Rising music star BLAKE has released a new empowering anthem that is beautifully vulnerable and equally powerful titled You Don’t Decide. Style talked to BLAKE about the song, her favourite spots in Queenstown, living in the UK and her plans for a potential tour later this year. Interview Hannah Brown
Thanks so much! It feels really good, I wrote this song almost two years ago so to finally be able to release it is rather liberating! I gauge how much I like a song that I've written by the longevity of it in my own mind, and this is a song I have kept coming back to since I first wrote it.
I wrote this song during the first year of the pandemic when I was living in London, I was feeling pretty lonely having been cooped up for so many months meant I was being frivolous as to who I was directing my energy towards. I had finally hit a wall with a particular person I was seeing at the time and this song was one of those ones that almost wrote itself because the feelings I had were so strong.
I wrote the first verse, pre-chorus and chorus in the bedroom of my South London flat. It wasn’t until I moved to Auckland at the start of this year, I reached out to Ben Malone to see if he would be interested in producing the song for me. He introduced the idea of having a bridge/breakdown section and we pretty much smashed out all of the recording and production of the song in the space of a week!
You Don’t Decide is about creating healthy boundaries in terms of how you allow others to treat you and having the strength to stop making allowances or excuses for people. Realisation of self-worth!
It’s important to share as I think a lot of us have been in situations that we now look back and regret and perhaps in the moment weren’t entirely true to ourselves. It’s about learning from these mistakes and building a level of integrity with ourselves as to what we stand for and how we let others treat us. Nobody is perfect but sometimes lines can be crossed and it’s up to us as to whether we make a stand or continue enabling such behaviour.
For my writing I find inspiration in a lot of the day-to-day experiences that we all go through. I like to sometimes pick apart seemingly insignificant moments and dig deeper into the psychology of why we feel the things we feel and behave the way we do. Vocally I feel really inspired by artists that convey authentic emotion through their writing and vocals, Amy Winehouse will most likely always be my favourite singer/artist for this reason.
Working with Ben was truly delightful. He is exceptional at what he does and has a great ear for detail. All round just very professional and was very receptive to my ideas and helped elevate the song to a level I couldn’t have achieved on my own.
When I first went to the UK, I was very passionate about drum and bass and ended up doing a lot of vocal work for producers in this genre. I had some cool experiences from this including being nominated for an award and performing at the YouTube headquarters in London. I’m grateful for this time as I was able to continue to develop my skills as a writer and gain invaluable industry experience. I also worked for a label called AWAL as a Release Coordinator which gave me great insight and knowledge into the industry as a whole.
Provisions Arrowtown for brunch and coffee is always a very homely spot for me, especially in the summer months when it’s warm and you can sit in the garden. I love going for walks in Arrowtown around the river and parking up at The Tap in the evening for a beer and pizza with friends and family. Wet Jacket Winery is also one of the best spots in summer for a wine or cocktail!
I’m currently looking at organising a tour towards the end of August/early September and also start working on material for my next project! I will be going to London for a trip at some point too to reconnect with friends and maybe even do a show over there.