Although Los Angeles-based Australian artist, Mel Stirling, has just surfaced on the music industry’s radar as a solo act, she has performed in various alternative bands and supported well-known Australian acts such as The Radiators, Killing Heidi, Grinspoon and The Butterfly Effect. Mel Stirling’s striking cut-through voice and haunting singer-songwriter style produce a sound that is sombre yet contagiously catchy. Mel Stirling’s first solo EP, Standing to Fall, was mixed and mastered at Alchemix Studios in Brisbane’s West End, Australia. Standing to Fall is available on all digital platforms. What is your earliest memory of music? And, how did you get started in music? My earliest memory of music is when I was about four years old. I rocking out with my Dad in the lounge room listening to "Bodies" by the Sex Pistols blasting on vinyl. Perhaps, not the most appropriate song for a four-year-old but I didn't understand the context - I just liked the energy of the loud noises! Ten years later, I was given my first acoustic guitar as a birthday present and that's when I started to teach myself how to play and write songs. What was the first song you ever wrote? Wow, now you've got me thinking...that's a tough question. It was very different to what I'm doing now. I think it was a quick, three-chord angsty punk-style song I wrote to perform at a talent competition when I was about 15. It was along the lines of "I Don't Care" by the Ramones. I don't think I even gave it a name but it was very raw and I remember my audience looking quite perplexed and unimpressed throughout my performance. Do you play any instruments? If yes tell us about it. If not, do you work with a band or studio musicians? Do you produce your tracks or work with a producer? In addition to vocals I play rhythm guitar. For the rest of the instrumentation both live and in recordings I audition and then hire very talented session musicians. We work together in a jamming phase before agreeing on the final product but I really encourage them to add their own style into the songs. It's a lot of fun collaborating this way because they just come up with concepts I could never imagine.
What is your favorite part about being an artist (performing, recording, writing, playing)? I enjoy the process of creating a product whether it be a recording, performance or music video. The lead up to the actual event is so much fun...all the rehearsal and preparation culminating in a connection with the audience. Then once it's out there in the world you lose control of it, you give it away and it doesn't belong to you anymore...I think that's pretty cool. Do you have any advice for young women pursuing music? Make sure you're creating music because somewhere deep within the depths of yourself you simply have to. It needs to be a calling that you're compelled to answer. You will never please everyone but someone, somewhere in the world will like your music. Humans are nuanced and there are many niches to fill - so find your niche and roll with it! For readers who have never heard your music, can you suggest one or two songs to start with? I suggest starting with "Standing to Fall" and "Slipping Slowly". If you like those tracks then keep listening.