girl talk: 10 questions with liv cartledge
Liv Cartledge is the husky-voiced new singer you’re gonna be hearing about all over the place very soon. Her debut EP, Timber is out towards the end of the year. In the meantime, take a moment to listen to her soulful single You Got Me High. Check out ten questions with the artist below, and get to know her as both the talented musician and the hard-working young woman she is.
How did music come into your life? When did you know you wanted to express yourself through it?
My Dad was a musician so music has been in my life from day dot. We were forever singing around the house and the campfire when I was younger. It just sort of became second nature to me. I picked up the guitar pretty quick after my Dad taught me how to play a chord on the couch at my grandparent’s house in Bendigo, and it wasn’t long before I started having a go at songwriting. One of the first songs I wrote was about a foster child who was living with some family friends of ours when I was about 11. That was probably when I realised I could express myself and tell a story through songwriting.
You have such a unique voice and style – who do you draw inspiration from and how do you create your individuality?
I draw inspiration from a few different places. I love Aussie songwriters/singers like Ainslie Wills and Lisa Mitchell as well as some not-so-local groups like Fleetwood Mac and Janis Joplin. Female artists with power like these ladies give me a lot of inspiration. I guess my individuality maybe came from growing up in such a small town where I had the time and space to work on my sound as loud as I wanted, whenever I wanted. Also, gigging on the pub circuit with my Dad in my early high school days perhaps had an impact on my sound today.
I read that you grew up surrounded by beautiful natural scenery – does nature and your setting have a strong impact on your music?
Absolutely it does. I actually find it quite hard to write living in Melbourne. Most of my songwriting gets done when I’m at home in Beechworth visiting my family. I’m lucky, I get to float between Brunswick and Beechworth and get the best of both worlds. It’s almost like having a ‘songwriting retreat’ on hand whenever I need it.
You have recorded some songs in Canada with Daniel Ledwell! How was the experience?
U N R E A L. Daniel is an absolute legend and a weapon in the studio. I was stoked to work with him on this EP. It couldn’t have been more surreal. I was expecting the studio to be much like what I was used to in Melbourne. Usually pretty grim from the outside. Instead I arrived to a beautiful timber studio tucked in the trees overlooking a lake.
Which songs were the quickest to write and which took the longest? Do you find some thoughts and feelings flow more easily than others?
They’re all a bit all over the shop. Heard Your Name was one I sat on for a little while. I had the first verse down and didn’t look at it again for about 6 months. The rest of the song I smashed out in about 20 minutes. I find it easier to write sad songs usually, songwriting is a cathartic process for me.
What are you doing now while you wait for Timber to be released?
Just riding the wave for the minute! Playing gigs around the traps both solo and with my band, writing as much as I can when I can, floating between Brunswick and Beechworth.
I absolutely love You Got Me High– I think it’s such a full-sounding song and I can just close my eyes and listen and imagine so many different scenes. What was the process of writing this song? Do your lyrics or the tune come first to you?
You Got Me High was a bit of an experimental one for me. I had the chorus lyrics ‘I lost my mind, you got me high’ jotted down and had played around a little bit with it on my acoustic guitar and just left it as it didn’t feel quite right. I got out my Dads old Fender Strat to have a fiddle with some new recording equipment I’d bought and ended up writing the little guitar parts. For a little while there were no lyrics, which was new to me because usually I write it all together. The lyrics slowly came to me in waves over the following 9 months.
What’s been the most empowering moment of your music career so far?
Winning the Telstra Road To Discovery in 2015 was pretty bloody empowering! The crew behind TRTD are just phenomenal. So generous with their industry knowledge and advice and the opportunities that I gained off the back of Telstra Road are so invaluable and really shaped the last 12 months for me.
What women inspire you?
There are so many! Aussie women killing it in the industry are my biggest inspiration to keep on keeping on. To name a few…Ali Barter, Lisa Mitchell, Dallas Frasca, Ainslie Wills, Ella Hooper, Airling. These are just a couple of the ladies that spring to mind. I find it incredibly empowering to see these gals out there just crushing it and doing what they do best. It’s a great time to be alive for Australian female musicians, I think!
I can’t answer this question fully without mentioning my Mum. Mum is an absolute powerhouse and is also a massive inspiration to me. Go Mum x
What other Australian artists are you listening to right now? Who is making you excited?
I am loving Gretta Ray at the minute! She’s come out of winning Triple J Unearthed High guns firing and releasing track after track of pure gold. James Kenyon is another voice I’ve been listening to a lot of late. This man can write a bloody good song, I’ll tell you that much for free. His track The Motorbike Song has been appearing on many a drive these last few weeks.
Image: TVM Melbourne