When Rachael Fahim won the Australian country music competition Toyota Star Maker in 2017, she joined an illustrious group of previous winners that includes Keith Urban and Lee Kernaghan. “The amount of exposure you get is insane—I definitely noticed a pickup in my career,” she tells Apple Music. Though she only released her debut single, “Say It,” two years earlier, Fahim has spent much of her life singing and writing music, even if her earliest efforts didn’t quite get the response she wanted. “I wrote a song about my sister playing cricket once,” she says. “Terrible song. She laughed at me.” Things have improved considerably, as the modern country-pop of Fahim’s latest EP, Iconic, attests. Here she provides a track-by-track breakdown. Brake Lights “I’d just gone through a breakup, and I was absolutely devastated. And because I like to listen to sad songs when I’m sad, I was looking up songs to listen to and stumbled on ‘Brake Lights’ on [songwriter] Emily Weisband’s SoundCloud. I reached out to her and was like, ‘I would love to cut the song if you’re cool with that.’ I just felt such a huge connection to it. I felt like I had written it. It was word for word how I was feeling.” Best I Never Had “I’m a huge lyrics person, and with this song I just really felt it. With all the songs on the EP, I made sure I could really sing them and relate to them well. This was written by Emily Weisband, Will Weatherly, and Jennifer Schott. I just liked the imagery.” Iconic “It’s so cheeky. This song was so fun to sing; I felt like I was full of sass. And it goes down really well live. It’s a different kind of song, but I think people can have a lot of fun singing along to it.” Crush “I wrote this one in Melbourne with MSquared—Michael Paynter and Michael Delorenzis. We just wanted to write a fun anthem, something for summer that, if we’re doing a festival, people can sing along to.” Even If I Wanted To (feat. Brad Cox) “Originally the song wasn’t a duet; we made it into one just ’cause we thought it would be fun to do a song with another Aussie artist who was killing it right now. It’s about loving someone so much that you just physically and emotionally can’t move on from them. And you see them with someone else and it’s like, well, they’ve moved on, why can’t I? You can’t move on, even if you wanted to.” Homewrecker “Emily wrote this one with Jordan Reynolds and Devin Dawson. It’s one of those beautiful ballads and it just blew me away. Instant connection. And I think that’s so important when you are singing songs written by other people. This song reminds me of a brand-new relationship and being so hesitant and so reserved because you don’t want to get hurt. And I feel like that’s super relatable.” What I Don’t Know “When this came out, a lot of people were like, ‘Oh, you’re doing pop now?’ No, I’m still country, but I like the pop vibe. That one was really fun. It was a very edgy kind of song for me. It is a bit nerve-racking when you’re experimenting and trying out different things, but so far I’m feeling really positive about the reactions I’m getting.”

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