” ‘The Outsider’ by Jack Bratt is in my Top 5 Aussie single releases this year. Meaningful, relatable and so damn good! Jack has some serious skills! A real story teller and insanely great vocals. This song deserves to shoot up the charts.”
Vast storyteller, and rocking troubadour Jack Bratt has released a ripping new single The Outsider, a song about self-identity and perception. The new single is complemented by an entertaining spaceman-themed video clip. Jack Bratt has begun work on his debut album which is set for release in early 2021, and with new music on the way his fans are champing at the bit to hear more from this exciting rocker.
Jen had the chance to ask Jack a few questions about his latest release and more.
Hi Jack, I have just been listening to your new single The Outsider. I must say I am impressed with your vocal sound. You really do tell a story through your vocals and not just the lyrics. I like that!
Can you share some of your musical background that lead you to this moment in your life?
My father has been a musician all of this life, and I started playing in pubs with him when I was 14. I guess it’s just always been in my blood. It’s a huge part of my identity, I just love music, and everything good in my life has come about in a connection with music in some way. I started playing in bands when I was 18, and I’ve been all over the world playing music and I’ve had some amazing experiences. My decision to go out on my own and begin to release music as a solo artist only came about after I won the Grant McLennan fellowship award late last year, it was a huge confidence booster for me.
Can you tell us the writing process of The Outsider? Is written from a personal perspective?
Yes, all of my music up until this point has been about my personal experiences, that may change one day but for now I believe its important to write lyrical content that is honest and represents who I am. The music I loved when I was growing up, the music I really connected with was all about peoples struggles and triumphs, I still really enjoy getting that insight into other people’s worlds. The Outsider has a few different themes in it, it’s a snapshot of my life, taking stock about the things around me I’m thankful for, and also acknowledging the things I need to work on. Being less hard on myself, I have a lot of issues with confidence and self-esteem, as a person and an artist. At the time I was writing the song, I was thinking a lot about if I had reached the peak of my career as a musician, if that was as good as its going to get for me. I need to have these little conversations with myself to push through and keep going, a lot of my music just puts things into perspective for me or having that moment of doubt and getting it out of the way.
The more I listen the more I ponder the meaning, a story of self-identity and perception. Everyone could relate, especially the youth of today.
I think most of my music is pretty relatable lyrically, I want to try and extend a hand through my music to other people who are having similar experiences. I found so much support and joy listening to music growing up and knowing I wasn’t alone in whatever I was going through, even though I didn’t know the people singing the songs, I still felt a comfort in it.
How are you coping with the Pandemic? Are you in Melbourne and under stage four lockdown? I am coping quite well; I am used to spending a lot of time at home as I have an illness that makes it hard to get out. I have worked hard on starting a new interest of gardening, spend time listen to music, and of course watching Netflix series. What are your strategies?
I’m in Brisbane, so we have been very lucky with regards to the virus. I’ve been able to turn the experience into quite a positive one, I wrote the rest of my album in quarantine, and then was given funding by Arts Queensland to record my debut album, so a lot of time is being spent in the studio tracking. While I did have to cancel a lot of plans and 2020 is very much not the year I was expecting to have, I’ve still been able to accomplish things I wanted to, just not in the order I thought they would happen in.
Not being able to head to New York City for your 3-month artist residency must be tough. That is still going to be an opportunity for you when we get to a COVID normal?
Yes, I absolutely will be heading to New York to partake in the Grant McLennan fellowship as soon as the international borders are reopened. I’m so excited to spend an extended amount of time there, I love New York so much, it’s maybe one of the only places I’ve visited with high expectations that really lived up to my idea of it.
Please tell us how that residency came about?
I received the Grant McLennan fellowship award in December, which is a huge owner. The award comes with $25,000 to use living and writing music in either Berlin, London or New York. Those were Grant’s favorite cities. I’ve been lucky enough to have already lived in Berlin and London previously, so the opportunity to spend time in NYC is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
In your press release you are quoted as saying; “Anxiety is at the core of the song. It’s really about trying to get by, but everybody is carrying around some sort of pain with them. It’s alarming how many people I know especially in the music industry who suffer with anxiety and mental health.”
I agree, I am astounded by musicians that seem to have the world at their feet, yet when interviewing them, we don’t talk about that, 9/10 interviews mental health is brought up and discussed. Sometimes that can be in the past but mainly in the present. I like talking about it, I would like mental health to be accepted as normal, a time when people need some time to heal or come to terms with their mental state. We have come a long way with getting rid of the stigma, but it is still there.
Is that your experience with your fellow musicians?
I would say yes for sure, but also with just people in general. I’m not sure what’s going on with people, if this amount of trouble with anxiety and depression has been this rampant and it just hasn’t been spoken about, or if our world has changed so much that it is effecting our minds in a negative way. But yes, musicians seem to be more prone to it, it’s a seriously risky and difficult industry to be in, especially when you are depending on it for your financial wellbeing. The pressure of sustaining an income and keeping a roof over your head, combined with pouring your heart out and releasing music and just hoping its well-received just keeps you constantly on edge.
You and I would agree that The Arts are not appreciated during this pandemic. It makes me mad that people turn to music when they are alone or feel the need to listen to songs to connect to, or just have the radio on, yet there has been little to no financial relief for the industry. I have interviewed or chatted with artists that are at breaking point. Sorry this question has turned into me sharing my frustration about this! Your thoughts?
I wasn’t expecting any help financially when this broke, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was given access to Job keeper, and also I received some one off financially payments from places like Australia Council which was also very helpful. I know some people feel like not enough was done for the Arts industry, but a lot of industries are suffering. I’ve been able to adapt luckily and am starting to generate some income as well now that things are a little more relaxed in Queensland. It’s obviously not like it was, but I’m getting by well financially, so I’m grateful for all the assistance that was given to me, I didn’t expect to have any of it.
I suffer from anxiety, not ashamed to say. Listening to songs like The Outsider helps. When I feel understood by the song, the words that you or other artists have written it makes me feel better. I guess I want to say thanks for that!
I’m really sorry to hear you suffer from Anxiety. I do as well, as do most people I know. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to manage mine over the last couple of years with medication, but I know its still there bubbling beneath the surface, and I’ve come to the point where I’ve accepted this may be something I live with forever. But I am living with it, and not being beaten by it. It’s strange, I never really knew anything about Anxiety before It started happening to me, and when you don’t know what’s happening, it feels like you are losing your mind. I think people confuse Anxiety with nervousness, I think they were the same thing. They very much are not.
The music video for The Outsider really does capture how people can be an outsider, like someone from space, and find their place here. Can you tell us the process of coming up with this idea?
It was just a lighthearted way of portraying an outsider, He’s a weird looking guy that is totally out of place, but also nobody seems to really care about him in the beginning, likes he’s invisible. I wanted to try and get across that everybody has their own problems.
Lastly, you are working hard on your debut album right now. A great time to do that! The album is set for release early 2021. Is there anything that you can tell us about how the album is shaping up? Will there be another release before then?
It’s coming along really well, I’m about to head to the studio for some drum tracking. I’m excited to see the songs come to life and not just be rattling around in my head! There possibly will be another single before the end of the year, I’m just toying with that idea at the moment, it depends.
Thanks Jack, I enjoyed listening to The Outsider on this cold Sunday morning. I look forward to new releases, but in the meantime, I am going to explore your previous work.
Thanks so much for your time
You are welcome Jack.
A grand, existential exploration of fitting in when feeling like an outcast, The Outsider hits notes of timeless rock that will have fans of Holy Holy and Foo Fighters salivating. Recorded and produced by Joel Myles at Hunting Ground Studios in Brisbane, and mastered by Mat Bartlem (Matt Corby, Jarred James, Boo Seeka), Bratt’s timeless new single is a thoughtful and moving piece; an exciting next step from one of Australia’s favourite newcomers.
Jack Bratt’s emotive vocal strikes a chord from the outset with sharp, moving lyrics that reflect on feelings of isolation widely felt during this worldwide pandemic. “It’s about being left of centre, about not fitting in,” the Brisbane musician says about the song, “it’s about perception. You may have an idea about how others view you, but that’s not necessarily who you are. It’s easy to think somebody might be doing really well, but that could just be a front, while they’re dealing with a lot of problems. I think what I’ve learned from being in lockdown and having conversations with friends, is that nobody is really okay; we all have our own struggles.”
With plans of heading to New York City in June for a three month artist residency (thanks to his recent Grant McLennan Fellowship accolade) momentarily quashed due to the virus, Bratt’s new single speaks to the current halted state of the music industry and the effect it has had on mental health, explaining, “Anxiety is at the core of the song. It’s really about trying to get by, but everybody is carrying around some sort of pain with them. It’s alarming how many people I know especially in the music industry who suffer with anxiety and mental health.”
The video clip for The Outsider brings an extra-terrestrial element into the fold, spaceman cometh! Directed by Bradley Murnane from Spilting Films, the video tells a story of an astronaut who has fallen to Earth and is trying to find his way home, only to find love along the way. “I was just thinking about the most extreme version of somebody who doesn’t fit in and stumbled on the idea of a man who falls from space and is trying to find his way home,” Bratt says of the charming clip, “but in the end, he transitions into a normal life on earth, adding a fun little twist.”