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Melbourne singer-songwriter HOWQUA has followed up his brand new single ‘Her’ with a stunning, black and white clip that celebrates the many women in his life. Tomatrax caught up with HOWQUA to ask a few questions.

Where did the name HOWQUA come from?
My grandparents had a holiday house on the Howqua River just out of Mansfield in Victoria. When I was growing I would go camping there with family and friends. It was a beautiful place where I have a lot of great memories. We just called it “Howqua” and when I was coming up with a name for this I wanted something that meant a lot to me and that was unique. I felt like it ticked the boxes.

What made you decide to use an alias rather than your name?
Although my lyrics are quite personal to my story, the thought of these songs being open for people to connect their own journey with is important to me. I felt by having a alias it was less about me and more about the core of the songs.

What was the inspiration behind naming your debut EP Naked?
When I first started working on these songs I decided that I was going to drop my guard and just let the songs write themselves. I avoided playing it safe when expressing myself and felt as if I was barring a lot of my soul, which was super scary. The name “Naked” just seemed to sum up that feeling of “this is who I am in my rawest form”.

What make you pick ‘Her’ as the EP’s single?
“Her” is quite different to the other tracks on the EP. The first track and video release was for ‘My Mindset’ which is a more intense track. I wanted to share a softer and more lighthearted side of what I do. ‘Her’ seemed like the right track to share that.

You’ve said that ‘Her’ was initially inspired by your little sister, how did your little sister react when she heard ‘her’?
Yeah it was originally inspired by my little sister and then became a song about all the amazing female souls in my life. When she heard that she kicked off the inspiration she was pretty damn chuffed and maybe a little tear.

What made you decide to do the video clip for ‘Her’ in black and white?
The video was a way to capture the great females in my life being themselves. I asked a bunch of the ladies that meant the most to me to come down, invite other females important to them in their lives and just be themselves. When filmmaker Leigh Cooke proposed we release this in black and white it seemed as if it really helped express the feeling I had envisioned. So it was a no brainer.

Your lyrics are quite personal, is it hard to put so much of yourself on show?
From the get go with ‘My Mindset’, I promised myself that I wouldn’t hold back with my lyrics. It was super hard initially and incredibly scary but I feel because I set the bar higher from the beginning and put myself in the deep end, it had become more comfortable and easier.

You’ve been on your debut headline tour around Australia, how has that been going?
It’s been great. It’s awesome to see people all across the country coming down to shows and connecting with the tunes. I’ve had some great new experiences, had support from some top notch acts and met some delightful people. So all round it’s been fun!

What can fans expect from your show?
For this tour it is solo and stripped back. Therefore it’s been a lot more intimate than the band shows. I think it’s pretty honest and raw what I do. I don’t really have any tricks up my sleeve, I just tell it how I see it.

Do you ever listen to your own music?
Throughout the recording process I had to hear my songs soooo many times it drove me crazy. Occasionally someone puts on my EP when I’m in the room and I go all awkward-face and usually leave the room. But that’s really the only time I hear it.

What music do you listen to?
Recently I’ve been listening to local artist Kagu and I really like UK artist Lapsley.

What do you plan on doing after your upcoming tour?
Later in the year I will be heading over to North America to play some shows which should be a bunch of fun.

HOWQUA is currently touring Australia. Check out HOWQUA’s website to find out more!

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