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NewTracks New Artist: Freyja

NewTracks New Artist: Freyja

Having not long completed a music degree at Massey University in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Freyja Appleyard is seemingly keeping well busy with a number of projects, like indie bands King Fish and Sure Boy. In late January Freyja added to her repertoire with a sojourn into solo pop material, with debut single Qualified 2 Love under her own name. NZ On Air Music added the song to their NewTracks compilation in February.

What’s your full name, where are you from and what instruments do you play?

Kia ora, I’m Freyja Appleyard. I grew up in Hawkes Bay and now live in Pōneke/Wellington. As well as vocals, I play the drums and some guitar.

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

At high school I took musicianship, which allowed me to form a band and compete at Rockquest – which was great and didn’t really feel like schoolwork! I’ve recently just completed my Bachelor of Commercial Music at Massey University, Wellington, which has allowed me to explore different genres and put myself out there as a solo artist.

Any other previous (or current) projects might we know you from?

I’m the drummer for Sure Boy and also King Fish. Both bands are pretty active on the Wellington scene and Sure Boy recently put out their first single, Lemon Lady.

Sounds like you’re already busy! What’s the background to how Freyja came to be as a project? 

I’ve been writing songs since high school and have consistently had side projects on the go whilst being involved in bands. As my confidence grew through my degree I decided to put my solo project out there. Whilst it is my solo project, I have had heaps of help from friends who produced and played on the track.

How did you come up with the name for the new project?

I just decided to go by my first name alone, because I like it, and also like the idea of a being referred to mononymously

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date?

With a previous band I was lucky enough to open for Connan Mockasin a few years ago, and more recently with Sure Boy I opened for The Beths at one of their San Fran gigs. I’m a big fan of both.

How has your writing (or music) evolved from your beginnings in songwriting to now?

I would say my music and songwriting has evolved along with my tastes. Whilst in high school, I was listening to a lot of synth pop, whereas now I find myself much more influenced by art pop and dream pop.

What makes Qualified 2 Love stand out for you as a single?

Qualified 2 Love was the first song I wrote from my upcoming EP ‘Movie Kiss’. I chose it as the single as I felt it represented the direction I want my solo music to go in. Which is quite different from the music I am involved with in bands.

What is the story behind Qualified 2 Love?

Qualified 2 Love was developed from the idea that the media we consume influences the media we create. I find a lot of my songs draw inspiration from books I’ve read or films I’ve watched, and this was the case for Qualified 2 Love. This is my first solo release and it just felt like the best choice for my debut single. 

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

I love the soaring guitar lines in the post-chorus and outro. They feel dreamy but also a little sad. Which is something I love.

Who did you write/record/produce the single with and where? 

I wrote the song and showed it to my friend Ben Gibbons, and asked him to work with me to record it. He produced the track and played lots of the guitars and synths on it. He let me go into his studio alone to record vocals as I was a bit shy!

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

Sometimes the aftermath of a romance can be as important and impactful as the romance itself…

Anyone else is in your team?

I’ve had some great support from Ben Gibbons (producer), DRM, NZOA and Sam White (bass).

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for? 

I’m working on getting out another single this year followed by the EP. I’m also writing and recording some new songs with Sure Boy and King Fish.

Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song.

I think the songs; Home Again 4 by Shannengeorgiapetersen, Bedhead by Mystery Waitress, and Milky Ways by Sofia Machray would fit well, and I love those songs also.

Have any previous NZOA applications not gained funding or been included on NewTracks? 

This was my first time applying to NZOA, so I would definitely say to anyone considering it to give it a go as you never know unless you try!

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

I have been enjoying the Flying Nun in-store performances on their Youtube channel What Was That Thing? I especially like the one by Recitals.

Any last words?

Hope you like the single <3 Thanks for having me.