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May 11, 2022

Interview with Budjerah

We had the pleasure of interviewing Budjerah over Zoom video!

Ahead of his first international tour this month, Budjerah reveals the moody official video for his latest single “Get Down”. The track is featured on his second EP Conversations, out...


We had the pleasure of interviewing Budjerah over Zoom video!

Ahead of his first international tour this month, Budjerah reveals the moody official video for his latest single “Get Down”. The track is featured on his second EP Conversations, out now via Warner Records.

On “Get Down,” producer Matt Corby’s sparkling, glitched-out synths give way to one of Conversations’ most affecting songs, a sleek jam whose ebb-and-flow melody underscores lyrics about anxiously forging forward through one’s youth. “’Get Down’ is about the idea that I’ve come so far now, I have to keep going, it’s too late to stop what I’m doing now,” Budjerah says. “If there’s a way, please show me how,” he sings on the track, a spiritual plea amidst a song suffused with an ultramodern atmosphere.

On the recently released Conversations EP, Budjerah reunites with longtime producers Matt Corby and Chris Collins, as well as new collaborators MAY-A and Konstantin Kersting. The EP - which features previously released singles “Talk” with MAY-A, “Wash My Sorrows Away” and “What Should I Do?” - reveals a darker, sleeker sound for Budjerah, reflective of the changes that have occurred in his life.

In 2020, Australia was introduced to the spectacular voice of Budjerah: a new, homegrown R&B star. Possessing songwriting ingenuity and old-soul wisdom, it quickly became abundantly clear that, for a lot of us, Budjerah was the kind of figure we’d been missing.

His acclaimed debut self-titled EP followed in 2021, he took home the Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist ARIA award from five nominations; performed coveted support slots with Thelma Plum, The Avalanches and Lime Cordiale, collaborated with dance music superstars PNAU and completed his first headline tour. Most recently, Budjerah won Most Performed R&B / Soul Work for “Higher” and was nominated for Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year at the 2022 APRA Music Awards.

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Transcript

Hello! It's Adam and welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to hang out with Budjerah over zoom video Budjerah was born and raised in north south Wales in Australia, and he talks about how he got into music. He comes from a musical household. His dad was a drummer and a songwriter. His mom is an amazing singer. Grew up in the church, performing in the church. He started playing guitar at 15, but before he learned guitar, he would do a bunch of cover sets at different restaurants. His cousin would play guitar for him and they would do like three hours of covers a couple of days before one of his performances, his cousin and said, Hey man, I, you know, I'm not going to be able to make it in a couple of days for that performance. 4 (1m 46s): Budjerah headed, like get a guitar. Or he, I think he had a guitar, but he had a little to learn how to play a guitar. I knew a little bit about it, but he was like Googling the songs, but he was able to actually learn enough to get through, get through those three hours of cover songs at the restaurant. He talked about writing his first song for a class assignment. He got a B on the assignment, but his mom recorded him singing it, put it up online and it did awesome. It got a ton of views and streams on his mom's Facebook account. He talked about being approached by Warner records, getting signed when he was just 17 years old, auditioning for the voice, having the debut single from his first EAP top the triple J airplay charts, which was massive. 4 (2m 34s): Not only that he was nominated for it. I think he said eight, seven or eight aria awards. And he ended up winning one for breakthrough artists. He also talks to us about his brand new EAP called conversations and the world tour. He has coming up a lot of the dates with Vance joy. You can watch our interview with Fujairah on her Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It would be if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Tik TOK at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Google podcasts, it would be amazing if you follow us there as well and hook us up with a five-star review. 5 (3m 18s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 4 (3m 24s): We're bringing it backwards with Budjerah. 5 (3m 27s): What's going on, man? How are you? 6 (3m 29s): I'm doing good. How are you? 4 (3m 31s): I'm doing well. I'm doing well. I'm out. I'm like, it's about you. And this podcast is about you and your journey and music. And we'll talk about your new EAP as well. 6 (3m 42s): Awesome. 4 (3m 43s): Sweet, sweet. So what part of Australia born and raised in Australia? 6 (3m 47s): Yep. Yep. I'm from Northern new south Wales on, on the karst. I'm right on the border of two states, Queensland, new south Wales and next to the beach. Real nice. 4 (3m 57s): Oh, awesome. Did you grow up, going to the beach or surf or anything? 6 (4m 1s): Yeah. Yeah. My family surfs and yeah, we're actually here in when bells beach. There's a, the root Cal pros have them right now. So you can just come there. Yeah, 4 (4m 13s): That's awesome. I'm from, originally from San Diego and I never served, but the water was too cold for me. The Pacific ocean and me are not friends, but a lot of my friends did surf and everything, but yeah, I was always envious, but I'd never did. I'd just go in the water. I'm like, okay, this is cold for me, but that's cool. Like the going to see the surf competitions and stuff like that must be huge there. 6 (4m 35s): Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's really popular. We live, they used to do it's not anymore, but they used to have, 'em like one of the big, we live one next to one of the most famous surf beaches, snapper rocks up the coast. They used to have the, be like a big black world surf league event there. And my sister is like, Steve partnered with Roxy. My sisters shaped surfboards. 4 (5m 2s): Really? 6 (5m 2s): That's, that's actually one of the, that's one of the reasons why we're down here. Cause she, she works with Roxy and she's made boards for a bunch of the surfers and yeah, 4 (5m 12s): That's cool. What else? When I hear Roxy, all I think of is like when I was in high school, that was like the biggest symbol for girls to put on their car. Was there, like if you got a car, you put the Roxy symbol sticker on it, like a big one. It's just funny, but that's awesome that she does that. And obviously you do music. Are you the only musical person in the family? Like do you come from a musical family at all? 6 (5m 33s): Yeah. Yeah. So I grew up in church and all my family played in the church band. Yeah. So surfing and music. If you're not in the water, you're playing music pretty much. That's what growing up was lack. 4 (5m 47s): So both parents are musicians as well. 6 (5m 50s): Yeah. Yeah. My mom's things and my dad is a drama. 4 (5m 53s): Oh cool. What was the first instrument you learned then? 6 (5m 58s): Singing? Yeah. I love singing. I love singing. Yeah. 4 (6m 2s): Did you play drums at all? Just maybe because your dad did or 6 (6m 5s): I did it when I was little, when I was like three, they got me a little like a kid's drum kit and I like wrecked it and left the first week. Just like playing too high, but I never lacked picked up, you know, I can't hold a steady rhythm. Very good. So I can play like I learned piano and guitar and how to sing, but I still can't get the job 4 (6m 30s): To the drums. When did you pick a Lewis, piano or guitar? First 6 (6m 36s): Guitar first. 4 (6m 37s): Okay. How old were you when you started learning guitar? 6 (6m 40s): It was bad. 15. Yeah. Got a guitar teacher and let some jazz and theory. And then just from learning that like piano is a lot like easier to visualize, you know, theory and stuff and black notes. So piano come a bit easier and yeah, 4 (7m 5s): Like prior to being 15 with a guitar, did you do any, were you like in the course required anything like that at school? Or was it mainly done at church where you were singing? 6 (7m 16s): I mainly just like, I sang everywhere. Like as soon as I could make noise, I just, I sing every day pretty much. And I did, I wasn't in any, like I was for a little bit in school, but I wasn't really part of the choir, but I did do the school musical And I got the lead both times and yeah, we'll do hairspray And Fiddler on the roof. 4 (7m 43s): That's funny that you weren't in the choir chorus, but you got the lead. I bet she the choir and chorus. Cause we're not stoked on that. Or like this guy doesn't even have to diesel, not even in the course or choir and he's just coming in here and now he is the lead of, of both of these musicals, but that's awesome. So did you, like when you started learning guitar, was it because you wanted a right music or was it just something to kind of accompany you singing? 6 (8m 13s): It was mainly to accompany myself. My cousin, my older cousin used to playing guitar for me at gigs. I used to play in restaurants. I busked a lot, but I didn't, Bosc applied in restaurants and like breakfast and stuff at cafes. So not busking. And my cousin used to play guitar for me, but one time he didn't, he couldn't show up. And he told me the day, the day before the gig and it was a three hour gig at a restaurant. And so I had to learn like three hours with a music on guitar, like of all the songs that I sang, I had to learn them. 6 (8m 54s): And so I was like Googling the chords and then whatever. And then I was like, yeah, I should learn how to play guitar properly and caught some lessons. And yeah, 4 (9m 6s): I mean, you're playing three hours at restaurants that 6 (9m 10s): There's a lot of covers. There's a lot of covers, 4 (9m 12s): But still, I mean, to, to show up and get these jobs at different restaurants and just get breakfast and stuff at that young of an age to be the one singing. That's pretty impressive. So with that, like, so you just find out that your cousin can't play and then you're like, okay, like how did that get go? Are you able to fumble through three hours of cover songs? 6 (9m 35s): I did not 4 (9m 36s): So much guitar. 6 (9m 38s): I didn't applied three hours. I was more like two hour and a half and I just repeated the same song that took a little break and then come back and play the same set, but they still paid me the same amount. So it was all right. 4 (9m 52s): There you go. There you go. When did you start writing your own songs? 6 (9m 56s): I bet. Yeah. I was 15 when I started riding as well. Yeah. The first one was for a school assignment and left it to the night before to actually do the, do the work. It was for music to write a song and perform it in front of the class. And I went, my dad actually, he's a writer as well and he helped me write it, then I'm going to be, and yeah, I was, so my mom sang it and my mom put it on Facebook and it got pretty popular. So I was like, yeah, I'm going to keep writing songs and 4 (10m 32s): Okay, so you did it for a class. Did you, so you showed up to school and then what played it for your class? You got a be and your mom liked the song obviously as well. And so she sang it, did a cover of it or saying it, put it up on her or she put your shape. 6 (10m 46s): Yeah, she put, she recorded me singing it and 4 (10m 52s): Wow. And so it starts doing really well on what? Just kind of validated that you should continue doing this. 6 (10m 58s): Yeah. Yeah. 4 (10m 60s): Wow. Okay. And I saw that. So like from there, you know, you learn how to write you. Obviously you write a great song. I would, you know, I would have brought the teacher, the Facebook post with all the, you know, traction and said, how'd you give me a B, but other than that, like when you start moving forward, like what was the next thing that you did as far as like pursue your music career? 6 (11m 24s): Well, I just kept doing gigs and riding and then got a message from Marcus Bain, from Warner here in Australia. And he's like, yeah, we want to assign you. And 4 (11m 40s): Based off, what do you have songs online or base like, will they find you? 6 (11m 45s): Well, I was doing gigs and stuff. I, and I did a performance for, I was part of this show for the Commonwealth in 2018 and they had this big stage and a beach. And so there was a production on called interwoven, I think it was called. And it was all like first nations artists, like doing a show together and present like, you know, really celebrating our cultures, you know, the, the oldest cultures in the world and I was the black indigenous actor and I wrote a song for it and I performed it and you know, my mom recorded it, put it on Facebook and whatever cause she does, she does that to all my rules. 6 (12m 30s): And I have other cousin Nikia, Louie, who is an actor and a playwright she's really popular award-winning and she, she shed on her Twitter and Marcus from Warner. He's a fan of Nick of my cousin Nikia. So that's how he saw me was he saw the performance I saw on Nikita's Twitter. And he's like, yeah, I like this. So, 4 (13m 2s): But before that, but you were on the show before that you did that, that thing before the, before Twitter happened or was that after the fact about the song for the, for your, what, like, what was that piece that you said before? It was like you were on this big stage and then 6 (13m 19s): The show was called interwoven 4 (13m 22s): Interwoven. That was a television show or it was something that was Just like a big show. 6 (13m 28s): Yeah. First of the Commonwealth games, just, we had it, we had had the gold coast. Yeah. They had lack of few stages set up around the city and they really like pushed, you know, the entertainment and the arts. So that had a lot of odd installments and performances. And that was one of the Lac productions they had put on. 4 (13m 51s): Okay. That's amazing. Sorry. I'm so like obviously not very well-traveled. 6 (14m 2s): Yeah. 4 (14m 2s): Yeah. Okay. And then you were also did the, the voice right? For the Australian voice. 6 (14m 8s): Yeah. Yeah. I didn't get any chitons, but yeah. 4 (14m 14s): I mean to be, to get like on the show, right. I mean, to be in the, to do the audition, that's a big, big step to right. 6 (14m 23s): Yeah. It was, it was pretty, pretty cool. 4 (14m 27s): Sure. Sure. And then from there, where you, when did you start releasing like music? 6 (14m 36s): Well, so the timeline was so in February in 2019 is when I did my blind audition. That's when they recorded it and filmed it. And I didn't get any chat time the next month in March. That's when Marcus messaged me, that was before it even add it didn't they until may. And so we talked to Marcus and by may, we're already discussing by the time of board discussing possible a record deal. 6 (15m 16s): And by the end of the year, I was signed 17 years old. And 4 (15m 22s): Were you still in the med school at the time? 6 (15m 24s): I was still in the hospital. I had to leave when I signed the record deal, they just had me going and we'll plan to release my first single in April in 2020, but you know, okay. Quite a virus. So things really got like stuffed around and I ended up getting to work with one of my friends, met Colby and we just wrote a bunch of really good songs. And during, during COVID his tour was canceled. So we were like, yeah, let's, let's just record and 4 (16m 2s): Hung out and wrote songs together. 6 (16m 4s): Yeah. Yeah. Because we didn't have anything else to do during the lockdown. And then in October, that's when I put out the first single missing you and it did a lot better than what any of us thought it would, was getting 4 (16m 23s): Crushes on triple jazz. Massive. 6 (16m 26s): Yeah. It was the number one most played song on triple J for quite a while. And what was that 4 (16m 31s): Loud? I mean, that's, 6 (16m 33s): It was, it was so weird. Cause it, you go on every day and like you drive like my car didn't ha it only had a radio and CD and type, it didn't have a quote or anything. And so I listened to the radio a lot and every time I go driving out here, my song played back to me, which I was like, what the heck is this? 4 (16m 55s): Does that ever get old? Like every time we get to the car, you're like, oh, okay, cool. I get to hear my song again. 6 (17m 1s): No, no, it's, it's cool. It's cool. Every time. And even here, like newer ones coming out, like, okay, they still lack what I'm riding. So like it's I just get excited. 4 (17m 15s): Sure. That's huge. And then, I mean to go that, you know, on triple J to have that high of a rating, I mean, that's huge. And they do, they have that big countdown right. Every year where it's like, w what are they, what's it called? You know what I'm talking about? They do like 6 (17m 32s): The hottest 100. 4 (17m 33s): Yeah. Hardest 100. Like all that. I mean, those are that's stuff is so huge. Right? I mean, that's such a massive achievement to get on triple J like that. And then you were even what not, and last year you're nominated for like the equivalent of like a Grammy in Australia had weren't you for 6 (17m 53s): The, We didn't think I was going to be nominated for any, and my team. I think someone took them up that I was nominated, but they didn't tell us how many. So we'll say my mentors were like, oh, just watch it. They didn't tell me that we will let it. And so all my family were just sitting and watching and was seeing my friends names for, we were like, yeah, like, that's good. Like everyone's like working hard and give them no natives. And then they'll like, oh, best RNB release. And they're like, T came as a hiatus coyote, test the timer, put your eye. And you're like, ah, I love to be freaked out. And 4 (18m 26s): You didn't even know it was coming. 6 (18m 28s): We didn't know that was coming. And then that we're like, oh wait. So we will, like, after everything, we were like about to turn it off. And then the next award would come up and just as movement to end up, it'd be like, oh, butcher, afloat, best Tula. And then Boudreau for best video and, and then break breakthrough out us. And right at the end, we were like, there's not going to be any more. Matt and Chris Collins, the, the producers, they will also both nominated for producer and engineer of the year for the record. And that we're doing the last award, the best artists, which is the big one. And lucky I'm not going to be nominated. There's no way, you know, kid liberal writer is going to take that out and whatever, and we bad turned off. 6 (19m 15s): And then my name comes up, like the second one on the list, would you for best artists that rule like, ah, like that's crazy. That's like seven nominations for the AP, which is like mind blowing exactly. Like black. Why does that even happen for a lack of flex 17 year olds? That's been messed up by like, 4 (19m 41s): It's amazing. Yeah. I can't even imagine. That's so awesome that they, they keep it from you. I like that. That they, you don't even know. Right. You just have to watch and see if you get nominated And it's whoa. Cause you, you know, with the, Grammy's like, okay, these are the people that made it to the, you know, there's five names or whatever it is like that they just don't tell you at all. So rad, 6 (20m 8s): The eye is a very tight with lack. Who's nominated and black. Who's the winner. So no one knows 4 (20m 15s): Except 6 (20m 16s): For like five people. 4 (20m 19s): Okay. Wow. And then when do you start working on this new EAP? 6 (20m 23s): I started, we started working on it like right after the FA like missing you come out, me and Mayer and Chris got together and we wrote talk. That was the first, that was the track that sort of inspired the conversations AP, which is out now. And just over the last year, there was a lot of, you know, I was trying to write AP, but I didn't know exactly what I was trying to do. And, you know, I was touring and all the songs are doing really well. So it was like re like, it was just, it's just been like a weird time of the last year for me. 6 (21m 5s): So I guess just from, you know, all the stuff that's happened. 4 (21m 9s): I mean, you had a lot of things happen right. Within like a kind of a short period of time. As far as that goes, first CP comes out, you're getting all these nominations, you're topping triple J radio and like, 6 (21m 23s): Yeah. 4 (21m 23s): And it all kind of started just a couple of years prior to that. 6 (21m 27s): Yeah. Yeah. It's like been like, I'm only 29. So that's like in five years, like, you know, when an aria and done, and now I'm doing a world tulip, so it's been a lot to like, I haven't the last year is probably like the most happened in such a quick time. And it was like a bit tough cause now I'm away from home. So I was missing being home. And so what, what I like did riding sessions, I ended up, you know, just talking a lot to, you know, my friends and that's really what inspired the songs, the songs come from United conversations, you know, made sure I let work myself through what was happening and conversations. 6 (22m 20s): EAP. 4 (22m 21s): Okay. So it was all basically conversations that you were having. 6 (22m 25s): Yeah. 4 (22m 26s): Okay. Was it hard to like having such a big record with your first release? Was that even, was that a thing in your mind, like are like to follow it up? Were you nervous about that at all? Or were you not even thinking about that? 6 (22m 40s): Well, you know, I think after winning the aria, well, I know they, they seem to lack what I'm doing. So I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. And triple J still lacks the slack. They lack that they lack the first stuff. I think that they should let the second, the more stuff coming out, you know? So I, I'm not too stressed about no following with that. I'm just having fun is what I like to do. 4 (23m 8s): Okay. I love it. And you're doing some dates with Vance joy, another Australian. That's huge. Like tell me about getting that or 6 (23m 20s): It's pretty cool. You know, I met him a few times and he's really nice and yeah. So I just think is really cool. I've always thought it was real cool. And now I'm touring with him. Like he had like his old, like all of his songs are massive. I remember when, you know, Riptide come out when I was like 12, I was still in primary school. And so it's, it's like, you know, knowing him in person now, and we've gone on tour together, we, we were talking and he was like, yeah, like we're going to do this and this, like when we got time to like go to do all this touristy stuff when we're in London or like in north America. 6 (24m 6s): So I'm just really excited, you know, when our friend who has like, yo yeah, it's going to be great. Fun time, you know, 4 (24m 13s): Have you played here in the state yet? Or is this you're going to be your first aids? 6 (24m 17s): This is my first time going to the U S at all. 4 (24m 21s): Oh, wow. Really? 6 (24m 22s): Yeah. Yeah. I've never, I've never been, yeah. Someone was like, you'd never even done riding over there. I've never been, I've never been to Europe or north America or anywhere. I've been only to Vanuatu, which is an island and it's a lot like my home. So it didn't feel, I felt very much at home in vanilla too, but everyone's like, it's going to be real different in Europe and America. I'm really excited. I'm going to go to New York, ate some big pizza. 4 (24m 58s): You get to play I'm in Nashville. Now you're playing here. You're playing like the Ryman, which is like a stork venue. 6 (25m 5s): Yeah. Yeah. But my mum, she's from black, Western new south Wales and her family listen to a lot of country music. So I was like listening to like, you know, Randy, Travis. And like, I grew up in a lot of country music as well. So when we saw that, as I get, it's like, great, I'm going to play some country songs. Yeah. It's, it's just like, really, like, for me, I just, can't, it's hard to, like, I'm saying all this stuff, but I kind of like really believe what I'm saying. It doesn't, it's like A bunch of crap on something as it's like, just so cool. 6 (25m 51s): I think 4 (25m 53s): That's amazing. And, but you said you toward, prior to the one that you're on, right with that first CPS 6 (25m 59s): Last year, I did. Yeah. The little tour around Australia and 4 (26m 4s): Yeah, it was, was that you're fairly well, yeah, just the first one on Australia and around Australia. What was, I, I'm not a musician nor do I tour, but I I've heard that. It's, that's kind of a, an interesting country to tour because I mean, there's only so many big cities in your kinda, they're not catching each other, right? 6 (26m 25s): Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's, it's kind of weird. You're like we did. So last year was like Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney. And then it was like fire and go crash Brisbane, which is the last three days were like only Leah where I live, But like Adelaide's at the bottom of the country and Perth is on the 4 (26m 51s): Other side. 6 (26m 53s): And then you fly from, we actually went from Perth to Sydney, so fully opposite ends of the country and then down again to Melbourne. And so it was like long flights. And you just have to be like on point, like don't Adelaide, Perth, and then Sydney black three days in a row. 4 (27m 14s): Yeah. Where you ha have you ever traveled the whole country before? Was that the first time kind of seeing some of these places 6 (27m 18s): I did when we did a little bit of traveling when I was younger in church, did we did like a, a big missing mission ship when I was 11. And it went, you know, it went black from Dan up into the middle of Australia to Alice Springs. And we went through like half the country, pretty much and driving with, you know, my family and the cousins and church people. And yeah. So I did, I did a lot of, I was kind of used to, you know, the tour and kind of thing, you know, being in one different places and, you know, having the do stuff all the time, wherever you go. 6 (28m 2s): And so it wasn't really a, I didn't really feel too stressed about Turin, but it's nice. 4 (28m 12s): Yeah. I mean the net now you get to go across the whole world. I mean, you're going the UK, you're doing a sold-out show here. Nashville, you're playing LA, you get to play even Canada. You're doing New York. I mean these huge cities that's so that's so cool. It's so I'm sure you're super excited about that. 6 (28m 31s): Yeah, I am. I can't wait. 4 (28m 34s): Yeah. Well, amazing man. And congrats. Congratulations on that first EAP, that all success. And then just the, this record that you just put out as amazing. And I can't wait to see you at the Ryman here and Nashville. That's going to be amazing. 6 (28m 48s): Yeah. It's going to be a good tool I reckon. 4 (28m 52s): And I appreciate your time. This has been great. I have one more question for you. I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists, 6 (28m 60s): Any advice? My advice is to practice every day. I sing every day and, you know, practice every day. And I think if you can get your skills up, good enough. That's what you gotta do. Just get your skills up.