The Australian pop star drops captivating new single “Distant Dreams” and talks upcoming debut EP “Fre$h Hugs”.

Tulliah, Australian singer-songwriter, indie-pop, Just My Type Press Shot, singer in turtle neck stands in pink flower tree
Tulliah, Australian singer-songwriter, indie-pop, Just My Type Press Shot, singer in turtle neck stands in pink flower tree

19-year-old singer-songwriter Tulliah, who rocked the music world with her debut indie-pop single “Company” back in 2019, is back another powerful yet delicate track, “Distant Dreams”.

This new offering is a little different from what we’ve seen from the Australian pop star before. It replaces the swaying, laid-back production of her previous ballads with a pluckier, more energetic sound. Subtle, stripped-back piano keys grab your attention before an upbeat acoustic guitar riff kicks in. Backed by urgent vocals and intimate lyricism, a buoyant melodic hook takes hold: “So don’t go waking me up, sleep tight.”

On the inspiration behind the new track, Tulliah explained: “I used to never really believe that I could achieve my dreams. This song is about not wanting to break away from my visions and goals. The lyrics ‘don’t go waking me up’ are a direct demand to myself! It’s about not wanting to go back to doubting my capabilities.”

And the track is just a taster of what’s to come on her upcoming EP “Fre$h Hugs”. The debut body of work takes us on a relatable journey through the trials and tribulations of Tulliah’s teenage years. It’s a tapestry of pivotal moments in the young musician’s life. So, whether you’re struggling with your mental health or navigating a brand-new romance, – or reflecting on a time when you were – this EP has the perfect soundtrack for your very own coming-of-age tale.

We caught up with Tulliah below, talking life lessons, musical inspirations and pinch me moments.

Check out the interview below…

Tulliah · Distant Dreams

Hey Tulliah! How’ve you been during lockdown? What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned as a creative this past year?
Hey, I’ve been pretty good!! I was lucky during lockdown because I live in an area right next to the beach and surrounded by lots of nature. I feel bad for all the small businesses and the music industry, especially the people whose work relies on live music. It was hard creative wise during the first lockdown in Australia, but after a while I started to find a new routine and that helped me be motivated again.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt as a creative this year is to not judge your fresh ideas, just write and see what comes out. Having negative thoughts running through your head while fresh in the creative process could disrupt something special. Listen back the next day and then decide what you can do. Give your ideas a chance to develop, be patient with the creative process and push through those times when the song feels useless.

For those who haven’t heard your music yet, how would you describe your sound?
I would describe it as a big hug. Warm sounding and hopefully comforting. The instrumentation is mainly acoustic instruments layered with the vocal leading the listener through stories of teenage experiences. When the vocal isn’t leading, something else takes its place.

Where do you hope people will be transported to when they listen to your songs?
I hope that my songs are songs that you would listen to with your headphones on late at night or while driving with friends. I hope they make people become present in the song and capture a moment of fellow feeling.

How has the local music scene in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula helped shape you as an artist?
There is a big music community where I live, and it has given me lots of opportunities to grow and be inspired by other musicians at a young age. There are always events like open mics, markets and festivals as well as local opportunities for gigs at cafes, bars and wineries. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to start sharing my music so early.

Congratulations on your new single “Distant Dreams” – why that title and what does the song mean to you?
The title came from the back of a painting which sits on top of my piano. My parents were moving it to the piano while I was playing, and my mum read out the title. After hearing those two words it flowed out of me quite freely. At the time I was feeling a bit lost because I had been gigging for a while around the Mornington Peninsula and wanted to take the next step but didn’t know how to. The song is about me feeling like my dreams were too out of reach and not wanting to break away from these visions.

What’s your favourite lyric and why?
“I can’t see the ground below me, high above my deepest worries, they don’t bother me at all”.

I love this one because it pretty much sums up the song and is sung from a perspective of being in a dream where all your doubts have disappeared.

The track is taken from your debut body of work “Fre$h Hugs” – what can we expect from the EP and how does it embody who you are as an artist right now?
All of the songs that are on the EP were written over a year ago. They were all pretty much ballads when I first wrote them. As an artist you are constantly changing taste and experimenting with different sounds so when I went into the studio with these songs, my taste has already changed quite a lot. Dean Tuza (producer) made me realise that a song is not finished until you are happy with it and that they can go through so many stages before reaching its final form. The feeling I had towards them when they were first written was reignited again. The songs will probably always relate to me in some way. I am so proud and excited for people to hear the whole body of work all together. The songs are a representation of my life at that time, so it’s kind of like a photo book of my years left in high school.

You’ve already been gathering accolades left right and centre – competing as a finalist in 2019’s triple j Unearthed High competition and landing a spot in The Independent’s (UK) Ones To Watch list for 2021, to name but two. What’s been your biggest pinch-me moment so far?
I was driving up to the city with my mum and my song “Company” came on the radio. It was the first time I had ever heard my song being played and it was such a surreal moment. I heard “Distant Dreams” being premiered on the radio this week too and it felt exactly the same as it did the first time. I think hearing my songs on the radio will always be a pinch me moment.

Best advice you’ve ever been given (and from who)?
Dean, my producer, told me this quote that I love: “Accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference”.

What’s next and what are you most excited for?
There are so many things to be excited about lately, on the weekend I just played my first headline show, and it sold out! It was so great to be able to play shows after such a long time. However, up next, I am most excited to release my EP titled “Fre$h Hugs” and then hopefully start recording the next project!

Anya Cooper

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