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Banoffee Goes From Background To Album Cover


Banoffee was a background musician for megastars like Taylor Swift and Charli XCX. But the singer-songwriter didn't want to stay in the background forever. So she made an album. It's her debut. And it's called "Look At Us Now Dad."


BANOFFEE: (Singing) You can count on me now, you know. You can count on me now, you know.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Banoffee was born Martha Brown. She grew up in Melbourne, Australia, part of a tight-knit musical family.

BANOFFEE: I actually started off playing folk music with my sister Hazel (ph). And we were in a band when I was a young teenager and toured in that band a lot together. And then through that, I discovered synthesizers and my love for electronic music, which is where Banoffee came from.


BANOFFEE: (Singing) Na-na-na-na. Na-na-na-na.

I moved to LA in 2017 when I realized that LA just had so many people ready to collaborate and make music. And that was so exciting for me - coming from a smaller city where I felt like maybe I had nowhere else to go.


BANOFFEE: (Singing) Doing 70 on the freeway, smoke coming out the hood. Tow man says it's 90. I bargain him down to 80.

I think when I first moved to LA, I was working seven jobs seven days a week. I was just a complete mess trying to pay rent, trying to somehow make music within it all.


BANOFFEE: (Singing) So I dash across the street to the only thing that's open. I need something to eat. Thank God for the Chevron.

My song "Chevron" covers that pretty perfectly. It's a song about when my car broke down on the freeway. And I was so broke that I couldn't afford to get the car towed. And I ended up paying someone money to take the car forever. I also left all of my clothes in the car because I was just not in a place to think about packing. So in order to write music, you need a lot of cash. You need to have the equipment. You need to have the programs. You need to have time to be able to record. It becomes a very expensive hobby until it can become your job.


BANOFFEE: (Singing) You can go hang with your friends. I know I'm not invited - already made other plans.

I went on tour in 2018 with Charli XCX. On the Taylor Swift tour, I was playing synths for them. And I decided just to keep all of that tour money and put it towards my record, which was an absolute blessing. It came just after I had had my ultimate low and thought I was going to have to move back to Australia.


BANOFFEE: (Singing) I don't do a backhand. I don't play games. I never been a tennis fan - not in my nature to play, yeah.

I really went back over my entire life to write this album. I went back with a fine-toothed comb and really wanted to understand all of the patterns that had formed within my body. So this album really is a story about my life.


BANOFFEE: (Singing) I'll never ask how it felt. You're going to love me and no one else. Don't need your permission, permission.

"Permission" is a very personal song. It was a way of me processing how my boundaries had been broken. I expected people to love me a certain way. But it very quickly twists into something darker and more sinister and speaks about the type of consent that can be broken, that can break someone.


BANOFFEE: (Singing) You never asked. You never asked. You never asked for permission.

Everything in this album is about moments in my life. Some of the events happened when I was a child. Some of them happened in my adulthood.


BANOFFEE: (Singing) When you died, I sang to you. I lied, told you I was better, told you I'd look after my mother.

The interludes "I Lied" and "I Let You Down" are songs I wrote after I said goodbye to someone in my life. When they died, I went to their bedside and sat there and sang to them, knowing it was the last time I was going to sit with them. And I made a decision that in order for them to be able to die peacefully, I had to lie. And that was that I was OK, and I was healthy. And at the time, I wasn't. I was very unwell and very depressed. And their last moments on Earth were worrying about me, which I didn't want. I wanted those interludes to bookend the album because it's important for me to have them there as a reminder that I am living up to those lies. I am making those lies truth by making the work that I'm making and by continuing to work as hard as I can.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Banoffee - her debut album is "Look At Us Now Dad."


BANOFFEE: (Singing) You're so clean. I'm dirty, can't tame me. I'd rather sleep in late. You're so overripe. Gaslight in the dark, I see what you are. I can see so far - held you up so high. A battery, I'm energy. You're playing my vibe. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.