a lot of independence between his feet and his hands. Which means that he can play quite complex drum beats, compared to basic sort of four on the floor, rock ACDC type sort of stuff, which is not criticizing it. It's a fundamental part of Australian music. And there's a reason why it's so successful and accessible as well. It's because it's just so simple. There's a lot of space in the music for everybody to ramp up the vibe when I listen to it, but he can actually do quite a lot of creative fills. And different. I'm not a drummer. So I don't know the correct word, but like different textures with different different types of drums, because of it, because of that independence. And that really transcends from from playing piano, especially blues piano. He's quite lucky. I wish I'd learnt blues piano rather than just classical. But that's where I can teach myself now I've been teaching myself drums, which is pretty exciting as well. So padded, it's great. It's very therapeutic, though.

I hit that the other day. Actually, I did some interviews with some dads for like the Father's Day special. And one of the dads was like, yep, Jones is very therapeutic.

Yeah, yeah. That was drinking wine, as well as the other thing I've been doing.

I had a conversation about that, too.

I think all of Australia is actually that that could be the way to get our economy back up and running. Apparently, we had all this wine that China wasn't buying a while ago. I'm sure it's getting put to very good use right now.

We won't waste it that's for sure. Did the kids come along to gigs or some of the kids I suppose with the ages?

Some of them have yeah, I've done like I said, I've done quite a lot of different types of gigs. So I've put together a few years ago, an opera ready. Operator actually, I think it's a so called deal was two events. I did one in Hamilton and one in Portland and one was called Baroque on the hill and Baroque by the bay. And that was in conjunction with Hamilton and Alexandra college. So I, I put together a performance with a student ensemble where a couple of their most gifted string students were able to join in I obviously had the the core of the ensemble with a professional musicians which were the teaching staff at Hamilton and Alexandra college. And I had a singing student of mine, Medline and Meister performed the soprano to Starbuck murder and I performed the Alto part. And so that was the the settings for those two performances were in churches, one in Hamilton, one in Portland. And so the kids were able to come to that, which was really quite special for me because obviously, there's a certain amount of discipline and rigor that is involved in performing a 45 minute opera. That, like, I just rehearse, I was obsessed with it. I was obsessed with most of my projects anyway, musically, but there was I think the kids knew every single note of the opera by the time by the time I actually performed it. They had had heard it being rehearsed every hour of every waking minute of every day. So you Yeah, they, it was good for them to see that performance get put together. And then there's been a couple of other performances that they've been out. And most of them, though, are in pubs and wine bars and things like that. So it's not really suitable for the kids to attend. And I think it's certainly, because we're not famous enough to have our own roadies to do all the gigs set up for us. gigs where we're having to stuff the car with all the PA gear and transport it means that there's no room for children in the car. So those gigs I've been very fortunate to have my inlaws out at, but my kids have certainly seen me on bigger stages like the foreshore, New Year's Eve and, and that sort of thing, where I've had a proper tech crew and that sort of thing. Yeah, yeah,

that's and they, I've talked to some parents whose children do that, do this. When you're stopped, your kids wouldn't be like that.

And I think it's actually been, it's taken a long time for my daughter to decide that my music is actually okay. But there was a really special moment that I had, when my kids were doing swimming lessons at the local YMCA. And this is long time ago, right before the release of ombre anima, which was my debut album that I'd been obsessively working on the nine songs on that album. And so the kids had heard it all over the house, they'd had it in the car when I was dropping them off to school so that I could get an idea of what it sounded like on different speakers and all sorts of things. And they were very sick of it. And they were at the YMCA with school swimming lessons, and I had turned up with my laptop to sit on the side of the pool and do the good mum thing and watch my kids or pretend to watch my kids have swim lessons. And so I had my headphones in, and I had my laptop there and I was listening to music and rehashing different bars and that sort of thing to just see what what sort of mixing I'd need to adjust on it. Not an optimal mixing environment. I know. But I was. It was my first album, give me a break. And I had heard I heard over like it was so it's such a surreal moment. My kids were in the pool behind me. I was sitting was poolside and then all of a sudden on the PA system of the YMCA can blaring my song in the dark. And I didn't realize at first I was sick because I had headphones in and that was the song I was working on. I was like what's going on here. And I took my headphones out and I looked over and the local water aerobics class had chosen that song because they obviously knew I was there to do their water aerobics class. And so they just bled it at the top of their of their system through the YMCA and my kids borrow in particular was sitting in the pool doing a lesson and she's gone. That's my mom's song. And so I hear this this big, like all the water aerobics ladies started clapping me from the other side of the pool and then my daughter is gone. That's my mom's music. So I think she suddenly realized that it wasn't such an uncool thing to be like to write music and to actually have people listen to it. I think she finally realized that it was actually something that people enjoyed and that they appreciated. Even if she didn't Yeah, they often sing my stuff which is nice

to hear to also realize that other people value what you're doing

exactly yeah, that is the big that was the big moment but it was it was quite a special moment for me because I not only was it really quite surprising and confusing for me to have it not playing in my headphones and playing beside me. Yeah, to have just audiences from all like, in so many different ways in that moment. It was really nice. Quite a weird experience but yeah, that's the lesson story yeah

I talk to all my guests about mom guilt and I put it in a quote. What how do you feel about mom guilt?

I think it's very alive and well and prevalence. And I I guess I just had to decide that I didn't care about it. I have have actually had a lot of flack over the years for I think I got I got told at One point that I was handling my children to their dad. And yeah, so there was that comment. I think I've actually been pretty heavily criticized by other local museums as being ruthless and being overly competitive and quite a lot of other things. Because it seems like a lot of people, I guess that's not just a mum thing. That's also a an Australian thing. I think we dislike anybody that plays a big, we have to play small. Because otherwise we step on too many people's toes. And for me to sort of, and I really, it really graded with me, particularly that one, I think there was this idea that I was I was too old, or I was too, too aggressive, or I was too Ultra focused, and I needed to be sort of more. I needed to be more flexible on some things, which I actually didn't think I needed to be more flexible on because they were my standards. So I've had a lot of flack from that along the way. But I, as far as with parenting guilt and mum guilt. I think I've been amazingly lucky in that my husband not only understands music, so he had, he was a bit of a rock star before I met him. So he had been in bands for years. He plays everything. So he plays drums, bass guitar, sings writes music, and he reckons he can't play piano, but he can. He just doesn't play it as well as me. And so he considers that an abject failure because he's super competitive. But yeah, he I'm lucky that the two of us both being musicians value that highly so he could see the value in what I was doing. And I think I was kind of lucky that I could lord it over him a little bit in the beginning, because he, he had his Rockstar years when I first met him. And so that consisted of band practice two or three times a week, for hours, like come home at two in the morning. It was a bit of a boys club. They're great guys, but it was very much I was The Good Wife that just sort of let played second fiddle really to it. And I was pretty supportive, like I was I was very enthusiastic about his music, pushed his, but pushed him to really push himself with it was very supportive, most of the time of band prac. Because I had my own obsessions at the time I was writing to fitness and running and everything. So I just instead of playing music, I threw myself into that. Then we had babies. And of course I was the only way that I could really sort of have any time was with him musically, was to write softer, more folky sort of stuff that was just the two of us. So we, he, he was very present with all of that, although we we nearly ended up divorced a few times with writing music, because he's got very different writing style. To me, he's incredibly it's a, it's a good thing that we have those differences. But it took us probably about 10 years to work through it. He is very critical of everything that he does, to the point where he'll refine and refine and refine, whereas he can play a couple of notes to me, and I just see endless possibilities. And I roll with with my creative vision on it. And then he'll stop and start and go back and change. And it just pulls the rug. For me it feels like it pulls the rug out from under my feet when writing, but it's because he he doesn't have the same way of visualizing. And it was incredibly deflating to me over and over and over again, it was my fault because I didn't what was kind of that was anyone's fault. It was just a mismatch in how we wrote music together. And then when I started writing my own music, all of a sudden, we had this freedom where he would criticize what I wrote in a good way and I'll critique it, I should say, not criticize it.

And I would take it on board and I would refine what I was writing and everything because it was my vision that I was working with. And because every now and then I would tell him to go shove is critiquing. And I didn't sort of compromise my what my vision for the song was. It took all the ego out of all the previous discussions and we're just suddenly like, I just I don't know, it was amazing. So he's very lucky that he's very supportive of my writing. He's not afraid to tell me if he thinks something should be made better, which is great, because a lot of my stuff on Lux is hugely involving of him. We've he's been very critical in a good way of what I've done. And then regarding the mum guilt thing. Occasionally he will be critical of how much time I have spent focusing on music instead of a family. But yeah, he's he's pretty good. With all of it. I think most of the time the criticism comes from other family members or other museums, really, that sort of don't handle my day directness, I think in my singularity of focus, which I think it is a bad thing sometimes, I think, my blinkers on with my family for a while, it definitely couldn't have endured forever. But I think I've been very lucky that I've been allowed to have a season where my dad just let me ride the creative.

Talking about how you caught flack from people that had your style, I suppose. And your decisions, when you got that feedback? Does that drive you and make you? Yeah,

yeah. So one of my songs on my debut album, ombre anima is entirely written because of that. It's called empty room. And I think it was, it was written in direct response to two people, I'm not going to name them because I don't think it's very nice of me. But basically, a big fu to some people that had criticize the way that I taught my performing art students, people that criticize the way that I was so uncompromising on certain things. And they, they actually saw that as a real character flaw rather than a positive thing as far as being disciplined and staying the course towards what you actually were trying to achieve. I think there are dreams where it does become a bad thing. But I don't think like I look at what I've achieved with, with, with my performing art students, and also with my music for such a, like, I've never had a grant paid to me, I've never had any sort of funding support from a label or anything like that. And I've still produced four albums, and been nominated for awards and won some awards and that sort of thing. So I think, I think considering all of that, I think I've done what I needed to do to do that. And I don't think that I've lost anything along the way, despite obviously upsetting a few people here and there that felt a bit threatened by it. Yeah, so that song that definitely inspires me to write, I wrote empty room about that, I think, would have lyrics to that song, there's little things I do, giving up of me, just to prove to you that there's somehow sunlight breaking through. So in other words, that whole verse is about me trying to prove to someone that I was a nice person inside. And giving up on what I actually wanted to do and needed to do in order just to prove to them that I was a nice person. And I just went nuts, I'm actually done with that, like, it feels like I'm living in a cage, screw all of you, I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna do what I need to do. And it took me I actually needed to work through it, it took probably a couple of days of being really, really like almost on the point of breakdown, I think I was really low from it, because I really felt like it was a I took it, I took it on board too much at first, and I believed them. At first I didn't instead of actually going hang on a minute, what's your motivation for having a crack at me? Instead of doing that I actually took on board what they said way too much. And then I think I think I just came to the realization that those people aren't my people. They don't get it. They don't support drive and ambition and the pursuit of making something the best that it can possibly be. And they don't take feedback very well either. Interestingly, so yeah. Yeah, so yeah, that that was where that comes from that Yeah, certainly I have been inspired by that. That's what I need. Maybe I need someone to help me and then I've run another.

The other big thing that I like to explore is entity so and I'll put in air quotes again being more than just a mom, you're still listening. You're still musician. Louisa, you you have children, but you You're really strong on on maintaining your own see outside of being a mother?

Yeah, definitely. I think that comes through in the themes of what I write as well, I. Yeah, my, a lot of what I've written is sort of autobiographical. Which is not to say that it's all about falling in love and having your heart broken, and that sort of thing, which is fine. Like those are, those are significant moments for a lot of people. And there's a reason why those sorts of songs resonate with so many people. But my music is often inspired by either just what I'm going through in the moment. So an example of that would be vinyl scratch on my album lacks where I was mucking around with some jazz stuff. And was really interested in just making a song entirely composed of jazz chords. And so I started mucking around with that, and I had a flashback of, because we're in lockdown, and we couldn't go anywhere. And it just sort of seemed like time was just dissolving in front of us. I wrote, I wrote about how music was timeless in that respect, like when you listen to music, you stop worrying about how long the song goes for or, or what you've what you've got going on. And so that was what vinyl scratch was about. So it's not necessarily a theme of, of a tragedy or whatever. But by contrast, as well, there's another song that I wrote, wrote on Lux, which was probably the biggest song I've ever written, maybe that's the reason why I'm not writing a lot now. It's called umbilicus. And that was probably the most autobiographical song I've ever done. It was about the death of my own mother. But in a way, the lead up to her death, as well. She had she had brain cancer. And so she was quite, quite ill for years prior to dying. And it was a very confusing time for me and my sister as teenagers trying to navigate being told that it was just us and it was just our attitude problems. And it was just, you know, what the reason we were finding life so hard was because we were teenagers. And it wasn't because we had someone who was mentally unstable, and entirely unpredictable and quite a difficult person to be around. It wasn't anything to do with that, like the outside world couldn't really didn't know a lot of what was going on. And so yeah, that was it's quite a painful song. It's called umbilicus. And so it's really about that connection between babies and mothers. And I think it's taken, it's taken me I'm 39 now it's a it took me 38 years to really be able to articulate what, what happened. Because it's not just about mom dying when I was 20. It's also to do with my identity because my my own biological father died when I was five weeks old. And so my whole life I've had questions. I found out about that when I was 11. And it kind of just erased 11 years of childhood identity for me when I found out my stepdad is an amazing man. And he was a great dad to me. He's a great dad to me still, but it was my identity that really just took a massive hit. When I learned I learned to have that And then of course mum, in the years after that was very confusing to be around. Yeah, so I think having children of my own in particular has informed a lot will have what happened with mum has informed a lot of the way that I parent with my kids, I'm unfortunately very much like my own mother. In a in a lot of firm ways with my kids I hear I hear her voice coming out of me when I tell them off with various things. And I think I have much less of a sense of humor these days, which is very much like my mum, I think she would just would have been so bloody tired. That that's where that lack of sense of humor comes along. Like my husband plays a lot better with my children than I do. Which I look at and I go, yep, that's my mum, to a tee. But yeah, that a lot of the negative things I went through with mum

definitely inform the way that I parent, my kids, I've sort of don't ever want my kids to feel confused about who they are and who I am and, and what, what I really think I think my mum often toed the conservative line a lot of the time, just because that was what the neighbors would want her to do. And I don't think I'm like that at all. So those those little retaliations against, against what I've been through, I guess, coming out, and umbilicus is is a lot about, about that I sort of felt like there was a large level of deception going on, not because Mum was a liar. But because cancer and brain cancer turned her into someone that she wasn't. And she did lie when she was really ill, she would make up things and then remember things differently to how they actually happened and all sorts of really confusing stuff. And then try and tell you that you were wrong, because you're only 15? And don't answer back and that sort of thing. So it was it was a really, it was it was probably the most difficult thing that I've been through. And that comes out in that song. Do you children

come out in new songs as well.

That'd be quite a confronting thing to have to think about. Actually, I don't know that they do a lot. Yeah. Probably because my kids are a huge source of joy. For me. And they are, they are a joint project, I guess as well between me and my husband. And music for me is quite a selfish pursuit. So maybe I don't write them into my songs. For that reason. I certainly dedicate all the albums to them, because they have to listen to them in the car, when we're driving them to school. As I'm, as I'm writing albums, I have to listen to them over and over and over again, then they've certainly been exposed to them a lot that way. But yeah, I don't think I don't think I so much write my children into my songs. But I I am the person that I am. As the as a songwriter and an author lyrically, particularly in response to my to who I am as a mum and who my kids are. There's, there's a song I wrote called Boy Who Cried Wolf, which is quite a partly a political song. And it was written as part of the me to movement, when all these women were suddenly coming out and saying that they had been sexually assaulted or oppressed or prejudiced against because of not putting out or they've just been subjected to sexual abuse in their careers. And had we're now speaking up and I wrote that song, partly as being inspired by that movement, but also also probably as a as what I hope for my daughter, as well. I probably doesn't come across that personally in the song, but it's certainly like, I hope that my daughter never actually apologizes for who she is, and never never just submits because of who someone else is. I don't Yeah, I don't know if it comes across that personally in the song but yeah, but certainly I am I had hair in my mind when I was writing a lot of the time Jesus see graphs

I'd love to write more, more jazz pieces I've been listening to. I'm sort of in that in that calm behind the wave of creativity at the moment where I'm listening to other people's music a lot. And vocally, I think there are some areas where I still need to build a bit of strength in my voice, which Yeah, I've been I've been pushing it certainly singing, singing different techniques and different types of music. So I'm really kind of focusing on all of that. So there might be some more cover. Cover work done, I think, if I can, if I can ever play again. But yeah, that maybe, maybe some more, I'll pop style music. I think I've been listening to a lot of Hayley Williams lately, just because she's got such an epic voice and trying to improve a bit of brightness at the top end of my voice, just listening to her and singing along with her stuff. And my husband has been very accommodating and playing a few few of her songs acoustically. So we've been wiling away a bit of the time, musically that way. I haven't hopped on the piano for a few weeks now, other than to play some classical stuff. I've just wanting to focus a bit on my tech, my technique. So I've been playing a bit of Mozart and a bit of yeah, there's some classical stuff. Just to try and get my speed up again. Is my fingers are actually for a pianist. I've got quite arthritic fingers. But yeah, it's alright. We'll improve again with a bit of practice.

It's so lovely to see you. Thank you, sir. Likewise,

I appreciate it. Thank you, given my kids an hour break from home school, which is nice as well. So yeah, they need it.

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