Interviewed by Jasmine Uitermark-Thaung
What's the most important aspect of your music?
Personally for me the most important aspect of my music are the lyrics I write. They are always the starting point for a song and are my main focus in not only building an instrumental but how it extends itself to a targeted audience. I want to write songs that depict the struggle and joy I have with my identity as KOPANO juxtaposed to my every day life as Jemma Bradford and channel that into something people find relatable as a source of security within themselves like I feel when I am KOPANO.
What's one track that constantly inspires you?
St Jude by Florence + The Machine: she is an artist that radiates power anthems and is so sublime in her music and persona you forget she is real human being. But this minimalistic track off her third album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, connects back to the surface of who she is and shows her in a genuine state of vulnerability that I think takes a lot of courage for an artist of such magnitude to reveal. This track (especially her lyric “Maybe I’ve always been more comfortable in chaos”) spoke to me in a time where I couldn’t make much sense of myself and taught me that there is something pure and powerful in an artist letting their guard down. Lyrically the track touches me and makes me feel calm.
You represent an important part of the PC music culture in Perth, do you ever feel as a female in that scene you've been drawn to the hyper sexualisation that seems to be the existing style? How do you view honing and owning this sexualisation versus having it be expected of you? When do you feel like it's your choice?
I believe an artist both male and female can determine how they are sexualised by external forces therefore it is important to find role models in music that use their sexualisation as a way of empowerment. It was definitely something I thought about a lot when I began KOPANO yet now in this stage of my identity I feel that it is not entirely necessary. It is always my choice as I have the ability through the people I work with and how I conduct myself to alter the definition of ‘sexy’ into beauty that is natural and organic that liberates female identity.
Gigs like the 'Gals Who Are Killin' It' series bring female identifying artists to the forefront of the music scene, do you feel there's an issue with how a lot of promoters book mainly male acts?
Whenever I am contacted to do Gals Who Are Killin’ It I literally rejoice and it is one of the shows I am most proud to be apart of. There is a lot of girl power bubbling beneath the surface of Perth’s music scene -recently for myself I listened to Bells Rapids and Hussy…deep down I do feel like there is an issue but luckily we have people like Maggie who notice our activity and organises events like this for us. But it shouldn’t even be a question of ‘who is going to do this’ it should already be something that naturally filters into line ups!! My conclusion is to be supportive of each other as female artists, creatives, promoters and organisers than ever before because it forms a web of security within our community and begins a conversation that I believe is starting here in Perth for women of our music industry.
You've had a bunch of really great collabs with Perth artists like Gryff and Hindley but as we know collabs can go wrong especially amongst friends. What are your top tips to make sure artists don't ever get ripped off whilst recording and releasing a collab?
I am lucky and very fortunate to have worked with two amazing artists like Gryff and Hindley. It is sad when collaborations go wrong I remember making music before KOPANO with a producer in America that went pear shaped and really dented my self esteem and creative flow for an ongoing period of time, it also nearly jeopardized how I felt working with males which was saved by my collaborations with Gryff and Hindley. My tips for artists working together is to firstly make sure that you are certain you want to work with this person, never compare and contrast who has done more or less - contribution is contribution, communication is key every step of the way and make sure you both have sorted out your fair share of profit on release and maintain that throughout the song’s success/existence; it is easy to undervalue someone in a collaboration because they are your friend. It’s important to remember that they are trying to get to the same destination as you so give them the credit and respect that comes in the process with the result too. Right now I feel like I am happy to take a step back working on collaborations and instead work on myself- starting with recording my album, which I plan to release in 2018.