tunesday – a few things you should know about deryk
There’s a magical quality to the New Zealand artist’s melancholic pop.
Our friends across the Tasman have a solid track record for introducing us to captivating pop artists, and deryk – real name Madeline Bradley – is no exception. She's only just released her five-track EP Womb, but we're already hankering to hear more. The 23-year-old makes slow-burning songs full of tension, angst, and heartache. They're tunes best enjoyed with headphones firmly over your earholes, but before you get to that, find out what makes her tick below.
She’s been compared to Lorde (but that isn’t phasing her right now). I forget about the reception. I think I’m just really relieved and happy that the songs are out there, because I wrote them a year ago now. And it took me a long time to even get to the stage where I was creating things I felt like I should share. Before, I was like, “No one needs to hear this.”
Her musical name is in homage to her grandfather. You know when you’re just obsessed with a grandparent? My granddad was so supportive of anything I did and loved my music from day one. He would encourage me so much, so when he passed away, I felt like the best thing I could do was name my musical project after him.
A rude boyfriend motivated her to concentrate on her music. I started writing songs when I was around 12, but I started making music with intention when I was 19. I had a boyfriend that was a musician, who was pretty narcissistic and rude. By the time that fizzled out, I thought, “If he can do it, I can do it better.” I’d been supporting him for such a long time and helping him with his writing, but I’d gotten nowhere with my music. I realised I needed to dive in and do it for myself so I moved to Auckland and did an audio engineering certificate for six months.
Creative control is important to her. I didn’t do the audio engineering course to be a producer, but because I needed to learn the jargon and programs, and wanted a bird’s-eye view of how everything worked so I could make the right decisions for myself. Ultimately, I noticed that if I hadn’t done that, I would have experienced prejudice as a female down the track. It allowed me to stand up for myself because I knew what was what. I could be like “I don’t care what they think.” Whereas, if I hadn’t done the course, I might have thought, “Well, maybe they’re right about this,” which is a sad thing.
She writes the lyrics last. I never go in thinking “I want to write a song about this” because I’ve noticed that when I do that, it’s not very good. Once the chord progression is set, I feel comfortable to start improvising where the melody could go and that’s my favourite part. I love lyricism, but it’s often the last part.
She’s a big Avril Lavigne fan. I loved that she wasn't gender specific. I thought that was so dope that I made my parents call me Ryan for about eight months. I loved her music and her whole vibe, too, and the fact that she didn’t care.