Yours Forever

Yours Forever

Jessica Mauboy regards her fifth studio album, Yours Forever, as a full-circle moment. “I remember the moment that I started writing my first album [2008’s Been Waiting] and the excitement: ‘I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know how people are going to react,’” she tells Apple Music. “That’s how I felt about Yours Forever.” Key to that sense was Mauboy’s decision to branch out and collaborate with songwriters and producers with whom she’d never worked, with the likes of Meg Mac, WILSN, GRAACE, and Nick Littlemore (Empire of the Sun/PNAU) featuring alongside regular collaborators such as P.J. Harding and the production team DNA. “Nick is such an inspiration,” says the proud Kuku Yalanji and Wakaman woman. “He really got me out of my comfort zone, to not feel afraid, to not beat myself down because I’ve gotten it wrong, which I have a tendency to do, particularly in writing. I’m very critical of myself. But when I was in the room with him, that all fell away. He was like, ‘I don’t care how great a singer you are, I want to be able to hear what you’re saying. What are you trying to say? And who are you saying it to?’ That to me felt completely naked and raw. It was like going back to the basics of just starting again and not being too critical of myself.” The collaborations pushed Mauboy to explore new sounds, even incorporating elements of indie pop (the Mac-penned “Whitney”) into her trademark pop-R&B-dance output. Here, Mauboy takes Apple Music through Yours Forever, track by track. “Yours Forever” “It was one of the last songs I wrote for the album. [I grew up] in an Indonesian Uniting Church that my father and his father and his mother helped build in Darwin. And culturally and religiously, that was something I was brought up to do­—there was always prayer involved. There was gratitude, love, and kindness. That’s something that I have brought into my adult years, and that comforts me and makes me feel safe. ‘Yours Forever’ feels like opening a door to this sphere of emotion and thought and reflection—it makes sense as an opening hymn or a prayer. That’s how I start my day. Why wouldn’t I put that at the beginning?” “Underwater” “I think this is one of my greatest performances I’ve ever done in a song. I [wanted] to be able to deliver what love feels like to me, like what’s my interpretation of how love feels. Whether it comes from my love for my parents, the love for my husband, what does that love feel like when it’s kind of a tug of war? When you feel pressured or you feel scared of love—I’m scared if I show you my love and I don’t get that back.” “The Loneliest I Ever Was” “In my life [in the] music business, it was the first time of really owning my words and my sense of purpose. My craft means a lot to me, and I don’t want to be gaslit. It happens everywhere, to be gaslit or to be made to feel like you can’t really be yourself, and over time you become small and vulnerable and your words aren’t really being heard. This song is about how I’ve been able to maneuver or really survive in the music industry and to stay afloat. It was something that I felt so relieved to say: ‘I’m not taking any shit and I’m fighting for my words.’” “Flashback” “It’s really going back to the first time I met my partner. He was totally not my type, but when I got to know him and started to see him I was like, ‘Does he have to be my type?’ ‘Flashback’ is totally like episodes of our love—our love that was sometimes broken, sometimes confused, then becoming like, ‘I’m going to be that person there for you, I want to take care of you no matter what.’” “Quite Like You” “[It’s] like meeting your first love or your first friend that you didn’t know you were going to have this experience [with]. ‘Quite Like You’ is a dedication to that first greeting, and I think it’s a wonderful thing because when you first meet someone, there’s a sense of, you hold your own, but little by little, the more that you’re invited or the more that you’re close to this person, the more those things start to layer. I think this is a great message, which is to not fear that. The more that I stick around, the more I’m putting down these walls, I know there’s something really special about that. It’s just being thankful for you, grateful for you.” “Give You Love” (feat. Jason Derulo) “When I first heard this song, and I first started working with WILSN, I really got it. When people are distraught, or they feel their lowest, and they can’t quite figure out how to begin again—where to put their first step, or to put their hand out. I’ve seen that quite a lot in my own family, and in my community, they’re too scared to ask for help. So when I first heard it I was like, ‘I know this feeling, because I see it with my own mob.’ No one asks for help when really they’re screaming and needing it. This song is a dedication to anyone who feels that, to not feel alone.” “Whitney” “‘Whitney’ was the development of my childhood, growing up with five sisters in this chaotic house, and being full of dreams—this chaotic house that’s full of dreams. This song really transported me back to being a little girl, writing in her diary, wanting to be just like Britney and Whitney. Dreaming that one day they would see me either singing my songs or their songs.” “Tell ’Em” “There were songs like ‘Tell ’Em’ when I was growing up—activate your worth, know who you are, and don’t be afraid to go out there and show your ability in this world that has so many opportunities, and you’re able to fit right into it—and I wanted to write my own. The whole thought process of the story [is] about the youth, particularly troubled youth, and kids that don’t have the same advantages as other kids. I want the kids I know that are growing up today to have their ‘go out there and tell ’em, tell ’em your worth and tell them you got this’ song. Work hard. Don’t just say it, but act on it.” “Forget You” “This is such a fun song. It’s in your face. It’s like, ‘I am going to own my shit. And you’re not going to leave with any of it.’ I really wanted to make it fun, and the feel is kind of ‘Aretha Franklin mama’ but [with] the influence of that pop production. It really takes me back to doing my pop stuff, and I love making pop music. It just has this whole different spark of energy that really makes me shine.” “I’m Sorry” “Working with David [Musumeci] and Anthony [Egizii], the DNA boys, is always fun, but this really took a turn because I didn’t know I was going to write something so not-pop with them. I just said to Ant, ‘I want to say I’m sorry.’ My heart feels apologetic and maybe has been for a long time. I think it was the frustration of feeling apologetic, which is such a shitty feeling because it may not have been your fault. But somehow you’re the one paying for it, and you’re the one who now needs to apologize for something you didn’t do. And it’s that frustration of like, I’m gonna be the bigger person. But also, if there was no tomorrow I wouldn’t want to wish any harm on anybody. Regardless of the disagreement or the unfairness, I wouldn’t want to feel like that towards anyone and have that be left unsaid.” “Little Too Late” (feat. Miiesha) “This song means so much to [Miiesha and I] individually, on our path, on our journey, to remain strong. Behind this idea of a love story—you told me I was too early and now you’re too late—I think it means really standing your ground and being lifted by something that you didn’t know could lift you so high and bring you back. I think the message within this song is just, ‘You’re back on your feet and you’re heading in the right direction.’” “Goodbye” “[When you] let go of something you’ve been building, the hardest thing to wrap your mind around is that you have to let that all go and start anew. I really know what that feels like, to almost have to start again, particularly with music, and wrap my head around [the fact that] the stuff I was doing isn’t going to be the same, the people that I’m working with are not going to be the same. This whole new space is challenging me and it’s freaking scary, and how do I say goodbye to all of that? Now my focus and my heart and soul and spirit has to begin anew. What does it look like? Where’s that going?” “Never Giving Up” “‘Never Giving Up’ takes part in my own personal resilience of ‘I’m gonna get through this. I know what the question is, I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m just going to lead by [putting] one foot in front of the other and really feel those feelings out.’ And when it feels too much, I will step back and review. But I certainly know who I am, and I’m trying. I think it’s a song that just says, ‘I’m doing the best I can.’” “Yours Forever & Ever” “I wanted a bookend [to the album]. I wanted something to feel like it kept going, as a prayer does. It helps you through your day. And then when you come home, you might do another prayer, meditation, to have it not be resolved. When I split [the song ‘Yours Forever’] that way it was like, well, I don’t want just half of the song at the beginning [of the album]. And I don’t want half of the song at the end. Let’s have it a full song. But then I do a variation, and we’ll do just a little bit at the end and kind of fade. It keeps going and it’s unresolved.”

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