It’s not often an artist makes their debut 10 years into their career. And Sally Seltmann, the Melbourne-born ‘artist formerly known as’ New Buffalo, has had a prolific decade, releasing a swag of albums and EPs.
But her newest record, the lush pop masterpiece Heart That’s Pounding, is the first time she’s peeked out from behind her odd stage moniker and released music under her own name.
“My label in America suggested it, and I’d been thinking about it for a while so I was happy to do it. As they pointed out, New Buffalo is actually a small town in Michigan, so it was a getting a bit confusing,” Seltmann told Sydney Star Observer.
The decision was also partly made because of Seltmann’s recent success as a songwriter — she wrote American singer Feist’s song 1234, garnering several Grammy nominations and a US and UK hit in the process.
“That gave me more confidence as a songwriter and a musician. I think I naturally have quite a bit of self-doubt. I felt I’d achieved a bit with my work as New Buffalo, but then the success of 1234 was so much bigger that it definitely boosted me a bit.”
The song’s success also encouraged Seltmann to try her hand writing for other artists — something she admits has proven difficult, given she’s so attached to her songs.
“I thought maybe I could try writing songs for other people. I sat down specifically thinking I wanted to write a song for Cyndi Lauper, and I wrote [current single] On the Borderline. I loved it too much so I ended up keeping it for myself,” she chuckled.
Borderline is but one gorgeous love song on an album brimming with them.
Seltmann (who’s married to Avalanches member Darren Seltmann) gave birth in 2008 and said her experience as a new mother had some influence on the record’s optimistic sound.
“We did a lot of the work on the album when I was in the middle of my pregnancy and feeling really amazing. I think that’s why the album’s so uplifting and ‘pop’, compared to my others.”
Classic pop references abound on the record, from the cascading girl group melodies of anthemic opener Harmony To My Heartbeat to the Motown stomp of Dream About Changing.
“I started listening to a lot of classic radio in the kitchen while I was cooking, and listening to the sort of songs they play in the background at the supermarket, and you can hardly hear them because the radio’s so bad, but you know them instantly because the melody’s so strong.
“I’ve always loved those timeless, slightly cheesy songs.”
info: Heart That’s Pounding (Shock Records) is out now. Seltmann will tour Australia in July. Dates to be announced.