Paige is one of New Zealand’s most pure rising stars. The talented singer-songwriter has built her fanbase from the humble beginnings behind her YouTube channel where she’d regularly upload covers and VLOG’s. From there she independently released her acoustic debut EP ‘On My Own’ in 2017, before signing with Sony Music New Zealand in 2019.
Beginning this new chapter with the release of ‘Bloom’, she has continually opened up her heart to listeners with a string of vulnerable, honest and relatable singles like ‘Too Much Too H8’, ‘Yellow’, ‘Cold Blooded’ and ‘Waves’. With each of these songs making the track listing to her new EP ‘Always Growing’ which is out TODAY (!!), she aims to bring awareness to the importance of speaking up about our feelings. No one should ever feel ashamed or afraid to admit how they feel, and we all need to help normalise this open communication. And through this EP, Paige is setting the foundations to help pave the way to do just that.
I recently chatted to Paige about what she wants listeners to take away from listening to ‘Always Growing’, explored the raw vulnerability behind ‘Yellow’, and she even dished some behind the scenes details from the ‘Waves’ music video shoot. Check it out BELOW;
THOMAS BLEACH: Your new EP ‘Always Growing’ is out on Friday and it’s a very vulnerable and reflective collection of tracks. So what do you want people to take away from listening to it in full?
P: I think a big thing that I want people to understand from listening to this EP is that the things that you go through that are quite hard, and the mistakes you make, are the things that help you grow into a better version of yourself. For me, I made a lot of mistakes that I’m not proud of, but I learnt from them and actively tried to become a better person from them.
I ultimately want people to relate to the songs and just feel understood.
TB: This EP includes your five recent singles, and it also includes a brand new song called ’Hit And Run’ which is a groovy little moment on it’s own. So do you mind explaining how this track creatively came together in particular?
P: I was in a room with Josh Fountain who also works with BENEE, and I came up with the guitar part for it while I was thinking about the Simpsons game ‘Hit And Run’ *laughs*. So I wanted to sing about an actual hit and run, but he thought that maybe we should make it about a “tap and gap”. It was actually really fun to write a song about that because I haven’t written a fun track like that, and I’m unfortunately not “a tap and a gapper”, but it made me sound like a bad bitch which I was stoked about *laughs*.
TB: The Simpsons ‘Hit And Run’ game was iconic!
P: It really is right! I can’t play Fortnite or any of those hard games, I’m a real Crash Bandicoot kind of gal at heart.
TB: ‘Yellow’ is a song that absolutely captivated me through it’s vivid storyline that addressed mental health, raw heart and relatable emotions. By opening up so honestly, were you afraid or nervous of the transparency you were laying down and how people would react?
P: I wrote this song as a personal expression with no intent to release it. I thought it would just sit on my shelf, but then I decided to put it out, and I was genuinely worried that people were going to think I was a massive attention seeker who just wanted sympathy. To me that’s a natural fear with everything that I express. But I thought it was an important to push past that fear because New Zealand has the highest suicide rate in the world.
I’ve lost people to suicide before, and I’ve dealt with my struggles with mental health, so I realised it would be really important to speak about it and not be afriad to put my perspective out there as more people need to actively talk about it. People are scared to talk directly about it. Like, if you broke a bong you would talk about it, but with mental health they don’t want to because they can’t see it.
TB: The lyrics in ‘Yellow’ hit hard, and in particular it was the line “Did my soul arrive safely? Cause the packaging’s fine but the inside’s breaking”. So what is your favourite lyric from that song?
P: That one, I think! I wrote that song with Josh Fountain as well, and I went in and showed him that lyric which was written in my notes.
I always had this depressed thought in my mind that was like “is there something wrong with me”, because I’m fine, I look fine, everything looks okay. But when I was born I feel like something broke inside of me, or something wasn’t right, and I think that’s why I like that lyric as it’s a really easy way to express that thought.
TB: You posted on Instagram that the song ‘Waves’ is one that took a few years for you to finish. What about it was challenging for you to finish and felt like it needed more time?
P: The production! When I wrote it, I was in my house and playing guitar as that was the only way I knew how to make music at the time. I finished it really quick, but the production part took a lot of time as I didn’t have a lot of money behind me to get a producer to finish it, mix it and master it.
So I took it to my friend that I went to University with, as I did a Bachelor Of Music, and he was like “yeah, we can work on it”. We tried so hard to finish it for a year, but it just wasn’t working because I feel like it needed to sound big and needed a budget *laughs*.
I decided to leave it until the time was right, which then happened after I signed to Sony. But it still took a while, even when I had money behind it, because I wanted it to sound cinematic.
TB: The music video for ‘Waves’ is also out now and it’s a bit of a cinematic affair. So what was one of the funniest or weirdest things that happened during that shoot?
P: There were a few things! I had to do an almost kiss scene with my co-star Lily, and I found it terribly anxiety driven because I’m not an actress. I was going bright red the entire time and the directors were like “you have to stop, we will give you a minute”. It was so embarrassing. I had to do all these exercises and stretch out my body just so I could do it right. It was awful! But it was funny though.
Also, we had to do bumper cars, and I got really bad whiplash doing it! We did it first, so the rest of the shoot I was in so much pain. I had to end up going to see my sister as she’s a chiropractor!
TB: Quarantine was quite heavy in New Zealand and for a lot of people it’s highlighted that personal growth aspect that this EP truly embodies. So what something that this past couple of months has taught you about yourself or your artistry in something you want to work on?
P: Through quarantine I learnt to pay more attention to my body. It was so interesting because we weren’t allowed to go out and see friends, eat takeaway, etc, because nothing was open except for the supermarket and the hospital. So I think a big thing was to pay attention to my health, and to come back to myself and reflect on a lot of stuff.
Artistically I realised I need to take a step back from it because that is all I do. I just write, sing and record, and during lockdown I did none of that. I had all these plans, but I ended up just spending my time on myself and my family, and on paying attention to what I need.
TB: Earlier this month you launched your own podcast series ‘Paige’s Space’ which you’ve created to be able to talk to other creatives and highlight some important topics. So how have you found the transition from doing vlogs previously to doing podcasts now?
P: I really love it! I feel like it’s taught me alot about how to converse with people, which is what I really wanted to do through it. My biggest joy is meeting new people and having conversations about stuff, because I genuinely learn so much through conversations.
So the first season of the podcast was really a practice run to see if it was something I wanted to do, but I really did enjoy it a lot. I’m in the middle of planning the second season, and I’m really excited as I have some really cool people lined up. But it really is so different to anything I’ve done before!
‘Always Growing’ is out now!