After spending the last few months building and cultivating her sound, Australian singer, songwriter and poet Cara Walkam aka meadowhip has now delivered her much-loved debut single 'Unexceptional'.
Channelling a smooth and vibrant RnB-inspired aesthetic, 'Unexceptional' makes for a powerful introduction to her sound. Filled with shimmering production, killer grooves, and her captivating voice layered throughout, it already feels like she is onto something very special with this one.
So with the new single doing the rounds, we sat down with her to find out more about her origins and what has inspired her most over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
My parents put me in music appreciation classes when I was really small, and I seemed to gravitate towards the french horn! But really, I was always most excited about singing! I cannot remember ever not singing, and I have literally never shut up. I can play guitar and keys in a very rudimentary way, and I am trying pretty hard with the flute right now, but singing is always my best love.
What kind of music did you love when you were younger?
Oooohh, I am obsessed with the permission to lurch back into the past with this question! When I was a kid I was very, very into RnB. Monica, Floetry, Groove Theory and Lauryn Hill were on repeat in my little pink bedroom. I have vivid memories of singing Waterfalls by TLC at a school talent contest, as well, so they would have been pretty high up on the list, too. I also remember my parents blasting Very Necessary by Salt n Pepa in the car on road trips, and I was in love with that record. Still am!
Outside of RnB, I tended towards powerful female alt musicians, like Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette and Hole. But I also loved anyone with cheeky lyrics - I was a huge fan of Ben Folds Five for this reason!
What was the first album you remember owning?
Oof, that’s going back a while! I want to say Daydream by Mariah Carey? Although it was probably my dad’s... I do remember it was a CD, though.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
I swear every time I hear a great song I think, “Damn it, why didn’t I write that??” But I think that the one that sticks out to me is Paper Tiger by Beck. That is my all time favourite song and every time I listen to it, I swear I could cry. It’s so, so beautiful and perfect to me. I have a tattoo of some of the lyrics, so if I couldn’t have written it, I need to absorb it into my skin, I guess?
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
Does procrastination count? That’s definitely something like a ritual for me.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
The producer who is working on my EP introduced me to Raveena last year, and I haven’t looked back on that hot tip! To round out a top 5 of “the moment” (I have to limit myself in some way, right?) I’ve also been listening to a lot of Shungudzo, Babe Rainbow, Khruangbin, and H.E.R.
For what it’s worth, I am already wishing I had given myself a top 10 on that...
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
I’ve told her this, and I’m going to continue manifesting it! I would open for Shungudzo. She is such an incredible talent and I would *love* to see her in action. And also to meet her dog.
What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
I think that the most rewarding part is being able to make something out of nothing! You can write a song and go - hey, there was nothing there before, and now there’s a piece of art!
Also, being able to connect with people beyond just words and images is something very special. The fact that there are so many options at your disposal in music to communicate a mood or an emotion or a situation? That’s magic.
And what is the most frustrating part?
Being a creative is pretty torturous in its own right. But, the omnipotence of industry gatekeepers is also pretty frustrating.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
My mum has always said, “Darling, just sing!” And really, I’ve never received more flawless advice.
meadowhip's debut single 'Unexceptional' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.