Sylvester Sessions #105
Auckland, New Zealand
Reb wears our Carlotta Sundress, Rosa Top & Lou Trouser
It has been a strange, unsettling year, how are you feeling and in what ways have you found a sense of calm?
It’s always important to support our individual and collective health & wellbeing and even more so at this surreal time. I’ve been finding great solace in music. For me music is work - work that I love - and the process of writing, recording, rehearsing and performing helps keep me grounded. I also have to exercise every day … I mix it up - dog walks, dance, hitting the YMCA or yoga at home; a little a day keeps me sane.
You recently released a beautiful new self-titled album, tell us about the inspiration behind it?
My new album is really a line in the sand moment. Able to commit to myself and my music in a new way there’s a sense of self-determination and freedom that underpins the record as a whole. There are soooo many things that inspire me when I write - being human is such a challenging, rich and complex experience. I try to make sense of my own joys and struggles by connecting with broader more universal themes … I hope that enables listeners to find a little of their own story in my songs.
What’s your favourite song from the album and why?
Thats such a hard question!! I think my favourite song to embody live is Don’t You Know Who I Am - every show it grants me a new opportunity to inhabit all aspects of humanity; of myself. Each time I sing a song I sing it differently, find out something new about it or myself and share it in a unique way, so in many ways this is true of all the tunes from this record. But Don’t You Know Who I Am allows me to dig a little deeper, rise up as my whole self and connect with the audience fully … and thats the ultimate for me.
Do you have any rituals in how you go about approaching songwriting and performances?
In the past I’ve tended to let songs come when they do … and they’d come in waves; at times there’s great floods and others its all drought and puddles. For this album I collected the songs I had been writing and then set myself the task of writing the rest of the record within a two month period … that was new for me and a great challenge. I even wrote Samson while I was recording. More recently I wrote a song a day during lockdown and then set to work completing or discarding those songs so I had a complete body of work. I’m not very self disciplined as it’s often hard for me to make the space for myself when theres so much other stuff to do! Prioritising writing and music is still something I have to practice … but practice makes perfect.
What music is exciting you/ inspiring you at the moment?
I was blown away by Disciple Pati’s performance of my song Don’t You Know Who I Am at The Silver Scrolls. Sapati Apa-Fepulea’i is an incredible artist and singer - it was a great honour to hear her perform my tune. Mads Harrop, Vera Ellen, Mousey, Jasmine Mary, Dianne Swann & Ebony Lamb are all New Zealand musicians that I’m sharing my tour with - I am emboldened by their strength and commitment to their art, their punk, pop, folk ethos … I love it all.
How would you describe your personal style and what influences what you choose to wear?
I love clothes that offer androgyny and allow me to embrace all aspects of myself. I wear a lot of black. I like comfort - the freedom to dance and move. I am big on texture and textiles - fabric weights are a great way express how you feel. Coming into summer I’m excited about dresses that I can throw on and forget about.
Photography by Joseph Griffen
Check out Reb here