Q&A Scene: DAHLIA RAY

Photo: SHE IS APHRODITE

Tell us about your new single Bonfire?

It’s about my mum’s best friend who was like a second mum to me, and her daughter is a sister to me. Jan is the oldest survivor of Cystic Fibrosis in Australian history. She fought through to 65, her funeral was a big party because that’s what she wanted. No one was allowed to wear black only bright colours, and on the day I realised there was no song that sort of nailed how we felt about it. She had the best attitude to life honestly.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time? 

Bonfire lol. It’s like I learnt from all of my mistakes finally. Well, I’m still learning but for now it’s my favourite work that I’ve ever done.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 

Oh wow lol. Bubble gum, Starbursts, jellybeans. They’re the not so sweet ones but it eventually gets there. That’s a hard question!

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote. 

Once I worked with this producer, and I won’t mention names but it was really painful. He would make me sing the song start to finish over and over again like an opera singer and wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say. That’s really hard for a singer/songwriter because you know how you want your song to sound and when you’re told that your individuality is an issue it can be so discouraging. If I had a slightly off note I would have to start again, instead of doing a drop in. He didn’t even believe that I understood what I drop in was, I was treated like an absolute bimbo. It was awful.

What, or who, inspires you?

Strong women for sure. It’s a tough industry for women no doubt. For men too of course, but as a woman I can only talk about the problems I’ve faced as a female artist. So, I’d say women who’ve had longevity in this industry are incredible to me. Atm, Amy Shark has inspired me for sure, she’s amazing in every way. 

Which song do you wish you wrote? 

Somebody That I Used To know by Gotye and Kimbra. I always listen to that song in awe.  

What’s next for you? 

Making more music I suppose. Yay. 

What’s your scene?

I’m really introverted so anything chilled is great. I love a game of chess truly. I’m always asking people to challenge me lol.

Evoking endless summer days and bubbling warmth, the new single Bonfire out today from singer-songwriter Dahlia Ray blends buoyant indie pop with 90s sentimentality. Driven by optimism and demure effervescence, Bonfire is also accompanied by a nostalgic music video, complete with a key childhood staple: the humble trampoline.

Billowing with soft textures, creamy vocals and propulsive beats, Bonfire is a raw bundle of gloss and confessional lyricism, with Dahlia Ray equally drawing to mind the likes of Amy Shark mixed with soft flourishes from her current musical crushes Sia and Portishead. Teaming up with Michael Paynter and Michael Delorenzis at MSquared Productions, as well as her uni pal from JMC Academy, Johnny Grant, to ultimately bring Bonfire to life, Dahlia Ray also drew on a deeply personal memory to heighten the track’s rose-coloured sonic soul, as she explains, “Bonfire is about being optimistic about the future. It’s also about my mum’s best friend, Jan, who was a friend that became family. Jan is the oldest survivor of cystic fibrosis in Australian history. Her funeral was a big party because she outlived all expectations of her and fought right through until she was 65. Her attitude is something that has inspired us all and inspired this song.”

Fittingly accompanying the bouncy nostalgia lying in wait on Bonfire, the track’s accompanying music video saw Dahlia Ray team up with Aria Award-winning photographer, stylist and videographer She Is Aphrodite, conjuring a sparse yet sharp aesthetic that perfectly echoes Bonfire’s playful charm. “The concept was that I’d be having as much fun as possible while having memory flashbacks which we just used stock films for,” explains Dahlia Ray of the Bonfire music video. “I came up with the stock film idea but that’s definitely all I did. She Is Aphrodite came up with the idea of me jumping up and down on the trampoline. We used her neighbour’s back yard, so nice of him, lol. But yes, She Is Aphrodite is definitely the brains behind this clip.”

A self-confessed geek obsessed with chess as well as sharing and creating good times in a live setting, Dahlia Ray has been steadily weaving sonic magic over the years, culminating in this stunning new addition to kick off the new year. And while the release of Bonfire has been a long time in the making, the track is a seamless extension to Dahlia Ray’s ever-growing repertoire and her ultimate passion for her craft. “I love that music unites people by the shared experience of the songwriter. I’ve sung since I can remember and so it’s always been my only real outlet.”

Bonfire is out today, Friday January 20.

Listen: BONFIRE

Watch: BONFIRE

Stream: BONFIRE

 

About Mary Boukouvalas 1614 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.