By GENEVIEVE THORPE
Jess Tyler is yet to finish her Bachelor of Music, but the ambitious 21 year-old has already emerged on the music industry scene with her debut EP Self Love Club.
The third-year Monash University student describes the creative process behind creating music as "therapeutic".
She divulges her trials and tribulations encountered while navigating young adulthood during the 26-minute album, touching on themes that range from lust, to frustration, to self-love and confidence.
Tyler describes herself as a self-managed, emerging singer and songwriter, who has meticulously planned every detail of Self Love Club down to the merchandise, album artwork and, of course, the music.
“In all of my spare moments I’ve been doing business stuff like contacting venues, sending stuff out to radio shows, whilst also organising the bands and rehearsals,” Tyler said.
Self Love Club invites you to bathe in a collection of sweet harmonies comprising of Tyler’s vocals and background singers Georgia Bancroft and Isadora Lauritz.
The album cover depicts Tyler bare and floating in a vibrant turquoise bath, mirroring Tyler’s vulnerability and self-love.
“To really love yourself, you need to get to your rawest form and understanding who you are when the layers aren’t there,” she said.
Flowers and slices of orange float around Tyler in the bath, perhaps alluding to the track ‘Sour’, a song of self-liberation from a lover stuck in their ways.
“Traditionally, I should have released a single first, and that was the original plan, to release ‘Sour’ as a single.”
Tyler set a July deadline for the single and following EP, but once July arrived, she had a change of heart and released the EP in its entirety.
“I’m such a perfectionist, but I think I like the fact that I just released the EP.”
The bright turquoise hue of the artwork is far from what the singer would typically go for.
“I’d usually go for black and white but I just thought, self love isn’t black and white,” Tyler said.
“It has so many colours. It needs to have colour and it needs to have brightness.”
Tyler’s debut project features seven jazz-pop tracks, all written in collaboration with her six bandmates, friends and classmates who volunteered their time.
Tyler said the contribution made by her friends made the EP even more special.
“I love this project because it was so collaborative, and I was so open to other peoples’ opinions and perspectives,” she said.
The EP delves deeper than sexual confidence as the title may suggest, and Tyler asserts her unwavering appreciation for herself.
“The EP is all about love, whether that be with a parent, or a friend, or with a partner or ex-partner, there’s a real notion of ‘love’ and remembering that you can put yourself first,” she said.
Tyler’s decision on the title came last, and seemingly by coincidence, when she realised a tattoo on her forearm already served as the perfect title.
“I got the tattoo because I love the idea of self-love. I’ve always been really confident as a woman,” Tyler said.
“I got it as a reminder to treat myself kindly.”
When searching for a title, Tyler realised the solution had been there all along.
“I looked down at the tattoo and went ‘Oh!’,” she said.
The project has been a long-time-coming for Tyler, who said music was the only career path she had envisioned for herself.
“I’ve been performing since I was 14, whether that be busking or performing in school competitions,” Tyler said.
“I remember approaching the end of year 12 and everyone asking me, 'What are you going to apply for?’ and I remember the only thing I wanted to apply for was music.”
The EP begins with an infectious earworm hook on ‘Precious Daddy Issues’, where Tyler echoes she is ‘waiting for a prince that will never come, ‘cause daddy really hurt my mum’.
“[That hook] is such a fun line,” Tyler said.
She said the song divulged her expectations for men in her life, informed by her parents’ divorce.
“I always found there were little things that would occur in my relationship with my partner, or with men in my life, that came from what happened with my parents,” she said.
“It also kind of impacts the expectations that I have for men, because I don’t want to settle and have a bad marriage.”
Tyler’s fusion of harmonies paired with an upbeat tempo transform what may seem to be a forlorn tale into an infectious chorus.
The sound of her album was inspired by US pop superstar Ariana Grande’s layered vocal arrangements.
Above everything, Tyler said orchestrating the harmonies was the most gratifying part of the composition process.
“Some of the tunes have up to five layers. It’s so fun to see how my brain can come up with alternative melodies,” Tyler said.
“I’d love to see if my next [project] could be with just my voice.”
Also gratifying has been the warm reception from listeners.
“I’ve received a lot of love, which has definitely made it positive,” she said.
“My mum’s blaring my CD in the car. Every time she pulls up the driveway I can hear it.”
“[Rainbow Serpent] is very self-love based, and I feel like my project would fit in there."
She plans to keep up the momentum by releasing more music in the near future.
Jess Tyler will next perform at The Gasometer Hotel on Sunday August 18. Doors open at 7pm with support acts Tahnee Ollerton and 'Scout'. Tickets are available here.
Self Love Club is available to stream on all streaming platforms and for purchase on iTunes.