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cover story New Music June 15, 2020

Ricki-Lee declares Australian songwriters a cut above the rest

Former Executive Editor
Ricki-Lee declares Australian songwriters a cut above the rest
Ricki-Lee is back with new music. Photo by Max Doyle.

When Ricki-Lee Coulter’s schedule was wiped clean courtesy of the pandemic, and the lockdowns that swiftly followed, the singer-songwriter opened her chest of unfinished tracks.

“Some songs you finish, some songs you don’t. Some songs are great, some songs are shit,” Coulter admits, one of the few reality TV-born popstars to sustain a commercial career.

“When COVID happened and everything shut down, my whole year was cleared immediately, like everybody in the industry,” she says.

“I thought why not use this time, I haven’t had this much free time in a very long time.”

Filming of Australia’s Got Talent was put on ice, a show she hosts for the Seven Network, and every gig in her calendar vanished almost overnight.

Among the rough demos to get a second look was ‘Last Night’, the anthemic dance record akin to the pop gems that launched Coulter’s solo career after leaving girl group, Young Divas.

“I knew that ‘Last Night’ was the song. I knew that that was the one that we were going to go with,” the 34-year-old told TMN on the eve of her first music release in two years.

“I could just sit around and be a slob and eat pizza and get fat, but I want to be productive,” she says, with the admission she has found time to binge Jersey Shore during downtime.

“So, like I said, as a songwriter, you write so many songs and they sit in the drawer. I’m going through that draw and I’m picking the songs that I’m going to finish.”

Pictured: Melbourne DJ Throttle, who collavorated with Ricki-Lee on ‘Last Night’.

Luckily for Coulter, her co-writer and producer on the track, Throttle, also had a minute to regroup and throw himself into completing the song.

The pair first crossed paths while working in the same studio, and arranged a session together last November, the fruits of which arrived at radio and streaming services last Friday.

“I’m a massive fan of Throttle, almost to the point of creepy. I seriously listen to his music every day. Every day when I walk out the door and start my run, it’s Throttle.

“I’ve spent years travelling to the States and going to the UK, and writing with all of these people, but we have amazing writers and amazing producers in Australia.

“Throttle usually is travelling around the world, playing shows. But I knew he was in Melbourne. And I knew we had to finish writing the lyrics.

There are two other Aussie co-writers on ‘Last Night’, Janeva Burrill and Ava Hayz, who themselves are ordinarily bouncing around the world from session to session.

“But they’re at home and it was the perfect little opportunity for us all to get together and put in the work, and get this done and get it finished.”

Coulter reveals her release-day routine has evolved since her early solo days, over a decade ago, now enjoying the immediacy of feedback that comes from social media and streaming platforms.

“It’s a different experience now. I’d wake up, I lived on the Gold Coast and I’d go to Pacific Fair, and go to Sanity or JB Hi-Fi or something, and HMV, and see it in the store and it became real.

“Whereas now, you look to see how it’s streaming and what playlists it’s on. And I just love seeing the reactions. You get a real gauge straight away of how the fans are receiving it and loving it.

“I’m really going to use this year, and I’m going to use it properly and I’m going to be productive, and I’m going to get more music out there and I’m not going to stop.”

‘Last Night’ by Ricki-Lee is out now.


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