There is an age-old tradition of the front-person from a band going solo, reinventing themselves and the musical direction of their band when (or if) they return. For Nai Palm, the lead singer of Melbourne-based jazz-soul group Hiatus Kaiyote, going solo for her recent LP Needle Paw was so much more than just creative departure or experimentation.
Instantly recognisable for her vocal acrobatics and non-linear style of songwriting, which has seemingly spawned an entire genre of Melbourne soul, including artists like 30/70 and Jordan Rakei, Nai Palm has always lead Hiatus Kaiyote with an unpredictable force. Over the thirteen tracks of Needle Paw, adorned with just guitar and voice, Nai Palm takes the listener on an intimate journey into her songwriting process, musical tastes, and ultimately envelops them in the emotive strength of her voice. Diarisitic yet political, the record is bookended by two ceremonial songs from Aboriginal performer Jason Guwanbal Gurruwiwi, evoking a rich history of indigenous Australian music that goes beyond language and into land and earth itself.
We caught up with Nai Palm following her recent show at London’s KOKO to talk about the liberation of performing solo, the need for indigenous representation, and the voice as tied to deeper understandings of the self.
Read the interview in Clash Magazine.
[This piece was published on 20/11/17]