IT was a case of mother knows best for Melbourne singer-songwriter Gossling.
The singer, whose real name is Helen Croome, grew up playing piano and clarinet in country Victoria and looking to live music and musical theatre for inspiration. But she left behind a career in music when she moved to Melbourne to study psychology, despite her mother’s pleas.
‘‘I’d moved to Melbourne to study psychology and after finishing year 12, I really just wanted a break from music,’’ Gossling explained.
‘‘My mum begged me to go and study music, but I felt I needed a break. So I studied psychology. But halfway through the course I realised I missed music so much. I realised I should have listened to my mum. Then I went and enrolled in a bachelor of music [degree] at uni.’’
Later, Gossling learned guitar from a friend. Tackling a new instrument helped sparked her creativity and spurred her to write songs .
‘‘It’s something that I wasn’t technically trained on very well, yet it seemed to inspire me to start thinking about things,’’ she said.
Another catalyst was seeing touring bands passing through Albury-Wodonga in her teens, said Gossling. But the real inspiration came from musical theatre.
‘‘I didn’t start songwriting until I moved down to Melbourne when I turned 18. But I definitely loved seeing the bands live [in Albury-Wodonga] and thought, ‘Wow, that must be amazing to perform and have people clap’,’’ she said.
‘‘But I think I was more excited to see musical theatre and plays because it was an intimate space. And watching someone perform and at the end of it having such applause, I kind of wanted to have a piece of that.’’
The closeness of a theatre show still influences her as a performer. But she has also embraced the intimacy of songwriters such as Damien Rice and James Vincent McMorrow – those who are happy to bare their personal lives in their songs.
But does she ever hesitate to share her innermost thoughts with the masses?
‘‘No, because that’s the thing that I found most appealing – a really honest and genuine lyric that isn’t masked by anything. It just drives straight through into your heart. Because I found that appealing in other people’s songwriting, that’s what I wanted to do myself.’’
And she has succeeded, becoming a folk favourite across the country with her sweet, soulful lyrics and graceful melodies, on EPs including Intentional Living, If You Can’t Whistle and Until Then.
Her debut album is in the works. And, to some, she has even created her own genre, described as ‘‘goth country’’.
‘To have someone else describe me as goth country was pretty cool actually,’’ she laughed. ‘‘It’s probably one of the hardest things to do as an artist: describe your music.’’
Gossling has also worked with Australia’s rapper du jour, 360, venturing into unfamiliar hip-hop territory and playing to massive audiences alongside the ARIA-winning artist.
‘‘Touring with 360 was so different,’’ she said. ‘‘To play those shows and to those crowds, it was quite intense compared to my intimate shows. The first show I did with him, I walked out on stage and my legs turned to jelly. But it was purely because of the force of the crowd.’’
Gossling performs at Peats Ridge Sustainable Arts and Music Festival, Glenworth Valley, from December 31. peatsridgefestival.com.au.