Trained as a classical pianist, Australia-based singer-songwriter Noralyn takes us on an alternative pop journey with her evocative music. We speak with Noralyn about her debut album Slow Thinker, future plans and much more.
OSR: What drew you to music?
Noralyn: My dad loved classical music, so growing up I mainly listened to that at home, and I guess that’s where my love of music grew from. I started piano lessons when I was 11 and was often making up little songs and improvising on the piano. I knew I wanted to pursue music as a career from my early teens. I continued to study classical piano at university after school and really started getting into songwriting and singing more seriously then.
OSR: What is the backstory to your new album Slow Thinker?
Noralyn: Slow Thinker was in the works for over two years before I released it. I wrote the songs over about a year (not particularly thinking about them as an album) and when I chose what I wanted to record this bunch of songs really felt like they belonged together and would take listeners on a little journey.
Songwriting for me is often a way I process and explore my thoughts and feelings and the songs on this album all came about in that natural, spontaneous manner. It’s named Slow Thinker after a lyric in the first track of the album as I felt it both describes the way I think and write, as well as the thoughtful nature of this collection of songs.
OSR: I see that Slow Thinker was self-produced. What challenges did you face when recording and producing the album?
Noralyn: I really enjoyed producing the album myself – it was the first time I’ve done so but it was really fun having the freedom and flexibility to create the music the way I heard it in my head. I guess one of the biggest challenges was deciding when the songs were finished and letting them go, so it was really helpful having a fresh pair of ears in my sister and getting honest feedback and hearing “they’re ready” from her.
OSR: What do you hope people take from the album?
Noralyn: I hope that people find the songs meaningful and that they can experience some of the light and beauty that I seek to uncover as I write in response to life.
If you could change one thing about Slow Thinker, what would it be?
Noralyn: I am very happy with how the album turned out but I think if I could change something it would be nice to have piano and the strings recorded on real instruments. I used virtual instruments for everything.
OSR: Which is your favourite track and why?
Noralyn: Hmmm, it’s hard to choose. They all made the cut onto the album because they were meaningful to me. Probably ‘Education’ for its production or ‘One of the Few’ for its music and lyrics.
OSR: What about your least favourite?
Noralyn: There were a couple of additional songs that I initially planned to include on the album which I later decided were my “least favourites”, so I cut them from the album.
OSR: If you could perform with any living artist, who would it be?
Noralyn: I’ll go with Brooke Fraser. I’ve always been a fan of her music and the messages within it.
OSR: If you could spend the day with anyone (not necessarily a musician), who would it be and why that person?
Noralyn: Oh, I’m not good at this kind of question! There are so many people in the world who I’d find very interesting and rewarding to meet, but no one actually springs to mind. I’d need to ponder this for a while to commit to a proper answer! I’m super thankful and blessed to have a wonderful family and friends who I love spending time with, so I’ll take the day with them, please.
OSR: Do you have future plans as a musician?
Noralyn: At this stage, I haven’t planned anything in particular past releasing this album, but I love music and will continue creating and sharing it when and where I can!