Written by Julie Dickson
Greta Stanley is an indie artist who hails from Far North Queensland. Sun in My Eyes is her second EP. Produced by Mark Myers, it’s a coming of age lyrical journey set against an electronic indie folk backdrop.
Her debut EP Bedroom City (2015) and LP Full Grown (2017) have both received critical acclaim and millions of streams. In 2018, she was the sixth most played artist on triple j Unearthed and the winner of the Billy Thorp Scholarship at the Queensland Music Awards. Greta’s established herself as an artist to watch.
Sun In My Eyes follows the journey from youth to adulthood. It tackles the themes of anxiety, depression, and heartache. All six tracks complement each other, both lyrically and instrumentally. The soft electronic indie folk, which is the backdrop for each song, provides a steady and coherent flow throughout.
‘Kick’ is a standout song, and was the first single released off of the EP. The soft instrumental backing allows Greta’s elevated vocals to take centre stage. On dealing with depression, the repetitive bridge of ‘And don’t worry I’ll be fine / I’ll get up and get on with it’ is a mantra of Greta telling herself she’ll be okay, there is a light. She just needs to ride out the darkness for a little while.
‘Follow Suit’ is another single off of the EP. It has a strong focus on anxiety and has a slight synth-rock undertone. This song is about the all too common internal battle of wanting to feel something different and move forward but, at the same time, it’s about being afraid of the unknown and afraid of change. The chorus ‘Oh I wish I had it all figured out / Sure know why I’ve got my doubts’ illustrates the anxiety of being stuck in limbo.
As the final song on the EP, ’Morning Light’ ends on a hopeful note. The acoustic guitar and soft electronic beat is sparse, allowing a strong focus on Greta’s ethereal Bon Iver-like vocals. Here, she reflects on the end of a relationship and how it’s natural for things to come to an end. In the lyric ‘Time passes by like cars spilling out in the morning light’, Greta muses that time goes on, things get easier, and there’s light ahead.
Greta delivers emotive vocals set against soft instrumentals. Her voice is mesmerising and her lyrics are raw and honest. Sun In My Eyes is an LP everyone should listen to.
INTERVIEW WITH GRETA STANLEY
1. What inspired you to create this EP? How did you decide between creating an EP over an LP? How did you come up with the title?
I chose an EP because it would be out quicker, and I knew I’d be able to do an album at a later date—I wanted to try a different direction and not commit to a whole album for that.
The title came from just something I love feeling every morning—the sunrise, and the feeling of being brought back to earth despite whatever was sinking its teeth in the night or weeks previous. I like the feeling of the sun on my skin, and a brand-new day being born. You can be stuck in terrible headspaces for weeks and feel like you’re in the dark—so when that moment comes that you feel the light creep back in, it’s special.
2. Who are your musical influences?
When I was a kid, I listened to a lot of Dixie Chicks, Missy Higgins, Norah Jones, Bob Dylan, and Anastasia! I guess now it changes all the time with so much good music being released. I’d say my regulars are Kings of Leon, Jamie T, Daughter, and Soko. I never ever get sick of those artists, everything they do is great. I could list about fifty more, but they’re the top!
3. I love how your EP is about the transition from youth to adulthood. What’s a common misconception you think people have about this journey?
I think as a kid you look at adults and think they’ve got it together, or you long to grow up—be a teenager, have the freedom that you think comes with it. As an adult, I can say I definitely don’t have it all figured out. There’s moments of freedom, of course, but there’s a lot of stuff you learn growing up that you kinda start to envy kids who are just oblivious and full of wonder and imagination! And I often miss being a kid and the freedom that you take for granted but, in saying that, growing up is awesome despite all the hard, tricky stuff. It’s a nice feeling to like who you’re becoming, and to eat cereal for dinner with no one to tell you that’s not okay.
4. I admire how you’re exploring anxiety and depression in your music as I think it’s important to raise awareness and talk about mental health. Was it challenging to explore these themes? Was it cathartic? Or both?
It’s easier to express in song or art than it is in day to day conversation. It’s still nerve-racking putting that part of yourself out there in the world, but all of my favourite artists and songs have been incredibly honest and show vulnerability. Life’s all about connections and connecting. And when people find that in my music, it’s the most special, magic feeling because I know what it’s like when music does that for me.
5. What was your songwriting process like for this EP? Were any songs particularly harder to write than others? Do the lyrics or the music come first?
It changes all the time, usually lyrics are first, but there were a few where I was just playing around on the guitar and then lyrics were inspired from that. Some needed longer, as there were little parts I wasn’t 100% happy with lyrically, and I’d say ‘Pour’ took the biggest turn in the studio compared to any of the others.
6. What’s your advice for emerging songwriters? Or just artists in general?
Just keep at it. It’s a hard industry and at times unpredictable, but if you work hard and control all the things that you have power of, you’ll give yourself the best shot at success. It takes time! Patience is key, and cliché as it is—be true to yourself, you’ll exhaust yourself trying to be anybody else. And growth comes when you get out of your comfort zone.