Melbourne’s answer to Lana Del Rey, Gena Rose Bruce, is a new talent to watch. A smoky yet smooth voice with strong country tones smashed together with quirky synth and choice guitar riffs, Gena Rose Bruce’s sound is uplifting and different, which is exactly what the music scene needs.
BYO: Your latest single, ‘Coming Down’, was released in May. Tell us a bit about the song, what inspired it and how you feel about its release?
GENA: I wrote ‘Coming Down’ about a year ago and it was just kind of about a time in my life when I was feeling a bit reckless and a little bit lost; I think the song is a little bit about owning that behaviour and making the most out of being a bit all over the place in life and having fun with it. I recorded it with Kim Harvey, who also recorded my first single ‘The Way You Make Me Love’. I didn’t really have a clear vision of what I wanted it to sound like when I was writing it. I wanted to make it not so cliché; it could’ve been quite a country song if we had recorded it in a certain way. We wanted to add synths and a bit of weird instrumental parts so it wasn’t a typical country song.
BYO: Is country one of your main influences?
GENA: Yeah, it definitely gets in there without me knowing; I just tend to write country songs. I’m not a country girl or anything so I don’t really know where it comes from. Probably just listening to my parent’s music! But there is definitely a country element to my writing.
BYO: Talk us through your song writing process; what goes into writing a Gena Rose song?
GENA: It’s very different each time. Particularly for ‘Coming Down’ and more this album that I’ve recorded, I kind of just wrote them all within a month. I went down to my parent’s beach house, and I was like ‘I’m just going to write, write, write.’ That was very intense, I don’t usually do that, but I was very disciplined! I sat down for 6 hours a day just writing.
I get inspired by listening to other music, reading books; that’s where I feel the main inspiration from. It’s more about getting the motivation to sit down and do it.
BYO: Do you collaborate with others when writing and/or recording?
GENA: It’s very solo when it comes to the lyrics, but within the structure its collaborative. The team who produced it with me, we went through and rearranged some things and music parts were co-written together. That was really cool.
BYO: How did you form your band?
GENA: Just friends really! I was never really friends with them before, I always just know who they were, and I just kind of approached them and now we’re really good friends. I had just always known them around the music scene, it’s a bit of a small world.
BYO: Do you prefer the recording or performing process?
GENA: It just depends on the day. At the moment I just want to play live, it’s really fun for me and I’m more into just wanting to perform at the moment rather than write!
BYO: Throughout your career, you’ve already performed at some awesome festivals and worked with some great producers. What have been some of your favourite experiences and collaborations so far?
GENA: I did a really fun side project last year with Henry Wagons; we created a kind of synth band. Very different to what either he or I generally make when we do our solo projects! So that was really fun and a really cool project. I also went on tour with Ella Hooper, I think it was two years ago, and that was just amazing. Going through country Australia through all the little towns and getting that real experience of a tour; it was probably the biggest tour I’d been on.
BYO: How did you know you wanted to pursue music professionally?
GENA: I think it’s just always kind of been there as something I’d needed to do; I can’t really explain it. It’s one of those things like most creative people, I had no choice. This is what I’m doing and I have to own it. But taking it seriously started probably when I finished school. I was just thinking ‘I really want to do this, how do I make this happen?’ and yeah, I’m pursuing that!
BYO: Favourite childhood CD or song?
GENA: Hmm, that’s a good question; there are so many! Without sounding too cliché, I think every Beatles album is inspiring in all different ways! Just their song writing, it’s incredible. Even now I’m inspired just listening to them again and again for the hundredth time. I can’t choose which album, that’s too difficult!
BYO: Is there a favourite song, or is that too hard to choose!
GENA: I think way too hard!
BYO: What are your plans for the future and the upcoming album?
GENA: Hopefully next year, but we will be releasing a new single within the next couple of months!
Gena will be playing a few more Melbourne shows at The Evelyn on August 29 and Old Bar on August 30. Stream her singles on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/gena-bruce/tracks