Music star: ‘I’m no smelly stoner ... I don’t drink’
Global music sensation Tash Sultana ticks off another goal on an ever-expanding to-do list with the release of their second album Terra Firma this week.
The one-person band, who is non-binary, added saxophone to their arsenal of about 20 instruments as they finished recording Terra Firma last year during the pandemic lockdowns.
Sultana recalls writing a list of goals at high school which included sign a record deal, put an album out and tour the world. And ticked them all off by the time they turned 21.
Fast forward four years and Sultana has generates millions of streams with their songs and performs in front of tens of thousands of bewitched fans around the world, said they approached lockdown with a military-style discipline.
"I think it's quite funny that people have this perception of me to be this like really airy fairy, like smelly stoner hippy, whatever - I mean, at one stage, that was pretty true," Sultana said, laughing.
"In my approach to life and music and anything that I do, the best way to explain it is like a soldier in the military.
"I don't drink, I get my nine hours of sleep and I wake up feeling pumped and start the day on calls and emails, and then exercise for a bit, do a couple of interviews, plan out my studio days and what I'm going to achieve in that time.
"So I always have a plan way prior to things actually happening … and I need to be that way because music for me is one section of what I do as a person, because I've also got a lot of other business ventures that I'm doing at the same time."
While they couldn't tour, Sultana kept fan fires burning by issuing single after single from the new record including the inescapable hit Pretty Lady with its divine COVID dance video, Greed and most recently, Sweet and Dandy.
The acclaimed performer hopes to finally perform the new songs to fans at a couple of sold-out. intimate launch shows in Melbourne next week.
But, as Sultana was reminded during the enforced break from touring after five years on the road - literally as a busker in Melbourne and then on the world's biggest festival stages - plans change.
"I've been rehearsing my arse off these shows and they're for 500 people a night and I'm rehearsing for them like I'm about to get on an arena stage because I'm just so pumped," she said.
"I may not be able to play them, we may have to reassess because of the lockdowns … look, it's happened before and we've got to expect that there's going to be bumps in the road."
Sultana's to-do now also includes important behind-the-scenes roles role as co-founder of the Lonely Lands booking agency and sessions with other artists as a producer and co-writer.
They have released singles with Matt Corby, Milky Chance and Jerome Farah in the past 18 months and is often happiest when switching on the disco ball in the studio and creating something new.
Those moments - and the sold-out sign on gigs - are how Sultana measures success.
"I think the most fulfilling part is just like the physical aspect of things; if I always have projects going on, I feel really stoked," Sultana said.
"I might be doing something for TV or I writing something for a movie, or producing a song for somebody or co-writing or another E.P. or another record.
"That's what I really enjoy, just the creation process, the jam, that's kind of the pinnacle for me.
"That and playing shows, that's where it's at for me. Playing shows is so much more to me than charting."
Terra Firma is out now.
Originally published as Music star: 'I'm no smelly stoner ... I don't drink'