American-Australian artist Daisy Spratt has released upbeat country tracks in the past, including her last single, ‘Think Again, Boy’. But her latest single, ‘Thinkin’ Bout You’, is a change in direction – with a powerful result.
The single was created in July this year, in between lockdowns in Spratt’s home state of Victoria. Spratt went into the studio with producer Rob Amoruso and songwriter Alice Blake.
‘We were going through different concepts that we could go with, because we really wanted to come out with something different to what I’ve done before,’ says Spratt. ‘Not that I don’t like country or anything like that, but I feel like this year has been a real eye-opener to life and, and how quickly it can change and how quickly things can not go to plan. So I said, well, let’s just go for something totally different, even if it’s not country.
‘We started just chatting about life and I was chatting about family and things like that, and this whole idea of mental health and people struggling and locked down and that sort of stuff came up a lot. So we just started jamming out with melodies and lyrics, and that was what we ended up finishing with that day.’
The song was recorded a few days before Melbourne was put on stage 4 lockdown, but even though it was written and recorded in a short space of time – when usually her songs are written many months before they’re recorded and released – it does not at all feel rushed.
‘It was definitely a concept that I’d been pondering before I’d even gotten into the studio, just being at home so much,’ says Spratt. ‘I write a lot, but I don’t do that 24 hours a day. I’m reading. I’m doing little online courses and I’m finishing off some legal studies as well to keep me occupied during the day. But I’ve been reading up a lot on mental health and how to maintain yourself, keep yourself mentally healthy when you’re in isolation.
‘So I guess a lot of that sort of stuff was on my mind before I even got into the studio [and] it naturally ended up coming out anyway, once we got in there. But I think [the song is] really timely. I think it really speaks for a lot of people and what they’re feeling and what they’re going through right now …
‘I really felt that this was a time that that song needed to come out. But it’s been really cool to explore [that] with my songwriting and just being present. I had a lot of stuff that we could have recorded that I’d been writing from last year and the year before, and we could have released that. But I just didn’t think those songs would have really resonated in this current climate the way that the song has.’
At the core of the song is a simple concept, as Spratt says: ‘if you have something nice to say and you’re thinking about somebody, just go and say it, or if you have a word of encouragement, just go and do it. Don’t hold back because no one’s ever going to get angry at you for saying something kind.’
There has been a huge response to the song, Spratt says.
‘Obviously your friends and your family are always supportive, but I think this is the biggest response I’ve ever had from a group of friends and family about a release that I’ve done. Not that any of my other songs haven’t resonated with them, but I think with this type of message, it’s so timeless … It’s just been cool to just see the positive response and also how people have really connected with it as well.’
Spratt enjoyed exploring a different genre for this song: ‘I think the style that came out through this release was kind of in that indie alternative sort of genre. It’s not even necessarily fully pop, so that’s kind of cool, that I can go to country, pop, and now I’m exploring this whole new area of indie alternative. It’s almost moody, a little bit.’
The video was made after lockdown began and, says Spratt, making it ‘was probably the hardest part. The writing part and the recording stuff was great and that all went really well. But I didn’t know what to do with the video because I thought, I literally can’t go anywhere. We have to wear a mask once we go outside. I had all these different ideas but we just couldn’t do it.
‘So I ended up buying footage and I put a video together, which is what it is now. I combined actual real life footage of me when I was a kid and my family when we were really little, about 20 years ago, to add to the message of the track, because I did write it to family members anyway. And people seem to love it because it’s so personal and so authentic – it’s actually me in the video …
‘With this particular video, the whole point of the imagery that I picked [was that] I really wanted to draw on the emotion of the actual lyrics from the tracks. I specifically picked a lot of those scenes to draw on that, with the water and the ocean and all of that. But, yes, it’s a whole other ball game trying to portray that visually.’
Spratt’s father appears in the video, guitar in hand. ‘Obviously not at the moment, but when we were able to catch up he would just grab my guitar and we’d start jamming out in the lounge room,’ says Spratt. ‘So I’m looking forward to that when lockdown’s over.’
Spratt started learning guitar when she was 10 and she says that almost straightaway her father started teaching her basic chords. ‘We used to jam out “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” together in my bedroom. And it was really cool. He was probably the main person that taught me all that, because my mum doesn’t play guitar.’
Like all artists, Spratt found herself without live shows to play once COVID restrictions were put in place in Australia in March. She says that initially she started making plans for shows later in the year, ‘because we were all under the impression “surely we’ll be out of this by July, August”. So I still was reaching out to venues and festivals and all of that anyway and saying, “Hey, just so you know, I’m really keen to work. I’m happy to perform, all that sort of stuff, when restrictions get lifted”, and they said, “Great, no problem, we just to wait.”
‘But even now, coming into September, they’re saying it’s not going to happen at all this year. And I had like a big show planned for November for the third release – I was going to release a second and a third single. And I don’t even know if those singles are going to go ahead now because we can’t even leave the house to go to the studio to record anything.’
Of those yet-to-be-recorded songs, Spratt says, ‘The second release that we were going to have out at the end of September was going to be something a bit more upbeat, and not that this song [“Thinkin’ Bout You”] is not positive, but this song is a little bit more moody, whereas the next track we wanted to do something a little bit more upbeat and happy and kind of boppy car-drivey sort of track.’
Spratt’s decisions about what to write and record are, she says, seasonal. ‘This particular season I really just want to be present and be in the moment and wherever we’re at, that’s where we’re at. Just accepting it for what it is and writing about that. But there are seasons that I go through where you do get really reflective and you start writing on past things and high school and all that sort of stuff. And I really want to share all of that at some point, but I just don’t think that this is a season for that.’
In releasing this song, Spratt has read the season – and the mood – right. There will be time for the other songs later, but it’s the rare artist who can respond to the times while they’re still in them. It’s no wonder why she’s having such success with ‘Thinkin’ Bout You’, while she continues to write songs for the future, building on the foundation of this one.