From being blinded by young love to experiencing intense heartbreak and an overriding yearning for adventure, budding 22-year-old singer/songwriter Chloë Violette covers it all in her debut EP Gypsy Girl. But it isn’t until the months following the release that she has been able to reflect on and appreciate her journey.
Violette wrote most of the EP’s five featured songs at the tender age of 16. Her first tentative steps into music emerged from her role as a “Who from Whoville” in her Year Ten musical Seussical, in which she “found music and found my niche”. Violette explains: “It’s very bizarre because this EP is a snapshot of when I was a teenager. I’ve written a lot of songs since, and my style has changed, as it does, in ebbs and flows. It’s bizarre because we’re changing all the time, and I have these songs from the perspective that I was writing at that stage in my life. I was seeing the world through a particular lens and now I see it differently, as we all do.”
It’s hard to believe that releasing an EP was only “sort of like a bucket list thing” she laughs. “It seemed like such a hard task to grasp back five years ago.” With the support of friends and family Violette discovered her talent in singing and songwriting. “Through a lot of different experiences and collaborating with a lot of different people it came to life. I sort of only came to the realisation after the EP launch party in Fitzroy with my band, I think I was crying for like half an hour just feeling so overwhelmed… because I had so many beautiful people at the launch supporting me. A lot of hard work and blood, sweat and tears went into it. It was quite a surreal feeling to be like ‘Oh, I can actually share the fact that my songs are on Spotify!’”
The next piece of the puzzle for Violette is spreading her talent, and she thanks community-based, youth-run platforms for providing avenues to do so. “They’re essential to people like me. It’s like going for a job – you need experience to get experience. And these platforms like triple j, like community radio and youth-run TV programs, they allow for us to gain experience and ultimately get our confidence up in terms of what we’re actually doing with our craft.
“I think it’s a cool time to be an up-and-coming artist and a female artist at that, because there’s a lot of woman like Clare Bowditch, Sarah Blasko, Missy Higgins who about ten years ago started paving the way for us. And now I think there’s a lot of chicks coming out of the woodwork and showing that it really can be an even playing field.”
Violette says the title track Gypsy Girl was written when she was young, in love and finding herself; the lyrics inspired by the natural landscapes of her hometown on the Mornington Peninsula. When asked who this so-called ‘gypsy girl’ is, Violette claims she isn’t anyone in particular, rather “an air of naivety, wanderlust… She’s not me, but I think she’s in all of us.” Violette thinks the gypsy girl in each of us should “keep wandering, keep finding, keep talking to people and telling stories, reaching out to like-minded people… that’s what we have to do, especially as women.”
Violette says she draws on personal experiences when writing her songs, but also tries to empathise with other people’s stories for inspiration. “This EP is very much about my own experience as a teenager, and Hurricane in particular is the most personal song out of all of them. It’s all sort of relative to personal experience, to heartache, to long-term relationships turning to shit,” Violette says through laughter, “for the lack of a better term.”
Luna Lullaby is an incredibly soothing, angelic song that is a clear reflection on a more challenging, darker time in Violette’s teenage years. If she could go back and tell her 17-year-old self something, she would say: “‘Trust yourself, things will get better. This is only temporary, believe in yourself.’ It’s difficult to believe those words at 17. You can’t really believe it until you can reflect upon it in a positive manner, and now I can,” she muses.