Q&A with Ziggy Alberts

Ziggy Alberts, one of Australia’s leading independent artists is finding his way through the maze of the multitude of musicians. Alberts who was born and bred in the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, emphasises a sense of urgency in his music by way of prioritising climate change and the ever-growing divide between different groups of people. Coincidentally he created his own label, Commonfolk Records, together with his family. A decision he made to have full control on releases and to take the path less travelled by. After four albums that were met with success, Alberts is gearing up for the release of his fifth album ‘Searching for Freedom’.

Where does your music stem from?
Sometimes, your emotions just pour out and this is the natural outcome; other times, I like to intentionally address key concerns in terms of relationships, which is a very human thing. The things that influence me the most are my personal reflections, and commentary on the events of my life and the world around me – the lessons I‘ve been learning along the way.

What was the biggest factor in deciding to start your own record label ‘Commonfolk Records’?
Being able to have full control on releases, work with family, and take the path less travelled. Shoutout to my amazing team and all the incredible independent artists who helped inspire this decision! I couldn‘t be happier for having done so.

How do you feel now that Australia’s music scene is returning to some sort of normalcy whilst the rest of the world is going back into respective lockdowns?
I would actually say the Australian music scene isn‘t returning back to a normal state – far from it. Shows, legal requirements and border closures are changing daily. It is chaos for musicians. The Australian music scene is a huge provider of jobs and contributes massively to our economy: like the arts sector in so many countries, there has been very little support for our industry and that is one of the many changes I would like to see.

How did lockdown and the pandemic change you as an artist and as a human being?
It made me realise what is truly my core values and showed me the same of others. It has made me sharper in my thinking and in how I articulate myself.

What is the message you are trying to portray?
Love over fear. One love. For every cliche it is – we are all connected.

The released tracks from your upcoming album ‘searching for freedom’ creates an atmosphere of complete acceptance and love whilst still tackling some important questions. You sing about “letting the news tear each other apart” and that “fear is making money”. How did these statements make it into the album?
I think they’ve never been more relevant – like I said, my songs are often a reflection of what is happening in the world. I wrote several songs for the album whilst recording it so many of the themes are relevant to 2020, this year and beyond.

Do you often disconnect from our rapid content exchange world? And how do you try to see the truth between all the lies spread on social media?
Absolutely. From time to time, I find a phone free week is a total physical and mental reset – I highly recommend it. As truth is important to me, I try to find out what the intentions are of said person/company. Is there any financial conflict of interest in why they are pushing what they are? What grasps my attention is if someone is challenging the mainstream media and risking their careers to do so. That is when there is no financial/social gain to be noticed. I always tend to listen carefully to them. Often those are the people who’ve got nothing to gain but telling the truth because they care.

Is there anything you would like to change in the world if you could?
I’m not sure. I think if I could change something, it would be for big corporations, mainstream media and government to be more transparent, as more often than not they aren’t.

Your latest music video ‘heartbeat’ had a beautiful romantic tale that worked perfectly alongside the music. How important is the story setting for your music videos to you?
It is paramount – ‘heartbeat’ was a real breakthrough for us as a team, because I feel like that the music video carries the song in incredible ways. It has added depth to the story of the lyrics like a video never has before!

How did you become interested in being a musician?
My parents bought me a guitar as a finishing school present. I was 16 years old, and at that time, I was already writing for my personal blog and for surfing magazines – I started writing songs at the same time as learning guitar, which turned out to be a very natural extension of my expressive creative interests as a whole. Thanks Mum and Dad!

Written by: Lauren Dehollogne // Photo credit: Shelley Kimber

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