Hiatus Kaiyote’s Nai Palm: ‘Last year I lost a breast and then my bird. But loss isn’t new to me’



For most people on the planet, 2020 was a year spent stuck indoors. During that period Naomi Saalfield, AKA Nai Palm, lead singer of the Australian band Hiatus Kaiyote, had one room in particular on her mind: a childhood bedroom that used to glow red for an hour every sunset. It has become the subject of a standout track, Red Room, on their latest, third album, Mood Valiant, and it is a song that has taken on new meaning. “It’s become an anthem celebrating us all being in our rooms in the context of the pandemic,” Saalfield says. “It’s a perfect example of how music veins its way in and lives different lives with different people.”


Speaking over a video call from her home in Melbourne, her shock of blond hair bursting through the darkness of the room, Saalfield stoically recounts how the global pandemic was just the latest development in several years of bad news: namely, a breast cancer diagnosis, mastectomy and the death of her beloved rescue bird, Charlie.


Read the feature in the Guardian.


[This piece was published on 29/05/21]