The Interview: Esther Hunter
Author: Justin Grome
Clonefluence got the chance to link up with Gold Coast singer, songwriter, and producer, Esther Hunter.
• Where are you from? Have your surroundings shaped you in a creative sense, and in what way?
I was born in the country Victoria (Australia) but raised mostly in the waterside town of Redcliffe, Queensland. Growing up I felt a pull towards rolling hills and animals so much, but that was because the family and friends we left behind were there. I am much more of a city-goer now that I have cultivated a sense of love and community all around the world. The way my surroundings could have influenced my creativity would be the nostalgia associated with a longing to live somewhere else.
• What’s your background like? Where do you stand on the music scene in your area?
My entire family are musicians and I started learning the piano at 5 years old! As a child, I always preferred the classical repertoire. Children often groove along to music with an upbeat feel, but I was incredibly serious and far too depressed to find joy in bopping along to groovy music. Due to not having a single fun bone in my body for years, I studied music quite hard. Nowadays I will play anything and love it all! I have taught piano and singing for many years, and have a real sweet spot for 80’s pop music. I perform solo as much as possible around the Gold Coast and Brisbane areas.
• What did you start doing first, producing or singing? How did you get started?
I began singing very early due to watching my mother sing in church every week. Being around musicians results in aural skills being developed quite young, and I found myself able to mimic many vocal styles to a convincing degree. Having piano skills often resulted in being stuck accompanying other singers, though! I had such a passion for singing on stage, but since that is far more common than having the musical ability to play any and all repertoire on demand, often without sheet music, I took a back seat on instruments and was rather disgruntled about it. I create my own music and opportunities now and am absolutely loving it.
• Do you have anyone that you consider your mentor? How has their help or advice shaped you?
I have electively been rather lonely in life. I believe everyone’s paths are different, and we should focus on and stay true to our own; primarily comparing ourselves only to who we were yesterday and trying to improve upon that. My mentors and the ‘people’ to whom I owe my direction and passion to are my loving and ever-present spirit guides.
• What is one experience in life that, without it, you wouldn’t be the artist you are today?
Being a teacher. The absolute best way to achieve things for yourself is to help others achieve, and we can do that on many levels. I have taught beginners all the way up to University-level students. The preciousness of how important it is to impart skills, encouragement, support, and positivity is constant no matter who you are helping. The more I tell others to embrace their creativity, be fearlessly unique, disregard social norms regarding how they should organize their professional life, and boldly pursue what sets their hearts on fire, the more I continue to set an example of what it looks and feels like to do that myself!
• What do you hope to accomplish this year?
I am always improving my production techniques. I aim to accomplish more confidence and satisfaction in the quality of the work I put out. Accomplishment is not a static goal in my opinion. I will always strive to beat my personal best regarding songwriting, singing, production, and self-fulfillment in being truly happy that my personal experiences are being transferred through song.
• What does your work aim to say?
Exactly what is on my mind at the time… I love metaphor and poetic language, but at the end of the day, I aim to be relatable. By posting music with a unique and personal message, my aim is to actually make anyone else who has felt or gone through the same thing feel like I am singing directly to them. Hearing a song written about something you thought you were alone in experiencing is incredibly comforting, which means my music may be able to make somebody feel less alone anywhere in the world.
• Who are your biggest influences and what do you like about them the most?
I love many K-pop groups. The songs and production style are instantly ear-catching, and so I listen to K-pop to be inspired by the textures, layering, EQ, chord progressions, and melodies that they utilize in their songs. Anything that I listen to starts to come out in my own compositions, and so I am actually very careful about what I put in my ears.
• How would you describe your own style?
Romantic 80’s pop, and ballads with a motivational twist.
• In what ways has your newest music changed from when you first started?
Putting my vocals forward in the mix. Despite being a confident vocalist, I think there is something about hitting the ‘record’ button that made me feel like anything I put out was not my best singing. I would always rather perform my songs live for an audience and interact with them. This year I decided to give up being embarrassed about my recorded voice and just crank it, and somehow it made me start recording better anyway.
• What are the main inspirations for the lyrics you write?
I love having a muse, so I am either composing heartfelt love songs to a beautiful woman, or inspirational lyrics about positivity and empowerment. Up until this year, the majority of my songs came about as a way to deal with being in the closet. The emotions and passions I felt but could not express in my everyday life were transformed into art through song. The world has changed a lot in the past few years, though, and so have I! Being a woman, and singing about a woman, is so precious to me and I feel lucky to be allowed to share the realness of my thoughts and feelings in music.
• What would be your dream venue in which to perform?
I have not given this any thought. I am happy to perform anywhere with a good sound system. I’ll always represent my country and love Australia, so the Opera House gets my vote!
• What’s a song you have stuck in your head these days?
La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf.
Stream Esther's newest release, "Walked Through My Door" below: