INTERVIEW: Jessica Mauboy

Jessica Mauboy wants you to know that she’s pressed reboot on everything you thought you knew about her artistry. Taking time to self-evaluate and grow over the past two years, the iconic Australian musician has stepped into a confident lane of positivity and light ahead of what is promised to be her biggest and most personal Australian tour to date. 

Returning with the vibrant single ‘Glow’, she teamed up with Cosmo’s Midnight and George Maple to redefine her sound with a pulsating disco meets RNB moment. From the opening lines of “Welcome to my future. Reality’s a rumour. Player One, this is my game”, she paints this imagery of stepping into the confidence she’s found through adulthood. She takes charge and walks you through the growth she’s experienced, and asks the people around her to not hold her back while she’s in-bloom. And it’s honestly the message that we all need to take on in our own personal lives.

I recently chatted to Jessica Mauboy about the journey of growth, self-discovery and reclamation that fuelled the important foundations behind this next chapter, explored the empowering lyrics behind ‘Glow’, and discussed how her upcoming ‘The Boss Lady Tour’ is her most hands-on touring experience yet. Check it out BELOW; 

THOMAS BLEACH: The last two years have been a whirlwind for everyone, but for you especially it’s laid down the foundations for a whole new beginning.

JESSICA MAUBOY: It sure has! It’s been a really good two years for me artistically. It’s almost been a reboot, which has been really nice. I feel like that is something that has happened with every individual during this time as we all have our own unique story of the last two years. But I feel like mine has been a unique musical formation. 

TB: Last time we talked I said that ‘Hilda’ felt like a return to your debut album ‘Been Waiting’, but I would say you went even further there on ‘Glow’ and reinterpreted who you want to be as an artist with this distinct confidence shining through. It really felt like a reboot.

JM: It really is opening a new perspective, not only musically but also in a business sense too. I’ve always focused on music and shied away from the business, and was genuinely afraid to take it on. When you’ve been in a routine where people have taken it on and taken care of things for you, it’s hard to get out of that cycle. But then you realise that you can take it on, and that it really is all about trial and error. You just need to give it a go. The more that you want something, the more that you change and elevate. It was all about bringing my musical and personal lives together and rebooting it, and now that I have a base I can blast off. 

TB: Are there parallels for you with that first era and where you’ve found yourself now opening this new chapter? 

JM: Yes! Oh my gosh, ‘Been Waiting’ has all of those rhythmic beats and sounds. ‘Been Waiting’ and ‘Running Back’ were truly in their own vulnerable space, and people could take away their own unique feelings and experience within the songs. And in ‘Glow’ there is a similar spirit that they both have and share. It really is a celebration. 

TB: The lyric I love the most on this track is “Let me be the one that I need to be to grow”. What is your favourite lyric, or the one you think really soothes your soul?

JM: I keep going back to the spoken word part in the post-chorus that goes “Your light, don’t forget it” and “Divine light, glow, let it”. There is this space in it which I truly just love. Some of the most iconic songs from artists like Prince, Madonna, Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson have space within them to engage and sing-talk. Taylor Swift actually does it a lot too, actually. It feels like a conversation, and it feels present, and like you are there with them. 

In that particular moment, those are some really bold and euphoric words that take you into a depth of believing in yourself. It’s like a mantra. I feel like these words put together tells someone that they are great and they are good enough, and they need to keep going. 

TB: What I loved most about this song was that it not only felt like thematically the older sister sequel to ‘Been Waiting’ but it also felt like the bridge from ‘Hilda’ and this next chapter for you. 

JM: I love that you say that! The technique of listening is such an important part of how we think and operate. I didn’t really know where I was going with this, but deep down I think I knew exactly where I was going with this. And I think that came from a lyric and storytelling place and this edge of wanting to keep going and not give up on music. 

When you say “the bridge” it really gives me a clarity on how I’ve been able to do that. It’s always been in me. But you worry about your art and how people perceive it and what they will take away, but for me it was hopeful. That bridging was always going to be hopeful and I’m so glad it’s come across. 

TB: You are hitting the road in 2022 for ‘The Boss Lady Tour’. What is the most surprising thing people may not know or expect about this tour?

JM: When I think of all of the other shows I’ve done, this is a show I’m literally pulling together with my own management team, my sound engineer, my band, stage riggers, and my stage manager. We are literally all coming together, and I’ve never actually put on my own tour in that sense before. I’ve never operated things in that capacity and having to say yes or no to things, and being aware of how to stay within the budget. There are so many in-depth conversations and disagreements that are happening, which I have never really had the opportunity to do before. 

I’ve been afraid to take the reins in the past, but now I’m certain that this is exactly what I’m going to do. It’s been such a wonderful growth experience to do that. And it’s also why I called it ‘The Boss Lady Tour’ as I was taking on these priorities, possibilities and hopes.

‘Glow’ is out now!

The Boss Lady Australian Tour

Wednesday 30 March – Canberra Theatre, Canberra

Friday 1 April – Newcastle Civic Theatre, Newcastle 

Saturday 2 April – The Star Events Centre, Sydney

Tuesday 5 April – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane 

Thursday 7 April – Perth Concert Hall, Perth

Saturday 9 April – Festival Theatre, Adelaide 

Wednesday 13 April – Hamer Hall, Melbourne 

Saturday 16 April – The Star, Gold Coast 

For all ticketing details, visit HERE