Courtney Barnett Talks New Music, Insecurities, Success: 'My Goal Was Never To Go to the Grammys or Play Coachella'
The Grammy Awards may be in the rearview, but for Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett, the accolades keep on coming.
Nominated for song of the year (for "Pedestrian at Best") at April 5's APRA Music Awards in Sydney, earlier this month, Barnett collected the prestigious Australian Music Prize, winning for Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, her acclaimed debut LP which catapulted her into the international spotlight after conquering the United States with The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas.
She's come a long way from playing Melbourne’s pubs, but the wait for new music, Barnett tells Billboard, might come sooner than anyone thought.
“I'm taking a bit of time off after the Milk Records tour (which wrapped March 20) to go away by myself and just gather my thoughts which have been in a jumble for the last year,” she explains. “Basically, the second half of the year I’ve logged off to maybe make an album or do something. But it’s not a promise.”
Barnett’s exceptional early career caught everyone by surprise, herself included. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit peaked at No. 4 in Australia, No. 16 in the U.K. and No. 20 in the U.S., won a slew of ARIA and AIR Awards, and took out Triple J’s prestigious J Award late in 2015. The cherry on top: Milk!, the label she founded with fellow artist Jen Cloher, was named the Independent Music Awards' best independent label of 2015.
“It’s a huge mix of emotions,” she says of the whirlwind of the past year. “It’s exciting and at times it’s overwhelming. There are plenty of ups and downs and your own personal crises that go on. I guess with being on stage, being looked at and listened to, there’s plenty of insecurities that go with that. Also there’s really nice people connecting with my songs and realizing what that means to people. It’s a mixture of things.”
Indeed, Barnett insists she’s not in the business of chasing trophies (she eventually lost out to Meghan Trainor for the best new artist Grammy) -- it's all about the music. “I don’t really care if I win or don’t,” she says. “I just want to make the best music I can, and play the best shows I can. My goal was never to go to the Grammys or play Coachella."
But Coachella is on the schedule for April, along with another international tour set to kick off April 14 at the Glass House in Pomona, Calif. The trek is due to wrap July 22 at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival.