Starley’s path to platinum status has been filled with starts and stops. After years spent trying to launch her career in her hometown of Sydney, Australia, and later in London and the United States, the popstar hopeful grew depressed. Her anxieties heightened. She was ready to quit. But before she decided to shift her focus onto her next passion – fitness – she made one final attempt at music.
Telling herself that God works in mysterious ways but to remain faithful in his process, Starley penned the personal salve, “Call on Me”. The song caught the attention of Australia’s Central Station Records. Since then, everything changed for Starley. Central Station’s subsidiary, Tinted Records, released “Call on Me” as her debut single last July. Epic Records re-released the track later in October. To date, the song has peaked at number 70 on the Billboard Hot 100, and its remixed version by Aussie producer Ryan Riback has garnered over 338 million Spotify streams.
Starley is currently touring North America for the first time supporting British electronic group Clean Bandit. Georgie got some time with the budding singer to talk about her mainstream ascent, dealing with mental health, and the importance of fitness in her life.
Georgie—I find it interesting that you would have pursued fitness if music hadn’t worked out. For many people, fitness comes with its own set of anxieties. Do you ever get anxious about health or appearance the same way you do with performing? Do you believe that taking care of your body is essential for taking care of your mind?
Starley—I think a lot of performers and artists in general, we naturally have a tendency to be insecure. But I do realize that I’m on the same playing field with everyone else, and everybody feels the same way. Everybody feels anxious sometimes. Do I believe that taking care of my body is essential for my mind? I definitely do. I think that it goes hand in hand. Good eating and working out on a regular basis are super important to keeping fit and also to keeping my mind in a healthy space.
G—Did keeping fit help you push through your depression about your career not working out the way you’d hoped?
S—When I was living in London, the weather’s quite terrible. It’s usually overcast all the time. It did get me down because a lot of the time, I missed my family, the sun would never be shining, and I was quite lonely in London. And then my music wasn’t really working out for me…. During that time, I didn’t listen to any music.… I really hated music at that point. I was depressed. I didn’t want it to be in my face so much, so I worked out to sort of get away from the music scene. [Working out] definitely was a way for me to push through and try to do something positive for myself instead of wallowing away in my sorrows.
G—Fitness is very ritualized with practices and regimens you have to stick with every day. Do you have any mantras or rituals that help you push through anxieties related to performing, touring, or your career in general?
S—Before I have anything super important, I always pray. I think praying is really good. It’s really soothing. It helps me feel connected spiritually, and that keeps me grounded.… And then right before I go on stage, I do a whole bunch of push-ups, and I’ve been getting my band in on that as well. We do sit-ups and push-ups before we jump on stage, and I think that’s a good way to kick out the nerves and just get ready to go.
G—You’ve been making the media rounds with interviews and performances on radio and television. How have you been coping with this new whirlwind of activity?
S—At first, it was really overwhelming ‘cause I’m not used to this amount of attention, and I’m a pretty quiet, private person normally. But I come from a really big family. There’s five kids in my family, and I’m used to talking and having a laugh. It’s kind of just a little bit of adjustment that I’ve had to make with my daily routine, and it is quite intense, but I’ve slowly been getting used to it, so it’s all good. I’m really happy that people want to see me and that they’re so excited about the song that I get to go and do those interviews and let people know a bit more about me. It’s really cool to have those opportunities, so I’m grateful.
G—Have you been to Canada or the United States before? Where else has this tour taken you that you haven’t been before?
S—So far, I’ve basically just done the rounds in Australia and the United States and Canada. I’ve only been to Toronto in Canada. We did some really good rounds there. We went to a lot of radio stations. We did some TV as well. In the United States, I did The Today Show, Good Morning America, and lots of radio. It’s been great. I currently live in the United States. I’m looking forward to getting out to Europe because there’s a lot of fans out there. We’ve gone gold in a lot of those places – like France, Sweden, and Germany – so I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing those people and the fans and actually singing to them.
G—Has anything on this tour surprised you? Fan reactions, certain cities you’ve visited?
S—To date, the most exciting thing I’ve had happen is when we were doing The Today Show, and we had a competition where some fans could hashtag the show and get in to watch me sing “Call on Me” live. It was really beautiful just to see how excited they were, and it was really the first time that I had fans in front of me like that, who were really just there for me. And that was really special.
G—You like to throw yourself into scary situations as a form of personal development. What’s the most rewarding risk you’ve taken?
S—Moving [to London] when I had no real connections there, and no family, and not much money, but just moving there because I had a dream was the biggest risk I’ve ever taken in my life. I was there for a long time. It wasn’t like I was just there for six months…. [G]oing through everything that I went through over there is really what makes me who I am today. I couldn’t be more grateful for having those ups and downs over there.… [R]isk-taking is part of the nectar of life. Really, I think it’s super important to take risks when you believe in something.
Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch first met in the 11th grade, when they started performing together in a jazz quartet known as the Flown Tones. Although the band later disbanded, Rehbein and Dausch stuck together, and the pair went on to experiment with folk, reggae and electronica sound combinations. Eventually, this led to the formation of Milky Chance and the 2014 release of their debut album, Sadnessecary, which later went on to become a multi-platinum success. Now, three and a half years later, Milky Chance is ready to embark on a new adventure with the release of Blossom. The album’s first single, “Cocoon”, continues to climb the charts as the Blossom Tour makes its way across North America. Lead vocalist Rehbein spoke to Georgie about touring, writing and how being close friends with Dausch has benefited the band. G—It’s been about 3 ½ years since the release of Sadnecessary. How has your approach changed between your first and second albums? Clemens Rehbein—I wouldn’t say it’s changed in the way I write songs, but rather how we’ve developed as musicians. The songs are made of the same foundation, but they’re influenced by our experiences on the road and playing on stage. G—Was it
Jacob Sartorius’s path to fame has become an increasingly familiar story: teenaged internet sensation breaks out into mainstream pop stardom. But what sets the 14-year-old Virginian singer apart is his self-awareness and early career savvy. In 2014, Sartorius began uploading clips of himself singing and dancing to Vine. After amassing around 500,000 followers, he switched to musical.ly, where he began uploading videos of himself lip-synching to his own songs. Whereas Vine allowed him to show off his musical theatre background, musical.ly allowed him to show off even more of his lighthearted side. Musical.ly became a new way for him to promote his music and connect with his fans. Sartorius’s fan base has grown so large that he is currently touring internationally for the first time, across seven countries, in support of his debut EP, The Last Text. Georgie caught up with him by phone in London, England a day before he performed in front of 2,500 fans at the O2 Arena. In preparing for The Last Text World Tour, Sartorius has already started developing the work ethic necessary to endure major pop stardom. For 15 to 20 days leading up to the tour, he worked with his voice and movement coaches for up to ten
Every so often, an artist bursts onto the scene, seemingly out of nowhere, with a song so catchy that it dominates the charts for weeks on end. Before too long, that song will have muscled its way onto playlists at every party, wedding and club dance floor – and, love it or hate it, there will be no denying its success (or the fact that you and everyone you know can sing along, word for word). But the pop music world moves fast, and it can be a fickle friend to many musicians on the rise. To make it big, an artist not only has to navigate the onslaught of social media commentary, relentless publicity engagements and repeat performances of that hit song, but also must provide proof of staying power to the critics and sceptics wagering on short-lived success. Enter Meghan Trainor, who doo-wopped her way to pop superstardom with her 2014 track, “All About That Bass”. As an accomplished 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Nantucket, Trainor was no stranger to creating smash hits for others, like Rascal Flatts and Sabrina Carpenter. But when “Bass” failed to be picked up by any of the labels, record executive L.A. Reid named Trainor