It was back in August that we first heard of Douzey, a Melbourne-based artist crafting dynamic tunes with a message. Her first single Ophelia was named for Shakespeare’s character in Hamlet, the singer successfully placing a modern spin on the 400-year old story.
To find out more about Ophelia and where Douzey is headed next, we caught up for a chat.
After dropping her debut single Ophelia, travelling, and gigging around Australia, what’s coming next for Melbourne’s Douzey?
HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What have you been up to lately?
DOUZEY: Hi, yeah good good good. Things have been hectic, I have been gigging in Brisbane and Gold Coast and travelled through Europe in the middle of the year, a lot of this wasn’t even booked that far in advance just on a whim. But now I’m settled and hoping to release my first EP before the end of the year.
HAPPY: It’s been over a month since Ophelia was released… how are you feeling about it now that it’s been out for a while?
DOUZEY: I was really happy with how it went, I thought that maybe ten friends would listen to it and my parents then I would continue on my merry way. But I had a few industry people listen and comment, and when I headed into work a lot of my work friends told me that they had listened and said they loved it, which was really lovely.
HAPPY: Could you tell us a little about the story behind the song?
DOUZEY: My first release Ophelia is about the character Ophelia in the story of Hamlet by Shakespeare. I have studied a lot of literature in the past and did a show with the Australian Shakespeare Theatre Company so I’ve read a fair few of the plays. Ophelia’s story is often portrayed as a sort of weak, too feminine, crazed character and Hamlet treats her like crap throughout the play. I’ve kind of flipped her flower speech, which stereotypically is depicted in a feminine and sorrowful way by production companies, but I’ve interpreted it differently. It’s Ophelia declaring she knows what she is doing and she has agency in her actions.
I want to write songs in a way that if you know the story, it can click in people’s minds and they can connect with the song but also give enough context to people who may not know the play to understand the vibe of the story or character (and hey, maybe encourage them to check it out). I’ve also managed to weave my own anxieties into the track as well, I definitely relate to Ophelia about not having complete control, and the idea that I’ve got this whole phantom pain thing happening in my life constantly.
HAPPY: We understand you’ve had to overcome some physical issues following an accident in 2014… what’s it been like overcoming this to release new music?
DOUZEY: So I have chronic migraine and phantom pain syndrome from a whiplash incident in 2014. I am really numb on the left side of my body and it has good days and bad days. But music has been very helpful in a way that I never acknowledged until recently, often I would lock myself in a room for hours to write, create and rehearse and it would make me forget about the constant pain that I’m experiencing. It was really frustrating in the first year because doctors and people in general can’t see the issue and it brought on a lot of anxiety. I don’t really let it hold me back these days and concentrating on projects and goals gets me determined and distracts me.
HAPPY: You’ve been gigging around for a few years now… how do you feel your sound has changed in that time?
DOUZEY: It hasn’t been too long since I’ve started gigging. The songs that I’m releasing first are very band sounding songs with a heavy focus on live instrumentation, with hints of the electronic elements. In the future, and as I learn more about it, I’d like to start bringing all my electric sounds onto the stage and build into more of a show rather than me sitting in the corner with a guitar.
HAPPY: Are there any particular artists that have significantly influenced you?
DOUZEY: I am a big fan of the do-it-all-yourself ladies like Grimes and M.I.A.. I grew up obsessed with a lot of mainstream girls like The Veronicas, Paramore and Lily Allen (whose first album was the first album I ever bought with my own money). These days I am really into R&B and alternative genres like Janelle Monae, Kehlani and Nai Palm. The list could go on and on though I feel like I’m missing out a lot of my influences. I would love the opportunities to write or perform with all of these women.
HAPPY: You used to be a cheerleader, right? Do you think this has influenced your music in any way?
DOUZEY: No. Cheerleading music is horrible, I don’t recommend it unless you’re actually watching a cheerleading routine with it. It’s tacky, it’s lame, but it is good for its purpose of being performed with routines.
My songs at the moment that I am releasing on this first EP are very indie/rock based and are mainly about storytelling. But I do have a lot of other songs that are in the works that I’ve written and thought to myself, ‘oh this would be rad for a bit in a cheer routine’.
HAPPY: What else can we expect from Douzey going forward? Any new music in the works?
DOUZEY: Heaps, and heaps. At the moment I am releasing things that are small projects that I can complete by myself or with small amounts of help from others. But I hope to grow everything to a larger scale, including my support network. I’m a writer primarily and I would really love to write for an array of genres including for stages and for screens.
Douzey’s debut single Ophelia is out now.