At the age of 25, singer-songwriter RJ Ferry is the oldest musician in the Young Coasties line-up.
He laughs, calling himself the ‘Silverback’ of the group, but it’s clear that he has grasped the opportunity the project offers with both hands and intends to make the most of it.
“I’m just super-appreciative to be part of it,” he said. “It’s been like a mini TAFE course in the music industry and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me.”
The past 12 months have been difficult for RJ, who lost his mother to cancer in June 2016, but he credits her as his inspiration. Angie, his song for the Young Coasties album, is about her.
“I have a younger sister and I had to step up and take on these big roles, so the song is about me coming to terms with the scariness of what was to come.”
With its deep foundations in blues, RJ’s music covers the pantheon of life, love and loss, but always with a core of strength running through it.
“I try to tell stories rather than make people dance,” he said. “I feel like every song I’ve ever liked comes down to its relatability. People have to relate to what they’re hearing. They like a song because it resonates with them. So I try to write relatable lyrics to catchy music.”
Citing Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer and Jackson Browne as influences, Angie bought RJ his first guitar when he was in year 11 at high school.
“I played for about five years, but it’s only in the past two years, when I got into the theory and trying to understand music that I’ve been able to write songs,” he said.
RJ says he washed “about 10,000 dishes” in order to buy the Maton guitar he plays today and swears it would be the one thing he’d grab from a burning house.
“It gives me the freedom to create the sounds I feel,” he added. “I use it as a way to say what I feel about the world and what I see. I’m still just at the beginning. I’m not chasing money, just trying to write a story and make my mum proud.”
RJ Ferry’s first EP, Resilience, will be out in the next few months.
RJ Ferry will appear in the Young Coasties Showcase on Sunday, May 14 at the Burradise Festival at Culburra Beach. Get your free tickets at culburrabeachfestival.org.au