This month we met the lovely Holly Rankin a.k.a. JACK RIVER, south coast NSW based Singer/Songwriter. She chats with us about her latest album, her industry and what's been keeping her grounded albeit with a sense of urgency.
Holly also took our Gloria Skivvy to a garden shoot for the launch of "We are the Youth", and we reckon it's a perfect pairing.
Firstly, congrats on “Stranger Heart” being nomm’d for best Pop Album or EP at the @ausindies Award a few weeks back!! Must be super proud!!
Thank you! Its always awesome to have work recognised by the industry like that
You played at the Sydney Opera house amongst some very special people between lockdowns a few months back – can you give me some insight as a performer what magic happens during a performance like this in a location unlike no other:
This show was like no other – considering the huge social movements of 2020, and with our intention to do something really special at my first ever Opera House headline show – we came up with the concept to involve leading voices in culture in the show, instead of me speaking between songs. We invited Grace Tame, Brooke Boney and Kirli Saunders to present a piece of poetry or thought – and boy did they bring it! These three women made the show into something extremely palpable, emotional and thought provoking. Budjerah also joined me for a song, and played in between my set. He is just incredible. A lot of work was put into the show by Creative Director Clare Downes and I to ensure that the set flowed, made sense and left room for the audience to experience the speakers without feeling overwhelmed. There was a huge amount of work put in by my Manager, my band, the crew, the set design crew (Laura at Fred) and the Opera House team to ensure everything was perfect. I am so thankul for the opportunity to bring all these pieces together.
Your industry has taken a battering since Covid struck. As we speak, we are experiencing yet another lockdown. Over the past year you decided to take a leap of faith and start studying alongside writing.
How have you found the solitary nature of study during this time and how has this affected your music writing:
I have really enjoyed the solitary nature of studying, and feeding my brain and spirit with foreign information and (pretty much) a the foreign language that is legal jargon. As we all have, the constant news cycle of 2020 left me feeling overwhelmed and helpless. I also felt overwhelmed by the waves of unsolicited opinion flying around the internet. I felt like I needed to learn so much more before feeling like I believed my own opinion on a number of topics.
Spending time deep in books, void of the traffic of social opinion has been exactly what I was craving. Knowing that you don’t know something and its going to take a while to learn it, is very grounding for the 2021 brain.
Oh and how has it influenced music??! I think it’s informed the depth of consideration that I apply to my career and also my lyrics – every word must count for something.
How does living in Yuin country on the Sth Coast NSW influence you. How does it differ from inner city immersion?
I love being outside of the city. I love being able to walk on the beach without anyone around, swim alone and drive 5 mins to the shops and be done with it! But probably the most amazing thing is the close community we have here, there are sooo many young people here who are connected, supportive and have eachothers backs, especially young Mums!
When I go to the city now, I have a clearer idea of what I want from it, who I want to meet, where I want to go and why I am going there. I like to bash out work, have a grand time, and then retreat back to the country and dive into uninterrupted work and rest.
A self confessed “Planet Kid”, you are an incredibly dedicated and passionate supporter of so many important issues affecting us right now ie #schoolstrikeforclimate #uluru statement , emerging industries, Women’s empowerment to name a few. Your choice to use your skill set to focus attention on these issues seems to come naturally to you – can you tell us why?
Since I was very young I have felt a sense of urgency about the time we are living in, and I have had equal interest in social change and music. For me they have always gone hand in hand, and as my platform grows I feel it my duty to share information, to make connections and to learn as much as possible about advancing these extremely important fronts of change in our country (and beyond).
When you’re not writing music what do you like to listen to? We’d love to know what you are listening to currently.
I listen to Rufus a lot when I am running, Artists like Angie McMahon and Annie Hamilton when I am writing/working), Debussy when I am writing essays (literally can only listen to this when I am studying ha), but mostly a big old revolving playlist of 60s/70’s/90s music! Honestly it changes every day.
We LOVE your laid back style with flashes of sequins and sparkles and your distinct Aussie rock vibe
.. tell us how you create your look and where you find your gems and what things you consider when putting together your fit…
When I started making music as Jack River I thought of her style as some kind of starry, earthly wanderer from space. In between earth and stars was the brief I think. I was super obsessed with all things sequins and sparkles. I collaborated frequently with my good friend Lisa from Lenni, and we designed a bunch of outfits that I would wear over and over again. I bought a bunch of vintage stuff, and some pretty wasteful sparkly things along the way. Though in the mean time, my values supposedly sat firmly in the reduction of waste in fashion, and lowering use of plastics etc.. So in the past year, my team and I have tried to re-think what the next chapter of Jack River looks like. Hence, wearing Dead Pretty. It is extremely important to me to invest my time and image into wearing brands that are shifting their supply chains, fabrics and wasteage to be as sustainable and ethical as they possibly can. So thanks for all you do, and I feel very excited to get to wear Dead Pretty in these Jack River shoots, and in the real world~!