Meet Tulliah, who makes aching indie from the heart with her new song, Just My Type
You may recognise Tulliah from her break-out single Company, but now she's bringing something new - and incredibly wonderful.
Header image by Simon Eeles.
In 2019, it seemed certain that Tulliah was going to be an act bound to dominate the year ahead. Her debut single Company threw her into the spotlight, carving her a place in triple j Unearthed's High finalists and placing her on tours alongside Amy Shark and GRAACE, where she showed her craft in bringing subtle indie-pop a larger than life presence on the live stage. There was something about Company which really made Tulliah feel like the embrace of something new; a face that was sure to be one you'd become more familiar with over the year ahead.
You no doubt know the story by now about how musicians' 2020 haven't exactly gone to plan, but Tulliah spent the time doubled down on her craft, honing in on her sound and songwriting to create material that we'll hear littered over the next year. Today brings the first taste of which through Just My Type (A Little Bit Lonely), an aching reflection on her life and those around her that shows how she's evolved over the last twelve months, both musically - as you'd expect - and personally, and everything that's gone into that self-furthering throughout 2020.
It's a rich indie-pop song that seems to re-introduce Tulliah in a way, solidifying her influences in those musicians that can craft deeply personal and potent music with just vocals and a guitar (think Stella Donnelly, Phoebe Bridgers and Soccer Mommy) as she moulds together a hazy, laid-back production with swaying vocals that really pull you in and don't let you go until the song's final chords; the time in between being a lesson on Tulliah and the stories and experiences that fuel her work.
This time around, it's a song about complex relationships and teenage crushes, with Just My Type (A Little Bit Lonely) reflecting on how it feels to have a crush on someone who doesn't feel the same way about you; the unreciprocated feelings that leave you feeling alone. "I remember the exact moment when I sat at the piano and the first verse flowed out of me. I felt like it was something special even at its earliest stage," she says. "I wrote the song about falling for someone who you know isn’t good for you, but you still go there - one of those bad decisions!"
It's the first taste of her forthcoming debut EP Fresh Hugs, due for release early 2021. There's also a pair of shows to launch the single too, with Melbourne's Corner Hotel hosting Tulliah on January 31st, the first show already sold out (more details and tickets here). In the meantime, you can take a dive into Just My Type (A Little Bit Lonely) as it arrives today, and underneath, further introduce yourself to Tulliah ahead of her break-out year ahead.
Tell us about yourself?
I am a 19-year-old Indie singer-songwriter from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. I started writing when I was 15 years old after having a bad injury and becoming bedridden for a long period of time. I have just released a new song called Just My Type (A Little Bit Lonely). It’s been awhile since I last released music so I am extra keen for this. I have only released one other song so far which was for an entry in the Triple J Unearthed High competition. I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the five finalists in 2019. It has opened up so many opportunities and pretty much kicked off the start of my career in music.
What’s the ‘vibe’ music-wise?
I tend to write a lot about mental health struggles, relationships and just being a teenager in general. I feel like the age I’m at now is just a whole heap of new experiences and constantly learning/working out life day by day. Sound-wise, most of the instruments used in production are acoustic, however there are hints of synths, drum sounds, bitta cheeky auto-tune for the low harmonies. My producer Dean Tuza and I were all about “simple” production to help make my vocals and lyrics very prominent.
I am very much a sucker for lyrics and story lines, so it was important to me to make this a focus on my tracks. Especially as it’s my first bigger project, I want people to get a sense of who I am, and I feel like my lyrics demonstrate that the most. I would say the genre is a fine line between Indie and Pop. I hope that people who really love and indulge in the sounds of music will understand the reasons Dean and I have done certain things. But also for those who aren’t as hooked on the technicalities behind it all, will still enjoy and feel comforted by my music.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
Usually, a song would start off as a melody of mumbled words that I quickly record on my phone, before it disappears out of my head forever. I then take it to either the piano or guitar and work out some chords that work. After I’ve done that it’s usually just a matter of jamming on it and seeing what flows out straight away. For lyrics, it’s usually just a heap of mumbling. This is my favourite part cause I’m never conscious of what I’m writing about, but when I listen back to the voice memo, I hear words and phrases and it starts to make sense. It’s usually thoughts and feelings that I haven’t come to terms with yet. I’m not the best at talking about my feelings so it’s definitely a healing process for me.
After that, I record a rough demo at home. While in the studio Dean taught me so much about production and would let me get involved as much as possible. I would sit on a circle cushion on the floor next to the mixing desk and just watch what Dean was doing. There was a couch but I prefer sitting on the floor for some reason. I find it so interesting and I love seeing the different versions a song is, before it is completed. You just never know what it’s gonna be.
Can you tell us a bit about this new single, Just My Type (A Little Bit Lonely)?
I wrote this about a year ago. It was first played on the piano with a whole lot of chord changes. I always felt like there was something special about it. I took it into the studio to Dean and we started working on some demos. It was probably the trickiest song to get our heads around and didn’t fall as easily into a direction, compared to the other song on the EP. After about 2 weeks of it not feeling right, I decided to have a go at rewriting some of it. Going back to that “simple” approach production-wise, Dean suggested we should keep the chords very minimal. We ended up changing it to two chords the whole way through, brought up the key and tempo, then added bass and harmonies. Straight away felt like we were moving towards the right direction. From there, we just continued to explore and try different things out.
I wrote it about falling for someone who you know isn’t good for you, but you still go there anyways. Often people feel the need to have someone around to fill a spot in their heart that’s been broken. In our society today, I’ve seen so many scenarios where “love” seems to be viewed as constant attention and affection, often leading to pushing away other people you care for like family and friends. When that person leaves, the hole is reopened and it becomes an addiction to fill it with another person's love. This is dangerous to an individual's mental health because it becomes a vicious cycle of constantly seeking for reassurance of yourself from others, refilling this hole.
However, it is important to make sure this hole is filled before going into a relationship because if things happen to end, you don’t want to have to rely on anyone else for your own happiness. I’ve just gone into a bit of a rant haha but what I’m trying to say is that I used to be drawn to people who were a bit lonely because I felt like I could help them and fill this spot. Although you want to be there for them, I learnt that it can get tiring to do this and can take a toll on your own mental health. That’s where the title and inspiration for the song came from. I hope this makes a bit of sense haha.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2020 and 2021?
For the rest of this year I’m just gonna keep on writing, hanging with people I care for and hopefully some opportunities might pop up with this new release. In 2021 I’m going to be releasing another single along with my EP. I’ve got a couple shows on the 31st Jan in Melbourne as a single launch for Just My Type (A Little Bit Lonely). So if you want to hear the rest of the EP before it’s released, you should come haha. It’s gonna be my first ever headline show!! I can’t even explain how excited I am to play these new tunes for people in the flesh! It’s been too long since I last played live.
What do you want people to take away from the project?
I just hope that people enjoy listening to my songs and are able to relate to it. Make it their own.
Where can we find more of your music?
My music is on all platforms! Not much of it just yet though haha. I’ll be releasing another single in February, and then my EP not long after. So you’ll get more music then :))