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girl talk: 10 questions with ali barter


Ali Barter is kick-ass female musician whose songs Cigarette and Girlie Bits you’ve probably already heard (and know by heart) – and if you haven’t, we’ll give you a moment to go discover them now. Other than being an incredible artist, Barter is a feminist who is not afraid to speak out about the double standards in the music industry. In fact, she even wrote a whole article about it. About to go on her national tour, Barter took a moment to chat about her new album, A Suitable Girl, and her influences. Grab tickets to her remaining shows here.

1. When did you know you wanted to express yourself through music?

I’ve always sung. Even as a kid. It’s something that has always been in me.

2. What’s your general process of writing a song? Do the lyrics come to you first or the melody?

I usually write the words in my phone when they pop into my head. Then on the day I sit down to write, I start with a melody. If words don’t naturally come, I’ll dig out the words in my phone.

3. I love the lyrics for Cigarette. We’ve all felt that way and they do such a great, simple job of summing up that frustration. Was there a particular event or interaction which inspired the song?

No it was just a general feeling of frustration. I’d been building up to some of these songs for years!

4. The album cover for A Suitable Girl is great! It’s intimate and feminine and somehow very empowering – almost like turning Bruce Springsteen’s overly-masculine Born in the USA on its head. What’s the story behind it?

I saw an image of two female bodies and I really like the awkwardness and simplicity of colours. I organised a shoot with my fave photographer Hannah Markoff and we did a series of photographs based on that idea. I wanted denim and torsos and legs and laps and lovely female forms.

5. What Australian musicians are you listening to at the moment? Who is making you excited?

I love Gretta Ray and Alex Lahey. Both very natural and honest artists.

6. You wrote an incredible article for Junkee called ‘It’s About Fucking Time We Gave Female Musicians The Credit They Deserve.’ It reads like a breath of angry fresh air in a topic whose discussion seems to be so dominated by men. Who would you say have been your biggest female influences – both for your music and your attitude towards your work?

I love the musician Jenny Lewis. She is a prolific, honest and sassy gal. I also love actor and film maker Julie Delpy for the stories she tells and her autonomy over her work. She’s a powerful lady. They both are.

7. I saw Yoko Ono retweeted your article. Was it exciting to know someone you admired had read your work?

Pretty crazy. I didn’t believe it at first. I was at work so I didn’t have time to process the idea. But yeah, pretty bloody cool.

8. You’re about to go on tour – where are you most excited to play?

All the places I haven’t played a headline show. Adelaide, Perth and places like Newcastle and Wollongong will be fun.

9. Imagine this: you’re on the stage, playing your music, you look down at the crowd having a boogie and in the midst of it all you see someone surprising and exciting (living or dead): who is it?

Probably my Nanna Jean. She was a singer in her day and I would have loved to have sung with her. I’d get her up for a jam. Apparently she was awesome at harmonising.

10. Who’s an artist we might not know but should all go discover?

Land Of Talk. Its a girl from Canada. Listen to the album Some Are Lakes. So so good.

Image: Ali Barter Official Facebook.

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