‘Hillcrest to Here’ is my second EP, released in April 2018. The title was inspired by the name of my Grandparents farm ‘Hillcrest’…a property they bought in Australia, Victoria, when they were married more than 60 years ago. Together, they developed a large, empty block of land into a thriving sheep, crop and cattle farm, winning national prizes for the quality of their sheep’s wool. Last year, due to old age and sickness, they had to make the difficult decision to sell the farm, and as an extended family of almost 30, we had to say an emotional goodbye to a place that held many memories of cricket matches on Christmas, secret hideouts in the bush built by close knit cousins, wild chases of escaped cattle, driving lessons in the paddock, yabby hunting in muddy dams and more.
For me personally, this farm was the one place I could call home. Having travelled around Australia for nearly four years as a child, the only place we always went back to was Nan and Pa’s farm. At one point, we lived on the farm with them for almost one year, helping Nan with her goats, feeding the cows with Pa, and visiting the cousins who lived down the road. It was a blissful place to be as a child. When I found out that the decision had been made to sell, I was inspired to write a song as an ode to what my Grandparents built together, withstanding the harsh Australian landscape, to build a home for their family. They are nothing short of amazing for the work that they did.
When I was home this year for Christmas, I had the time, and opportunity, to sit with Nan and Pa and ask them questions about what it was like to build a farm from the beginning stages. They are now featured on the song ‘Hillcrest’ sharing their stories. Pa has always wanted to write down his life story, and as an extremely sentimental being, I too, wanted some of those stories captured while I still had the opportunity.
The cover picture is of Nan and Pa racing each other on their annual beach holiday to Queenscliff in 1981. I found it in Nan’s albums this year, and thought that it captured such a beautiful, free and happy moment. I had to use it. It connected their story with mine, and linked the EP together.
My life began on ‘Hillcrest’, but since then, I have been lucky enough to travel and experience many different things. It’s during those moments that I’m often inspired to write songs. That’s what this EP is all about…my journey, and the obstacles, the madness, and the beauty that is life.
Three and a half years ago a German backpacker gave me his phone number after seeing me sing in the café he was working in. This action changed the course of my life! Within six months I found myself living in a small German village with no ticket home. The songs throughout the EP speak of the journey I’ve experienced since arriving in Europe. There have been difficult moments where I’ve wondered what the hell I’m doing here, and whether I have my own reasons for staying. There have been moments where I’ve been overwhelmed with love and happiness for this new place, the community I’ve found and the adventures I’m able to have. There have been moments where I had to get out, and booked tickets to Nepal for some mountain therapy in the Himalayas.
All these songs are full of different parts of my heart. My hope is that, although they speak of my memories and experiences, that somehow they will translate to remind you of your own. I have been surprised by the response I’ve received about songs like ‘Hillcrest’, for example. People have messaged me saying that it reminds them of the farm they grew up on, or times they spent with their Grandparents. I am so thankful that a song that I wrote with the intention of savouring the memory of my Grandparents, could also trigger memories of yours.
I hope that with each song, at different moments, you can feel what you need to feel. That the songs remind you of moments in your life where you have overcome obstacles, experienced beauty, felt lost or had a moment of contentment. This is not a project I did alone, or wish to enjoy alone. This was created by a community of people with amazing stories, life experiences and creativity. Now it’s time to give it to you and hope that, in some way, it speaks to you, and inspires you to realise how truly spectacular your own story is…from Hillcrest to here.