I’ve always been a sucker for minimalism in music. So when I first heard Hattie Oates’ new single Waste My Time, I was obsessed. Sometimes with music, less is more, especially when the story and lyrics are so eloquently put together that they need to be the focus. The 17 year old songstress took this concept and created a song that is absolutely breathtaking.
Her voice is shaky and soft straight from the beginning, immediately showing how she felt when she sang it. It is impossible to listen and not feel her pain with her. Atmospheric synths and delicate piano support her vocals. Gentle percussion enters in the second verse as her voice grows more emotional.
The song captures the feeling at the end of a relationship where you reflect on how much time you wasted trying to fix something; staying stuck in the past instead of taking the first step into your next chapter. “You are persistent even though there’s distance between our bodies, you’re still close in my mind”, she sings at the end of each chorus, representing how hard it can be to view somebody differently after being with them romantically for so long.
“For me, the most important part of a song is truth. There is something so powerful about
when an artist can draw on real emotions and share it with others. Everyone has had this type of feeling before. Music is about being vulnerable and sharing
personal experiences, while also giving it a context that makes it relatable to others.”
Says Hattie on the song. And Waste My Time does exactly that; capture a moment and a feeling that everybody can relate to.
I was lucky enough to be slotted into Hattie’s busy schedule to ask everything I wanted to know about her and her music.
You’ve just released your new single Waste My Time. What is this song about?
Waste My Time is about that feeling you get when ending a relationship, and the questions that come with it. Did you jump the gun? Was it the right decision? I think it’s something most of us have experienced!
Then, you get to the other side, and see all the time wasted stuck in the past with them, instead of just moving on. While it’s quite a vulnerable and emotional ballad, it’s also incredibly liberating
I really love the stripped back production! What were some songs/ artists that inspired this?
This song was a very personal one to write, and at the time I wasn’t really thinking about where the inspiration was coming from. I was solely concentrating on my own experiences, and putting it down on paper to help process it all.
But now on reflection, I was definitely drawing inspo from artists like Adele and Dean Lewis through their incredible story telling. It’s funny how it comes to a point where you don’t even realise how influential certain artists are in your work!
I really love the honesty behind the lyrics! Was it difficult to write something this vulnerable and release it to the world?
I didn’t initially write the song thinking it would be published. That’s probably why it took me so long between finishing the song and the release of it!
I needed the time to keep it personal before I could detach from it and allow others the freedom of interpretation.
What are the top 3 albums that shaped your taste and sound musically?
I feel like I would answer this question differently every week! But at the moment, the three timeless albums would be ‘Frank’ by Amy Winehouse, ‘Fine Line’ by Harry Styles and ‘Future Nostalgia’ by Dua Lipa.
What is your songwriting process like? Lyrics first, concept first, music first or something different?
I used to be a ‘music first’ person, but lately I have been letting myself just go with my gut; trying to honor my thoughts and ideas as they come. The more I write the easier it becomes, so I’m definitely trying to get into some kind of routine.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Just to name a few:
Although the music industry is slowly coming back to normalcy, what were the positive and negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on you and your career?
Of course, COVID-19 has had some big impacts on the music industry. Every gig I book is always uncertain because the situation is changing all the time.
In saying that though, there are positives that have come out of the pandemic. Personally, I have had more time to write and reflect, which has really developed my confidence in creating original work.
Plus, we have the online platforms available to us today. That has definitely opened up a whole new world for musicians with online events/concerts and maximising social media.
I’m definitely looking forward to the day that we can book gigs with confidence that everyone can stand, dance and enjoy every time.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt since you started releasing music?
When first beginning to release music, I got stuck in this mindset that the songs I was writing needed to sound a certain way. This kind of stopped my writing altogether. I was never happy with anything I’d come up with and lost my sound as an artist as well.
The most important thing I have learnt now is to write for myself. In doing that I’m creating something honest and authentic, which resonantes stronger with listeners, too.
Who are some of your favourite local artists right now?
The Aussie music scene is insane! There are so many awesome artists and bands, some of my faves are G-Flip, Lime Cordiale, MAY-A and Spacey Jane.
And finally, what can we expect next from Hattie Oates?
As soon as I can, I will be getting back into the studio! I’m so excited to record some of the new songs I have been writing…. So definitely more to come!
Waste My Time is available now on all streaming platforms.
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With thanks to POPCOM