Introducing Carmen. Carmen Pepper is a songwriter based in Mandurah, a coastal town south of Perth. I first met her years ago, playing a small bar gig somewhere. Honestly can’t remember where it was, it was really that long ago, but I do remember Carmen was also on that night, playing a set with her brother Sean. I can recall just two other things from seeing her play. First she was tiny (she would have still been in high school then) and the stage seemed monstrous around her. The second was that her voice was startlingly good, in an understated sort of way.
Fast forward (?) years and we stumble into contact again over the triple j unearthed site. By this time I was well into writing this record and knew that I wanted female vocals on a few of the songs. A good friend of mine, another talented singer, Petrina Barrett, had since moved away and I needed to find a voice that would fill the breach. I had listened a lot to Carmen’s music online and was drawn by the stark quality of her voice – beautiful but haunting in the way that Sarah Blasko might be – and how it so completely lacked pretension, similar to the pared-back voice of someone like Carole King (I found out later that Carmen, like me, had spent her childhood listening to parents’ records of King and James Taylor). I decided she was the perfect fit for the record. I sent her an email and thankfully, for me, she agreed to do it.