Asta: It's important girls feel like they can be who they want without the pressure of looking or sounding a certain way
Asta Evelyn Binnie-Ireland was born in a tiny town in Tasmania called Cygnet which last reported a population of 839 people. In 2015, Asta told the Sydney Morning Herald that she grew up in a "small hippie country town", where she was either painting in the nude or parading around in elaborate costumes. Her passion for art, performance and costumes never faded, and at 17 Asta won triple j's Unearthed High competition. From there, the indie-pop artist went on to support Ellie Goulding on her Australian tour in 2016. Today, at 22, Asta is preparing to headline her own Australian tour, after releasing a funky tune called Shine late last year. The tour of the same name kicks off in February, along with her debut EP. Despite being a regular on the festival circuit as well as the aforementioned support slot for Ellie Goulding, and five years in the spotlight, Asta has only released a handful of singles. (A track that particularly stands out is a ballad called Wild Emotion - make sure you listen to the acoustic version. Scroll down for the video). Her fans are understandably pining for a solid collection of songs, and if Shine is anything to go by, the new EP will have been worth the wait. Asta feels as though she’s finally found her sound. “Having been discovered in high school by triple j, I had to do some living before I had enough to say for a debut EP. I think I've scrubbed enough dishes, eaten enough tofu and broken a few hearts now to deserve a party."
Asta sat down with Music Love to talk about her tour and EP, and what it was like to follow Ellie Goulding around Australia.
What does music mean to you?
To me, music means freedom. It’s like my soul is on fire when I’m in it. I can’t fake it. It’s powerful stuff.
Who are your favourite Australian women in music?
Meg Mac, SIA, Tkay, Alex Hope (producer). These women are fly as hell and are killing it here and overseas.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far about the music industry?
I’ve learnt to take the good with the bad and not to worry or feel frustrated, just do my own thing. The mould of a pop star is forever changing, so it’s important girls feel like they can be who they want without the pressure of looking or sounding a certain way. I care about the music and that’s all that’s important to me, and also clothes. Very important.
Tell us about your new song Shine and your favourite lyric from this song
This would have to be my favourite song so far really. It’s full of funk and little hooks here and there. I worked with [producer] Yeo who has become a really great friend of mine and also an amazing artist called Aurelia. I think my favourite phrase would have to be ‘We are lovers from another place, and you can’t take our stars away’.
What are you most looking forward to about this Shine tour?
Seeing my fans and showing them my new songs! It really is the best part of this whole thing. Performing is something so magic and intense for me.
Can you tell us about the costume/make-up/theming inspiration for this upcoming tour?
Gold… glitter... I guess you’ll have to come and see the rest!
How do you look after your voice?
I don’t go out, drink or smoke. I stay well hydrated and do my usual vocal warm ups. Sleep is the big one!
What is your wildest musical dream?
To perform at Coachella
Touring with Ellie Goulding must have been the most enviable position for any aspiring pop/dance/electro artist. Tell us about any moments from that time.
It was an amazing experience for me. For such a huge female pop icon to ask a little Australian lady [to be] the main support was really flattering. I was able to meet her at the after party but she seemed pretty tired as you would be after doing sixty shows!! Seeing her play hit after hit was mind blowing. So many bangers!
What is your favourite place in Australia?
My mum’s back yard in Tassie
Favourite Australian café?
Any hipster café that does filter coffees. There’s a great place in Tassie on the main road in Moonah that’s just opened called ‘Shake A Leg’.
Who is your favourite Australian non-musical artist?
Chelsea Badger (Little K) is an amazing photographer.
Asta's EP is out 17 February
Visit www.astaworld.com.au for more details about everything!