Local singer-songwriter Naomi Keyte has just released her debut album Melaleuca, a warm and nostalgic release exploring themes of self-discovery and self-acceptance. The 10-track LP was recorded on the quiet coastline of Point Lonsdale, Victoria, by producer Nick Huggins in his home-built studio. Following the album's release, and in the lead up to Naomi's album tour with her band (featuring members of Sparkspitter and Swimming), we got a rundown of the stories behind each song...
Track 1: I started writing 'Company' whilst driving from Melbourne to Adelaide. It was my first interstate drive in my first car (late to the game). I fell in love with the sense of freedom and the time I had to reflect and absorb the landscape. The trees on the side of the road seemed friendly and it was if they were keeping me safe.
Track 2: 'Somebody Else’s House' came out of a sound recording I made of some Orthodox Church bells in Thessaloniki, Greece. This song makes reference to a time when I felt completely disconnected from myself and from the person I was meant to be in love with. It was the start of an unraveling that later lead to a big break through.
Track 3: 'Undertow' was written as a letter to myself. I had a chronic eating disorder for over eight years and this song was written to the person I was when I was unwell, knowing what I know now.
Track 4: I wrote this ‘palate cleanser’ on my mother’s piano at her property in East Gippsland. It was the first time I had played piano in years. 'Sister Song' was recorded on a creaky old piano that Nick found on the side of the road.
Track 5: I wrote 'Have Her Fill' back in 2009 after the Black Saturday bushfires (in Victoria). I was living in Melbourne at the time and the energy and the atmosphere was incredibly thick and intense with the smoke, the grief, the fear, and the sense of being at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Track 6: 'Saltbush and Sand' is about home; that place that makes us feel like we can be ourselves. My grandfather built our family beach house down in Cape Jervis before I was born and it’s the one constant home I’ve had throughout my life. There is something quintessentially South Australian about the Fleurieu Peninsular, and I tried to capture that in this song.
Track 7: 'Limitless' was actually written down at Cape Jervis as I was walking along the Heysen Trail. There is an openness and sense of space there that just allows you to breath. Feeling connected with myself, and the world around me, makes me feel powerful.
Track 8: Nick (our producer) tricked Thomas into recording 'Sister Song II' by getting him to play all the viola parts from the chorus of Company again. He then pitched shifted them down an octave so they are rumbling like cellos and much slower.
Track 9: I wrote 'We Spoke of the Future' when my partner at the time was thinking about moving overseas. I was thinking about how we had shared a vision and how that vision was changing, and about how I could let them go freely. The song makes references to a trip we made to Tassie in ’15.
Track 10: I wrote 'Old Pines' as a wedding gift for my cousin, Sophia. I drew on images I’d seen of my grandparents in old photographs. I also have a bit of a fascination with pine trees - their magnitude, smell, and steadiness - there is something protective and comforting about them that is similar to having a companion.
Buy a digital copy of Melaleuca or order a copy on vinyl from Bandcamp here.
For more details on the launch show in the Adelaide Hills on March 26 click here.