For many years as a journalist, Salli Edwards wrote about newsworthy subjects: crime, politics, celebrities. Now, she is writing – and singing – from closer to her own heart. But don’t expect the same old songs about heartbreak and relationships. “I like songs that peel the layers and approach them from different tangents, as you would a news story. Like a song about a breakup doesn’t have to be the usual ‘I’m so heartbroken’ angle. It’s like taking a snapshot of a situation and writing from there."
The Filipino-Australian songwriter was born in Tokyo, Japan and lived in Canberra, Manila, San Francisco and Milan before finally settling in Melbourne. She counts among her musical influences Aimee Mann, Liz Phair, Stevie Nicks, Suzanne Vega, Neil Young, Mazzy Star, Sharon van Etten and Beth Orton. Her music channels the diversity of her influences, even delving into '80s pop, '90s grunge, electronica and jazz. In San Francisco, she played with folk-inspired duo High Drama and in Canberra with the jazz-influenced band Beautiful Lucy’s Room before embarking on a solo career.
“I've moved around and lived in many different places, but music has been the one constant thing in my life. While my songs are quite personal, I also like them to be universal so that other people can relate to them. It means a lot to me when people say how much they could relate to my songs, how the lyrics reflected how they were feeling.”
In 2020, she recorded and released her debut album 'Revolving Doors' while in lockdown. It features the pandemic-inspired single 'Traces.' As described by Beat Magazine, the "genre-spanning" album is a "melting pot of her inspirations, exploring everything from '90s alt rock on the Liz Phair-steeped opener, 'Falling Deep into the Sea', to the trip hop feel of 'Damage' and the buoyant 'Anticipation.'”
“I often feel stumped when people ask me what kind of music I do. Because all of my different influences come out in my music, that makes it really hard to define. But I guess that also makes it unique. I don't really like to pigeonhole myself as just focusing on one genre or style.”
These diverse musical influences and her varied cultural connections provide the perfect backdrop for the profound storytelling of her lyrics - based on her own life experiences and observations of life. Her song 'Apartments' which mourns the loss of character in inner city neighbourhoods due to rampant development, made the semi-finals of the 2022 Unsigned Only songwriting competition. The song features in her second album released in 2023 called ‘City Life’.
“The things you experience in the city are unique because of the dynamics of city life, such as how you feel about your surroundings or how relationships start and end,” says Edwards, such as in the tracks ‘Euclid’, ‘Toronado’ and ‘Hello Again.’ Like her debut album ‘Revolving Doors’ the new album is a blend of different genres, ranging from alternative rock to folk pop and even jazz, but with an edgier sound replete with gritty and shimmering guitars as can be heard on the single ‘Stars and Snowflakes.’ The album also includes a timely tribute to the late Burt Bacharach, whom Edwards counts among her diverse musical influences.
These diverse musical influences and her varied cultural connections provide the perfect backdrop for the profound storytelling of her lyrics - based on her own life experiences and observations of life.
“Many of the songs in this album have been written over many years, in many different parts of the world. They are pages ripped from my journal, an amalgamation of life experiences and things I have observed and read about, or imagined.”
Her second album 'City Life' was released in June 2023 and explores human experiences from the perspective of living in the city. It features the song 'Apartments' which made the semi-finals of the Unsigned Only international songwriting competition.