Tori Forsyth On Her Difficult, But Rewarding Third Album: ‘I Was Chasing Something I Didn't Really Want’

April 30, 2024 - News

The third album from singer-songwriter Tori Forsyth comes at a curious intersection of her decade-plus career. Due to the proximity between it and her last album, 2021’s Provlépseis, listeners are either coming into All We Have is Who We Are either as their first foray into Forsyth or a more long-term fan curious as to where she’s been. In what quickly reveals itself to be a blunt and honest discussion of the matter with Countrytown, Forsyth explains that the journey to her latest effort had to begin with a hard, firm reset. “I had to really let go of anything musical altogether,” she begins.

“I started writing this album in 2020 and didn’t pick anything back up again until 2022, maybe late 2021 at the earliest. I was absolutely burnt out – there was a lot of love for music still, but there was simply no love for me doing it myself. I didn’t think I really had much else to give; I felt as though I had to go and experience life a bit more before I could bring anything to the table. Once I did that, the songs started coming in again and I was able to tap into that inspiration once more.”

When considering exactly why she’d hit a wall at that period, Forsyth boils it down to a variety of factors. COVID notwithstanding, she felt as though she was a straw away from her camel’s back breaking on account of the wear-and-tear that comes with the industry at large. “I’d been touring constantly for the better part of a decade,” she says. “A lot of doing the same thing over and over. I think that when you’re trying to obtain a certain version of success, you can’t see any other kind. I was chasing something that I ultimately didn’t really want. It made me realise that I don’t ever want music to feel exhausting – or worse, that I’m somehow not doing it right. It’s such an innate, personal and special thing. I don’t ever want to have to work for my creativity.”

All We Have… came together at famed Central Coast studio The Grove, with Scott Horscroft behind the boards on production. It marked the first time the pair had worked together, as both of Forsyth’s previous albums were made with veteran singer-songwriter Shane Nicholson. The ARIA winner still makes his presence felt, however, appearing on recent single Sometimes as a guest vocalist. “Scott heard the songs I was working on all at once,” Forsyth recalls. “He immediately came to me and said he wanted to produce the album, which was really awesome. It gave me the confidence to take that next step and really get things into forward motion.”

A full-blooded, heart-on-sleeve album, All We Have… is simultaneously a deeply personal and wholly universal listening experience. The stories told are unquestionably Forsyth’s, from the imperative self-reflection on quasi title-track All We Have to the ruminations on lifelong insecurities on Good Enough. The way that they’re sung and performed, however, easily allows the listener to become the protagonist and see their own world reflected within each song. “The album isn’t sequenced in the order they were written, but there’s certainly a chronological theme,” says Forsyth.

“The album is essentially going from station to station, looking at what my next chapter of life looks like. It’s quite a reflective album; when I see the stories I’m pulling from, they date back quite a while. There’s an overall arc of growth and acceptance on this album. I picture it like a film with flashback sequences: You see where they were, you’re back in the present day and you see them accept what was before they move onto the next scene.”

In the studio with Forsyth and Horscroft was Forsyth’s full backing band: longtime drummer Reece Baines, guitarist Matthew Newton (no relation) and bassist Zachary Miller. “It was a new process having them all on board,” she says. “I didn’t have all the arrangements mapped out, but I had a lot of inspiration for what I wanted it to sound like. I had this playlist with everything from Brandi Carlile, Carly Pearce, Fleetwood Mac, Sturgill Simpson, Mazzy Star, Colter Wall… even Jewel! Scott and I spent about two days nutting it out, finding the direction for each track together in the studio. When the band all came in, they all had their own flavour and their own spin on their parts. You can hear all of them just as much as you can hear me, which I find really exciting. That’s something I’d never experienced before making a record.”

For someone who was evidently on the precipice of walking away from music entirely, Forsyth speaks of All We Have Is Who We Are with a sense of rejuvenation and enthusiasm. On what is arguably her best album to date, Forsyth can finally see clearly – both in regards to where she’s been and where she’s headed. As release date looms, she hopes that those that come across the album learn some of the same lessons that she did during its creation. “If you’re going to get anything out of this record, I hope it’s this: You’re allowed to be you,” she says.

“You’re allowed to heal the parts of yourself that were preventing that from happening. There’s a lot of reflective acceptance within this record, and a lot of forward-thinking concepts of the person I want to be and aspire to be. I did a lot of work on myself the last few years. I had to really make peace with parts of my past in order to be able to move forward and be able to actually envision myself with a much more fuller life than before. So when you hear this album, remember: You’re allowed to have a future. You’re allowed to be happy. You’re allowed to have aspirations. You’re allowed to have a vision that is greater than what you’ve kept up in the past.”

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All We Have Is Who We Are is out Friday May 3 via Universal. Tori Forsyth and her band will be touring in support of the album later this month – head here for dates and here for tickets.

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