With a burgeoning canon of songs that embrace and attempt to verbalise her experiences as an empath, Melbourne-based D’Arcy Spiller’s music isn’t just a means of communicating her blues-pop sonic outlook but a way for the singer-songwriter to make sense of the universe as a whole. “I’ve always found music to be a tool that helps me describe feelings and stories that I have a hard time explaining,” she begins. “It’s been a means to talk about my understanding of the spiritual world, which is to an extent a big part of who I am. Sometimes I don’t know who to talk to about some of the incidents that happen and I hope that these songs help others who may be in the same boat.”
Having spent a fairly nomadic childhood moving between various suburbs and cities of Australia, interspersed with a period in New Zealand and a gear-shifting three years in the US, D’Arcy’s youth may have been filled with change but music and the arts had always proved a constant. Taking vocal lessons from the age of six, picking up a guitar a few years later, and beginning to write songs aged 12, she speaks of the lifelong compulsion as something she almost had no choice in; “I think from when I was little I knew this was what I was supposed to do,” she says. “It wasn’t even just wanting to do it, it just felt like that was what was going to happen.”
Alongside her dedication to her craft, from her early teens D’Arcy had also begun to tap into a feeling of hyper awareness to the spiritual and non-physical world around her. Having relocated from small town Smeaton, Victoria to Minneapolis aged 15, the huge change in her surroundings and social life prompted a shift both in her musical ambitions and sensitivity to her intuition.
“Everything changed when I started listening to more rock music and blues; when I was there [in America] I thought right, this is something I could really intertwine into my own stuff,” she explains. “During that move to America a door must have opened, or something must have clicked, because bizarre things were happening and these experiences changed what I wanted to write about and how I wanted to be portrayed as an artist. I never did and still don’t quite understand why it is that how I feel in one moment can be altered in a second when a stranger enters the room. It doesn’t happen often but it can be difficult, and that started informing the tracks I was writing.”
D’Arcy is aware that her experiences are ones that might not be universally understood, but over her past two EPs - 2020’s ‘Little Demons’ and last year’s ‘Disarray’ - and heading into a forthcoming body of work heralded by new single ‘Crave’, she’s prioritising an increasingly honest lean into all facets of her personality. She describes her debut as a reckoning on the past and a way to get a host of “unresolved feelings” finally tied up and put to bed. ‘Disarray’, meanwhile, was born from a solitary lockdown that led the singer down some dark paths of personal exploration.
“I really found that inner secret feelings came out of that time. Being by yourself for so long, you realise things about yourself and I felt like it was really important to put that out there and to be truthful about it,” she says. “It was basically about the shadow self and your darker, deeper desires and darker feelings - going to that place that you wouldn’t generally reach with all the distractions that go on in normal life. It was interesting to tap into that because I don’t think I would have done it if it wasn’t for lockdown. Now I’ve found that what I’m writing about is the want and need for more. It’s like everything came crashing in and I’m at this point where I’m on sensory overload.”
D’Arcy Spiller crashed back into our ears in 2022 with new single ‘Curveball’, the fierce follow up to gentle ballad ‘Milk & Honey’ and rock anthem ‘Crave’. Written and produced alongside Dylan Nash (Dean Lewis, Angus & Julia Stone, Gretta Ray), and Rob Amoruso (Kelly Rowland, Macy Gray, Isabella Manfredi, The Rubens), ‘Curveball’ drips with the venom a woman scorned, D’Arcy’s rough, epic vocals cursing the relationship that inspired her pain.
D’Arcy explains, “I was stupidly listening to my American ex’s podcast with his band, where he mentioned he’d travelled to Australia a while back. His band mates were confused, and I realised some of his closest friends had no idea he'd travelled across the world to see me. That hurt. He decided to avoid that part of his life. He decided to avoid the discussion of me. He threw a curveball I never saw coming."
D’Arcy’s massive single ‘Crave’ made a splash earlier this year, with its striking video premiering on The Music and Women In Pop describing the songstress's music as “earthy, primal, raw and with the ability to connect deeply with your soul”. ‘Crave’ hit the #5 most played track on triple j and earned spots on indie and alternative playlists locally and in the US and Europe, before making its live debut when D’Arcy took to the stage supporting indie-pop darling Jack River in Sydney and Melbourne, and during D’Arcy’s own headline Northcote Social Club show in September.