Ainslie Wills

Melbourne, VIC  |  2023

We weren’t sure what to expect on the drive down to meet Ainslie at Hello Daydreamer Studio. I knew some of her tracks — vulnerable, heartfelt, ebbing and flowing between powerful and soft, all the while natural; emotional. Genuine experiences in graceful song. Yet sometimes the feeling of a studio – a workspace – gives an uncomfortable formality to the process of creating, and I wondered how to navigate that.

But as the city shrunk behind and we rolled through the quiet countryside, up the gravel roads alongside friendly gumtrees, we were delighted to find the studio as welcoming as a warm homestay in the hills. We were greeted by two happy, shaggy pups keen on pats, and Ainslie and Brett with open arms like two old friends long separated. The studio space danced the line between professional recording space and comfortable guesthouse, and my worries of formality clashing with creativity faded.

Our observations and quiet enjoyment of Ainslie’s beautiful work became alive before us when, during the first take of Celebrate, Ainslie’s voice quivered in the second verse and overcome with emotion, she sang through tears. It was this moment that I understood the quiet power she was channelling, and the realness of what we were here to capture. This was genuine, from the heart, and that meant a lot. The feeling of comparison between an incredible live performance reverberating around the room, versus the streaming service and earbuds doing no justice to a verse on the daily commute – is apt by an order of magnitude.

And so after filming, on leaving with smiles and hugs, trundling down the gravel road, Riah and I were moved. Proud to have worked with Ainslie Wills and Hello Daydreamer Studio.