Rhys Tolhurst: Traitor – a set of emotions that is “unique yet relatable”

Home » Rhys Tolhurst: Traitor – a set of emotions that is “unique yet relatable”

Hailing from Cairns in far North Queensland, Rhys is an up and coming Singer/Songwriter who has come a long way from his jazz inspired covers he brought to us early on when he first came to the nation’s attention.   Relocating to Melbourne where he has been based for the last three years, the importance of family and friends keeps his vists back home regular.   He’s been using that time to craft his songwriting and production skills, Rhys has a rather eclectic range of influences such as Matt Corby, Bon Iver, Angus & Julia Stone & John Mayer that shape his unique Indie sound style.

So what has changed since his last single ‘Being Together’?

“When I wrote Being Together, I was very young.  I think I was 17 or 18.  It didn’t get produced until I was 21 and even then I felt my direction had changed but I still wanted to get it out.  I like to think that whatever I sing over time will still sound like me, but my sound has massively changed direction and I’ve got many more songs and stories to share over the next couple of months.”

The definition of Indie music has evolved over the years from describing a particular sound of music, interchangeably used to describe alternative rock, obscure bands, the style of dress, to the appearance of artists.   The debate on its overuse as a genre may be unsettled, but when stripped back down to its core, it seems the artists and bands maintain independent status from mainstream recording labels with an interesting in keeping their sound and lyrics authentic. 

“I have been struggling to find the right team around me ever since I was 17, and the biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s so much better when I’m doing a lot of it myself.  I like to write and semi-produce my songs first before asking for help.  I have found this way to be much more productive.”  says Rhys.  “I’m like many artists where I have hard drives full of songs and I have been listening to other people’s opinions for way too long and taking them all to heart.  This has resulted in not releasing anything, so I’m super relieved that I have a fresh mindset and that is basically to release almost everything I am happy with and leave the opinions for until the songs are released.”

The new track takes a universal hurt everyone can relate to and somehow keeps it in a place that doesn’t bring you down melodically by becoming over contemplative. 

“It’s a song about the many emotions experienced over the period of a long term relationship.  I chose the word traitor because it’s unique yet relatable.  I think everyone has experienced a ‘Traitor’ in their lives.  The irony for me is that when my long-term relationship ended, it wasn’t in bad blood.   Nobody cheated, we both got hurt, it was a sudden change of heart and I guess that what I am directly singing about is the ‘Traitor-like feeling I was experiencing when my heart changed direction and it snuck up on us when we were least expecting it.   This song is a massive ‘inception’ [laughs].   I’m trying to sing from her point of view, making me the ‘Traitor’, yet I’m also writing in first person, singing to my heart.

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Written in under 2 hours, Rhys describes ‘Traitor’ as a song about love, loss, betrayal, natural human behaviour and heartbreak.   The song (written by Rhys), is a sonic collaboration between Rhys and “Chi” (Sydney-Based Producer).   This song marks Rhys’ official debut as an artist.

“I can’t wait to get out on the scene to perform my original stuff.  I’ve been making a full-time living off cover gigs since I can remember and it will be such a positive step to start doing festivals & support slots as soon as I can but I’ll wait until I have at least 3 songs out this year before I start.”

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