It’s summer in Australia, and as Bares puts it, summer in the southern hemisphere is “complicated, it’s dangerous, it’s judgemental.” The last two have been rough for her, the season being pretty complicated of late. Just when she thought the 2019 bushfire which struck Sydney’s south coast would be the worst thing for a while, the 2020 pandemic arrived a sheer disaster. And 2021 is no exception. Everyone knows it sits squarely between trauma and recovery. Growing up summer for the singer meant school holidays, beach trips, and Christmas presents, now it’s mostly just solitude—and strawberries.
Born Ella Sterland, Bares set foot on the music scene in 2017 with “Over the Ocean”. After releasing her debut self-titled EP, her momentum officially got kick-started when 2018’s “Montage” landed a Netflix sync deal for the TV reality series Terrace House. With a couple of singles, a collaboration with Newcastle producer Amos Wellings (aka Skyepaint), and an EP gracefully delivered at the height of lockdown last year, the budding indie pop songwriter has never looked back since. The latest? A song that tells of trepidation about the weather getting warm again and coming to terms with one’s imperfections and vulnerability.
“Fruit”, released December 1, is about “my experience of panic as the weather begins to get warm again,” Bares explains, adding that it is likewise an “effort to center myself with the gratefulness that seasonal fruits are on sale.” What sounds very simple a theme the Melbourne artist has incorporated in the track doesn’t carry just rather mundane sensibilities, it evokes the feeling of yearning amidst unease. Candidly crafted alongside collaborator Renee Stein and bandmate Jazure, some late-night Zoom sessions were had to bring forth “Fruit”.
The track sees Bares returning to her indie soul roots. Fusing R&B and chamber pop nuances she offers a lush, cozy, and serene sound, wonderfully made spacious enough for the reflective lyrics to pervade. “I’m not waiting for the sun / and I don’t wanna bring you down,” Ella opens, setting a mood that hints of a desire that is yet unfulfilled. It’s “a stand-alone single to finish up another disappointing lock-downed year,” she says of the single. “‘Fruit’ is the glamourous panic attack to soundtrack your summer anxiety.” And that just hits home.
It’s totally natural to feel anxious about 2021 ending in a week’s time and to feel somewhat discontented realizing how unwisely or unproductively you may have spent it. The gist, though, is that while this negativity seems to outweigh all the good that’s happened throughout the year, at the end of the day it’s still far from taking over your life. So claim it: You got this. You did well. You are enough. In this exclusive interview with Bares, she shares the inspiration behind her new song “Fruit”, explains her mononym, and tells us about her musical influences and future plans.
Can you tell me more about yourself and the story behind the name “Bares”?
“Bares” is a play on the notion of someone who “bares all” and wears their vulnerability on their sleeve, as well as the bear-like strength that comes from that kind of vulnerability.
Congratulations on your latest release! Can you share with us the inspiration and story behind the song “Fruit”? What message do you wish to tell your audience?
It was inspired by the looming dread I feel at the beginning of summer, which comes from a combination of stress as the end of the year approaches, wildfire PTSD, and self-image insecurity.
I would love listeners to feel validated in not feeling ecstatic about the summer months, and that hopefully they can find gratitude in the little things.
I really love the line “I’m glad we don’t get too far before we wanna turn it around.” It’s like a realization that also resembles a mental health mantra that gets repeated in the song. Is there a deeper meaning behind these lyrics?
The summer-induced panic I feel in summer is fortunately short-lived, and this lyric is in reference to the relief that I don’t feel completely debilitated by summer panic for a long period. I’m so glad that I can eventually come to enjoy the elements of summer.
I would love listeners to feel validated in not feeling ecstatic about the summer months, and that hopefully they can find gratitude in the little things.Bares
Can you describe what the “Fruit” is in the song?
“Fruit” is mostly the copious strawberries I eat over summer, but also fruits of the labor that can often surface at the end of the year. But mostly strawberries.
How does ”Fruit” differ from your previous releases?
The production of this song is rooted more deeply into soul/pop compared to the other tracks, and who doesn’t love a HSM-esque modulation at the end?
Who are your musical heroes and which records of them have influenced your artistry?
Ariana Grande is an ongoing inspiration for me, her Sweetner album with Pharell Williams is incredible. I also love the songwriting in the Carole King record Tapestry.
Are there artists you’d love to collaborate with in the future?
It would be a dream to work with Lorde and Jack Antonoff, Maggie Rogers is also someone I would love to write with.
‘Fruit’ is mostly the copious strawberries I eat over summer, but also fruits of the labor that can often surface at the end of the year. But mostly strawberries.Bares
With two EPs and several singles now under your belt, what’s next for Bares?
I definitely want to release a full-length album next, and create a few music videos, hopefully that’s in store for 2022!
Stream “Fruit” below and be sure to keep a lookout on Bares.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Sam is a mediocre artist, musician, and the founder and editor in chief of UNXIGNED. He is a Juris Doctor who leads an excitingly boring life in the confines of his room juggling studies with passion and dreams. He is terrible at finding balance but gets by anyhow. He wants you to follow his artist pages and channels for when he decides to up his game. Pretty open for collabs and will mix your would-be hit song for cheap.