A Sunshine Coast songwriter with an enchanting voice, Malia Stirling’s music is best described as folk-pop food for the soul. Inspired by Missy Higgins, Matt Corby and Kate Miller-Heidke, Malia has a knack for creating songs with delicate instrumentation and a whole lot of heart.
In the lead up to her performance at QPAC on Friday 21 June, we decided to catch up with her to find out more.
Could you describe your music to us using a movie title?
That is such a difficult question! But I would probably say “Inside Out” for a few reasons. Firstly, I think that my music doesn’t really fall into one genre, it’s like a mix match of different sounds and influences which makes it a bit inside out. Secondly, my lyrics are usually quite metaphorical so at times looking at things “inside out” is the best way to understand the deeper meaning. And lastly, music is my outlet, so it reveals my inside emotions and thoughts, putting them out into the open.
Tell us about the songwriting process of how you came to write ‘Until Sunrise’.
At the time I wrote Until Sunrise, all of my music was quite slow and reflective, so I really wanted to branch out of my comfort zone and write something more uplifting that had a presence of freedom and light. With that in mind, I drew from my love of nature and my passion to adventure. In the end, I see the songs essence being about travelling, creating connections without discrimination and completely surrendering to the beauty of life.
What do you think the biggest issue is for emerging artists in the Australian music industry today?
I think that pursuing music or any creative avenue is very difficult, not just in Australia. Primarily because there is not one set path that everyone can follow, it’s all about creating your own direction and paving your own path. In saying that though, I think its very difficult for emerging artists when a level of respect isn’t always apparent. Don’t get me wrong, majority of people provide the utmost support for artists but unfortunately I feel as though many still view music as an inauthentic/unprofessional career path which limits the willingness many have to pay up and coming artists what they are entitled to. Although exposure and the love for music is enough for any artist in terms of fulfilment, it can’t pay bills or put food on the table.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to write their own songs?
I would just say to immerse yourself in different music and forms of literature. Personally, I love poetry and draw from it immensely when writing. Also, it is a cliché but doing it and experimenting as much as you can is so rewarding. I think the biggest misconception with music is that an artists only creates when inspiration hits; actively working on your craft and fighting through stagnant states is much more effective than sitting, isolated in your room waiting for something.
What’s in the pipeline this year for you?
This year I’m hoping to branch out and perform at as many new places I can. I’ve started booking gigs in Brisbane and the Gold Coast which I am very excited about as my performances have been very based on the Sunshine Coast for the past 5years. I’ve also just released my first debut EP which will be uploaded to Spotify and iTunes very soon; so keep an eye out! But besides that, I will be writing and rehearsing with my band and continuing to work on a few singles that I have in the recording stages.
And finally, tell us about something you are obsessed with at the moment? What’s hot in your world right now?
At the moment, I am obsessed with adventuring and immersing myself in nature. If I have any spare time you will find me watching the sunrise atop a mountain, at a waterfall or having conversations.