INTERVIEW: Didirri

Addressing his vulnerability in such a raw and powerful way, Didirri has introduced himself to listeners in the most honest way possible.

His songwriting is pure, and his delivery is heartfelt. Song’s like ‘Blind You’, ‘Bird Sounds’ and ‘I Can’t Get Last Night Out Of My Head’ have made their way into a special place of people’s hearts and have deservingly received strong triple j rotation.

On top of that he’s toured the country multiple times and delivered a show that is intimate and special, and allows you to get to know the singer-songwriter on a deeper level.

He recently released his new single ‘Raw Stuff’ and competed in the Eurovision Australia Decides competition, which he may have not technically won but did see him winning over a lot of brand new fans that discovered his raw authenticity.

I recently chatted to Didirri about the creative process behind his new single ‘Raw Stuff’, reflected on his experience during Eurovision Australia Decides and found out the hilariously candid stories he tells during his live show. Check out the chat HERE; 

TB: ’Raw Stuff’ is yet another vulnerable and honest affair which hears you opening up about the ups and downs of life and the moments we miss. So how did the creative process behind this track come together? 

D: I wrote half of it a long time ago. I was kinda pre-break up but could feel it coming on. I just wasn’t really talking to people about it because I was a bit worried I would fall into causing a break up without meaning to by chatting to people. But I realised while writing the song that I should actually be talking to my friend about it. But I was on tour, and tour can throw a lot of things off as sometimes you only have time for a 5 minute chat and you don’t really want to get into the nitty gritty stuff.

I wrote the first half of it before the strings come in on a piano while in Byron Bay but I kinda gave up on it and just recorded it on my phone and forgot about it. It didn’t feel right at that time, as it wasn’t coming out in a smooth way. 

Two years later I was in the studio and I was playing all the band songs and I got a phone call on a break from one of the people I should’ve been talking to during that tougher time. And he was going through something similar over the past 6 months and not opening up to people about where they were at. I suddenly remember that song and got the voice recording out and wrote the second half from their perspective. 

In the spur of the moment my producer was just like “let’s record it right now because it kinda seems perfect the way it is”. So we sat down at an rickety out-of-tune piano and we just played it.

We kept coming back to it with the recording and felt like it needed something more, but adding a band didn’t feel right. Chris then reached out who is an incredible strings arranger and he was doing a session in the states and took this song on board and sent back this beautiful composition which felt so perfect. It had this Tom Waits meets West Side Story feel to it. And that was it. It all felt very natural. 

TB: What is one of your favourite lyrics from the track?

D: I really love the lyric; “and I know that you love him, but loving’s not enough”. I know that’s a really direct line but it really sums up that whole idea of needing a trifecta of connection, chemistry and timing. 

It can be tragic when the timing isn’t right and the other two are there. No one really grieves if there is no connection, chemistry or drive. But when it’s just timing and someone’s not ready, it really sucks. 

That line is hard to sing as it cuts through to the reality of loving someone, but it not being enough. 

TB: In those moments where you feel a little down and feel like your missing out on life because you’re pursuing your dream, how do you personally pull yourself back in and find that perspective? 

D: It’s an interesting one. Forever there have been artists that have felt like they’re pushing a boulder up a hill in their career, and they work really hard but suddenly it goes over the crest of the hill and they are chasing it. 

Suddenly all the effort you’ve been putting into pushing your career switches gear and you start having to really work and make time for the people and friends around you. Your peripheral friends drop off but your close friends become closer in that process. I really try to make time for those really close to me. Whether it’s just a Skype chat while I’m on the other side of the world and talking about the mundane things in life. Like, “what did you eat for lunch today in Melbourne?” *laughs*. It’s bizarre the things you miss when you’re away. 

TB: You recently competed in Eurovision Australia Decides, so reflecting back on that journey, what was one of the biggest hurdles you had to face? 

D: I think there was an expectation that I was going to “ham up” what I do, as that’s what a lot of people do with that show, and rightfully so as it’s a larger than life experience and almost in a musical theatre zone. 

But I definitely didn’t want to do that, and I don’t think the producers wanted me to do that either. I just wanted to be myself and do what I do well. I just wanted to play my song to the audience and have this moment of sincerity amongst everything. And I gained so many beautiful fans from that experience which was so special. 

I think I was brought in with Jaguar Jonze to represent Australian songwriters as I really do think Australian songwriters have so much to offer on the world stage. There are so many talented songwriters coming out of this country. 

There are a lot of songs on Eurovision which are written by teams and in collaboration with people, but Jaguar Jonze and i brought our own songs to the show. And if Eurovision is about anything in particular, it’s about representing all of the different aspects of a song competition which is performance, voice, the actual song and if it connects with people. So I think we brought that songwriter aspect to it and Jaguar obviously also delivered an amazing set and band, while I just tried to re-create my music video and get some Australian forest and bushland in the background. 

TB: Eurovision is a very theatrical experience and you are an artist that is quite minimal in the performance space and regularly performs solo and other times performs with a band. So did performing in this competition and viewing other artists going all out make you think about how you want to enhance your live show leading into your upcoming tour? 

D: This next tour is going to be quite an intimate one anyway, but towards the end of the year or start of next year I will be going back to doing something bigger. I’m also looking for what’s next, definitely in a live context. I am absolutely obsessed with finding new fans to connect with people through performance and music. 

I leave the big theatrical performances to people who can do it really well as I know what I can I can do really well is connect with people in a intimate one on one way. I try to look for the eyes that are looking back at me and connect with them.

TB: What has been one of the funniest or weirdest things you’ve seen when you’ve looked out into the crowd during a show? 

D: *Laughs*, some of them may be inappropriate for this conversation. There has been some pretty wild shit I’ve seen. But my favourite reaction is when someone is talking really loud and not really following, so I lock eyes with them and suddenly they stop.

It’s the best feeling when they look at you and they’re like “shit, this person is actually giving me some emotions I wasn’t expecting tonight” and they turn and face the stage and are suddenly engaged. 

There are a lot of controversial opinions surrounding whether it’s the audiences job to be quiet and respectful towards the artist, or if it’s the artists responsibility to engage the audience so they’re not distracted. I tend to fall in that category where I think it’s my job to keep them engaged, within reason. Sometimes people are just trashed and its a lost cause. 

TB: During your live shows you tell a lot of stories about the behind the scenes nature of your show, and sometimes I’ve questioned the legitimacy of some of these stories. So I have three that we are going to talk about..

D: *Laughs* okay, go for it!

TB: Was ‘Worth The Wait’ really inspired by a McDonald’s drive thru? 

D: *Laughs* Yes! I definitely tell that story as if I was in the drive thru. The truth of the matter is that I’ve probably thought about when they’ve said “sorry about the wait” at a later date and thought how that pun is hilarious. But when I tell the story I set the scene and tell it as if I’m sitting in the drive thru, waiting for my chicken nuggets. 

TB: Bird Sounds’ was inspired by your girlfriends Magpie impression? 

D: Very true! I should definitely get a recording of it. 

She was backstage with me when I was on tour with Merpire, and Merpire does an incredible Crow impression, so it was hilarious hearing them talking back and forth with these two different impressions.

TB: Your cover of The Monkees ‘Randy Scouse Git’ is an ode to never cutting your hair?

D: That’s more of a joke. I will probably lose my hair one day due to genetics *laughs*. Most of the men and some of the women in my family are bald, so I will probably join them. But I won’t lose my hair to a haircut because I’m genuinely scared of hairdressers. And that’s no offence to any hairdressers, but I feel way too empathetic towards them that if they screwed it up I couldn’t tell them that they did a bad job. That social interaction terrifies me. Like if someone asked me if I liked the haircut and I didn’t, I wouldn’t know how to react. I literally dread that feeling. So that’s how I think I’ve got long hair now. 

TB: With this upcoming run of dates, what is one thought or feeling that you want people to walk away thinking or feeling from the show?

D: I’m aiming more for a quiet, immersive but not fragile experience with the crowd. There’s going to be a lot more piano from me and more one on one moments. 

The point of this tour was for me to play my favourite venues again. And I’m playing my hometown Warnabool at this beautiful theatre for the first time, which I am personally so excited about. I think that’s going to bring up a lot of personal stuff for myself.

I just hope we can get to disengage from the rest of the world for an hour and a half and just connect. 

TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions. You ready?!

D: Sure thing! 

TB: The emoji that best describes my new single ‘Raw Stuff’ is…

D: The rose!

TB: Most mornings I…

D: Make the bed! that’s the first step of the day.

TB: Pineapple on pizza is…

D: A no go! It’s a dessert. Like you wouldn’t put a kiwi fruit on a red pizza? Like, what’s the vibe?

TB: If I could have any superpower it would be to…

D: Meet someone again for the first time 

TB: My pre show routine is…

D: I stretch, warm up and I tend to meditate if I have time and a quiet space. 

Didirri Australian Tour 

Thursday 16 April – Lansdowne, Sydney

Friday 17 April – Small Ballroom, Newcastle

Friday 24 April – Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool

Sunday 26 April – Howler, Melbourne 

Thursday 30 April – The Foundry, Brisbane

Friday 1 May – Kingscliff Hotel, Kingscliff