Local Collingwood singer-songwriter Salli Edwards may draw you in with her rueful orchestration and the sweetness of her folk-pop, but she grips you in the depths of her lyricism.
The thoughtful temper of her songwriting comes as little surprise from the former journalist, as does the fitting subject matter. In her new single ‘Apartments’, Edwards tackles one of the pre-eminent issues in Melburnians’ lives: rampant construction-led gentrification, and the impossibility of balancing characterful nostalgia with incessant economic growth.
“Everywhere I looked, there seemed to be an endless number of new apartment buildings going up,” Edwards says. “It felt like we were quickly losing the historic charm and character of the neighbourhood at the expense of these new buildings.”
Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.
Whether reporting on crime or politics, Edwards never shied from pervasive issues during her career. A citizen of the world for many years, the Filipino-Australian songwriter was born in Tokyo and has lived in Canberra, Manila, Milan and San Francisco and has seen her share of neighbourhoods changing.
‘Apartments’ is Edwards’ first single since her 2020 Revolving Doors album, which was recorded entirely during lockdown in Melbourne, and continues to provide her with rich musical inspiration: “I can’t help but feel / All around us is changing fast / A million apartments / Nothing ever seems to last / At all… /What happened to the corner store? / Have we sold our soul / To people offshore?”
Her journalistic roots evident, Edwards remains diplomatic to the end. But there’s a substance behind the indie style that makes her an intriguing Melbourne artist to watch.
“It felt a bit surreal as the entire city was in lockdown, with businesses and shops being closed, yet construction was continuing at an unfettered rate,” Edwards continues. “It made me wonder where our priorities were.
“Development is important and is a sign of progress and growth. I just think it needs to be done in a way that is respectful of the surrounding environment.”
‘Apartments’ is available on all music streaming platforms. For more information, visit her website here.