Phoebe Gunson AKA My Girl Pho has just released a new single, Feelen, and has been launching it all over the joint. She took time out for an ATS chat...
You’ve spent the last week or so on tour on the East Coast. How did it go and what’s your profile like over there now?
We had such an awesome time over East, every show we played was unique with different environments and audiences. Some shows were parties with the audience dancing and hooting; others were sit down, candlelight style which I love because I feel like everyone appreciates and listens to the melodies and lyrics.
Tell us a bit about the song, Feelen?
Feelen is my breakthrough song, during a time I had finally gotten out of a passionless rut in my career, relationships and music. Spending a lot of time partying and unsuccessfully trying to force connections with people, by surprise I had a romantic encounter with a friend and it energised and enthused me again giving me that classic ‘feelen’ of butterflies, wobbly knees with nerves and excitement during an interaction. Gaining confidence in myself, it was almost a release of social tension and anxiety that had built up for me and the slate was clean and new.
You’ve collaborated with the likes of Palais, Tayrell and Ukiyo, what do you look for in a collaborator and what do they look for in you? Or is it best not to have those expectations?
I love collaborating with producers, it's always such a challenge considering other’s ideas and expectations. I personally don’t vibe to the collaboration if they already have a vocal line or guide they've written for me. I need to have as much room in a track as possible as I'm a loud, elaborate vocalist. I won’t suite any works with a lot going on instrumentally in them as my brassy vocals often clash. I tend to use my vocals to fill space when perhaps a lead instrument would sit.
Describe your live set-up these days…
I have simplified my set up as much as possible to allow myself to focus on the delivery and performance. Currently I run Ableton where I launch the tracks, I have Tony play live drums, Tom on saxophone and I use a Vocaliser to loop and control vocal effects live.
Your voice is both soaring and unique. What have been your influences vocally?
Thank you! When I was growing up and singing in school talent shows my go to was Alicia Keys and Corinne Bailey Rae, JoJo so there’s no surprise there with the huge R&B Pop influence. Down the track Florence & The Machine and Kimbra were the strong vocalists that I aspired to be like in strength and impact vocally and lyrically.
Describe your embracement of music from childhood to now…
I suppose my embracement of music has always been the same in the sense that I love to perform and entertain, as a kid I'd never be embarrassed to sing or act or dance in front of people. It's always felt natural, and I felt FOMO from a young age wanting to do everything that was on a stage. I suppose the dynamic has changed now as I'm an adult as it means much more to me to perform and to write. It’s a huge part of who I am.
Which of your works have you been especially pleased with? Or are you an artist that looks at things and hears only what they can prove? I’ve spoken to many of those…
I listen to my music all the time (laughs). I love one of my tracks called Five Thirty PM, it just sits on my Soundcloud without an official release, but I love performing it and I feel it lyrically encapsulates a time I caught myself with ill/villain intentions and how this negative attitude almost suited me - ‘Save me, I'm still saying sorry for things I swear I don’t mean, somehow manipulating’.
With the tour wrapping up this weekend, what’s the first cab off the rank to do next?
I'm so keen to get back into the studio and make new music. I've had an intense schedule of performances almost every weekend playing the same songs/set for the last 10 months and I'm ready to generate a bigger and better repertoire, I was so inspired with new ideas seeing all the support acts at my shows during the tour.
And what are your plans and hopes in the longer term?
Fame and fortune.... (laughs) well no, just to be cliché, I'd love to perform at huge festivals and shows all around the world for as long as I can. Perhaps eventually settle into more collaboration work writing music for other artists too.
Your Girl Pho launches Feelen on April 13, at The Bird with help from Grievous Bodily Calm, Umairah Murtaza and House of BOK. Full details via www.facebook.com/events/154079951941629/