Paige Valentine’s Lucky Blue

Paige Valentine’s Lucky Blue

Following the release of her impressive debut album, we catch up with West Aussie singer-songwriter on the rise

Image Credit: Matt Sav

With millions of streams to her name and after honing her live show on stages all around the state, Paige Valentine’s highly anticipated debut album Lucky Blue is finally here. A diverse yet cohesive record, across 10 tracks Valentine explores alt country & folk alongside indie and electro-pop, thematically exploring the “age-old artistic fascinations; love, death, growth, a loss of innocence, the stark face of grief.”

Crafted following a move from bustling Fremantle to a remote WA town of 40 people, Lucky Blue tracks Valentine’s transformation as a person and as an artist, reminded of the truly important things in life while not sweating the small stuff and living a bit more simply.

Not afraid to open up, Lucky Blue features some soul baring songwriting, with Valentine reflecting on things like loving without thinking about future implications, letting go of insecurities and celebrating life well lived, all written through a relatable (and catchy!) lens.

Paige explains “I thought I would dread having such personal songs out in the world, but I feel thrilled to have the tapestry of the last few years sonically woven together like it has. Between my time in Fremantle and time in the country so much has happened personally and globally. The most important thing for the record was for the landscapes to be the star, the focus.

And I can close my eyes and picture the land or where I wrote it because of the music. I hope I’ve captured the beauty of it and a small chapter of my life and its changes. It’s been the most powerful time of my life. I hope the songs make people feel spirited, understood, and free.”

To celebrate the release of Lucky Blue, we checked in with Paige Valentine:

Congratulations on your debut album! How long has Lucky Blue been in the works for?

Ah thank you! Surreal. The songs were written really quickly but the whole project has taken about three years, start to finish, possibly in the most transformative years of my life so far. I started writing it around the time the pandemic hit, when I had time for the first time to finish some song ideas. I then moved to the remote south coast and the music changed. It naturally became infused with the scenery and isolation of that shift. I did get stuck with the borders shutting down every time I was driving up to record. I’d get half way up  on the eight-hour drive and have a radio announcement of snap lockdowns again, so it did take a bit longer than planned. But I got to marinate more in the songs and sounds, especially as it evolved so I think it turned out to be a good thing to have that time and space between.

Tell us about the album’s title?

Lucky Blue was the name of a little studio / shed I had when I was living by myself in Fremantle in a big retro house on a huge old property. I’d moved in a month before the pandemic and the first thing I loved about the place was this old blue door with a horseshoe on it. I took it as an omen, and weirdly since then it’s always been a little sign. Even at recording studios I’d never been to or never noticed there was always a little horseshoe somewhere on the recording journey (Tone City and Poons Head) so I took it as signs I was on the right track. The property has since been demolished but the owners were super lovely and ended up giving me the door :)

You relocated from the city to a small, remote W.A. town - what impact did this have on your creative process?

It was a lot wilder than expected, and it surprised me. I was from a small country coastal town originally so the city was an exciting shift. I loved my time in Fremantle and it was so incredible to be writing and working with people I’d only ever watched on Rage.

It was also a pretty wild time for me personally. I always longed for the bush while I was in the city, so I would do little treks to Yanchep or the hills to be amongst the closest thing to wilderness in suburbia. Then when the lockdowns happened I felt quite trapped, and after maybe a year of sticking it out I wanted to write an album, so I decided the best and most peaceful place for me to write it was eight hours away in a weird little town I’d always loved and visited often. The scenery instructed the music to change, I went from ballads to sunshiney, guitar-driven funner (is funner a word?) outlaw songs.

The whole time I was in the city I thought I needed the scenery to fuel the creative process but when I moved back down I just looked out my studio window to sheep, and after about a month of being in scenery with no major inspiration I realised I also need people and conversations to spark ideas too. So I tried to balance both worlds. One foot in civilisation, one foot out of it.

With your songwriting coming across as very personal, did you ever struggle with being so open in your art?

I don’t know if this is a thing, but looking back starting out in Margaret River I got acclimatised to playing for “claps”. Which is a terrible trap. I was playing at wineries and bars and everyone clapped for the feel good music, which I totally get, but when I’d throw in a ballad or something I’d written it always felt out of place. So as beautiful as that time was, as I was developing more songs and artistry it started to feel like I’d outgrown those shows.

When I came to Freo and had total silence at gigs I was like, “oh wow, this is so reverent”. I actually felt like I had the space to hold a room and from that confidence I started writing a lot more in my power. I think too, I stopped listening to well meaning advice to “have a hit” or follow a sound or trend, I started writing music for me, that I liked.

I think that’s what our job is as artists, even though when you’re developing it’s so easy to look at what everyone else is doing and lose your way. It’s hard to stay close to your truth and I used to feel so vulnerable and exposed. But I don't think there’s anything to be ashamed about or embarrassed about in our shared human experience, and once I got to that point it was really liberating and the music evolved again.

What do you hope people take away from your music, particularly your new album?

The spectacular human-ness and otherworldliness of the shared human experience. I hope people feel inspired to get in the car and drive into the unknown. I hope people have a sonic refuge for loved ones or exes they miss, or big feelings. I hope they remember the wild depths and the incredible lightness of living.

How are the new songs feeling live? What does the Paige Valentine live show consist of?

So so fun. We just did a festival run with the supergroup of my dreams. I luckily amalgamated a bunch of my favourite bands into my own one.

The Death By Denim boys: Palle on guitar (huge co-writer on the record and bestie) & Hamish Mac on drums. Tanaya Harper (Ghost Care & her incred solo music) on bass and vocals - I love her. And Josiah Padmanabham (Grievous Bodily Calm/ Gazey) on keys, who I’m just in awe of, beyond words. When I saw everyone rehearsing I didn’t want to sing. Their talent is astronomical and they’re just the best, best people.

Currently I’m planning a really special album tour. Without giving too much away, I’ve lined up some pretty unusual and scenic venues, recruiting some strings, and will hopefully have Annie Hamilton joining for a regional run. But we’re both the two most elusive women on earth so stay tuned if we actually pull this off haha. It’ll be beautiful and magic and with the scenery as the star, I’m really excited to be putting it together!

What have you been listening to lately?

The “Practical Magic” & “Morning of the Earth” Soundtracks, Nick Allbrook & Weyes Blood.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I just think anyone reading my advice is, keep failing blindly forward. Life is such a weird, short cosmic trip. Just do the thing - the thing you keep thinking you should do but don’t. Do the thing. Follow the horseshoes.

Paige Valentine's new album Lucky Blue is out now via Nettwerk

PaigeValentine LuckyBlue AlbumArtwork

Follow Paige Valentine: Instagram / Facebook

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