It was 2010 when Melbourne singer/songwriter Ainslie Wills first broke on national airways with her independently released single Wide Load. The track made a large impression on triple j Unearthed and put everyone on notice that a new high caliber Australian female vocalist would soon be in our midst.
Flash forward to April 10, 2012 – the release date of Wills’ new single Fighting Kind. Before the song even had the chance to hit the physical or digital shelves, Zan Rowe chose the track as her Catch of the Day exclaiming that, “Ainslie Wills is back with a new tune, and once again that voice and the perfectly minimal production, has made it a winner.”.
With a theme of fighting for who you are and what you want, the single may be an obvious triumph to listeners. However, for Wills herself, the essence of what she was writing was not clear until Fighting Kind was almost completed.
“I wrote the song with my guitarist Lawrence Folvig…and I didn’t really have a definite meaning for it. I sort of found that towards the end of the recording when we lad down all of the idea and the lyrics were there,” Wills said.
“I sort of got to the end of it and realised that a few lines, like the opening line, ‘do you mean any harm’…appears from the outside that I’m asking someone else that question when in fact I was asking myself. But I didn’t actually know that until I got to the end of the song and had finished and kind of sat back and thought, ‘yeah I’m sort of asking myself’,” she said.
This revelation set in hindsight may give the impression that Wills leaps into things haphazardly, but when speaking with the youthful songstress, it’s obvious she possesses a deep level of consideration. Realising from the tender age of 14 that she wanted to be a professional musician, Wills had the foresight to commit herself to five years of studying her craft after high school.
“Everybody has a different way of getting into music and… I’m not saying you have to study music to be good at it, but for me personally, I feel like doing that and having that focus really shaped…the songs,” Wills said.
The efforts of Wills’ studious ways will culminate in her form of her debut LP You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine, scheduled for release later this year. The title may seem to indicate a parting of the ways between two people, but in actuality it reflects the album’s writing process while also serving as a homage to Barbra Streisand.
“‘You go your way, I’ll go mine’ is representative of the fact that it was a collaboration, but we didn’t write songs in one room from scratch, it was more of a solitary collaboration, which is completely an oxymoron… Laurence would come up with something and then demo it. Then I would hear it, and then I would put my take on it lyrically and melodically and send it back. So we stuck to our own creative processes but we had an open conversation about how we wanted the songs to be,” Wills said.
“The title was made clear to me by remembering a scene from ‘Hello Dolly’ which is a Barbara Streisand musical. She says to her gentlemen caller, ‘You go your way and I’ll go mine’ but instead of pointing in opposite directions she actually points in the same direction,” she said.
For now Wills direction is set for The Worker’s Club in Melbourne. On Saturday May 12 the intimate venue will host the official launch for Figthing Kind, the first song lifted from the upcoming You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine. Given that the power of her voice can transcend compressed files and cheap laptop speakers, it stands to reason that Wills’ live show will be something to behold. With the release of You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine in the coming months Wills is primed to take her place amongst the wealth of strong and stirring female performers Australia already has to offer.
“I feel like there’s definitely been an increase in more gutsy female vocals,” Wills said.
“Females are embracing this other side and sort of kicking some butt while they’re doing it and it’s awesome to see. I feel like it’s a really healthy thing. I don’t like to make a point of it but at the same case I do; it is a male dominated industry, or it has been in the past, and I do feel like there’s a little more of a balance going on now, which is great,” she said.
Fighting Kind Single Launch
Saturday 12 May
The Worker’s Club
with Gold Bloom and Lisa Salvo
Fighting Kind was independently released on April 10, 2012 and is available via iTunes and Bandcamp.