“I’m bisexual [and] I’m a Libra, so balance is very important to me,” quips Starley as she reflects on the dualities that frame her personal style. “It’s usually a mix between masculine and feminine; street yet elevated. I try to always keep it very evenly keeled.” The Australian musician, full name Starley Hope, has found equilibrium in her professional life, too.
After moving to London at age 19, the Sydney native was signed as a songwriter but returned home six years later “heartbroken” after too many career-making near misses. It was during this low point that she wrote a song that would change her life. “The words for ‘Call on Me’ just poured out, and after I’d written it I felt like no one else could tell this story but me,” she reveals of her 2016 hit single.
Since that breakthrough success, Starley has made the move to Los Angeles (“my favourite place to live so far”) and is about to debut her first album (though die-hard Katy Perry fans have already given the soon-to-be-released songs their stamp of approval). “There were Katy fans who would travel with her,” explains Starley, who supported Perry on her Australian tour earlier this year. “By the last few shows, they knew the lyrics to [my] songs, even though they weren’t out yet. That was beautiful.”
Dropping early next year, the new album continues to explore the 31-year-old’s personal experiences. “It’s basically about past relationships and a lot of things that I had to get off my chest,” she says, adding that we can still expect the fun, electro beats that make her music dance-floor catnip.
And now that she has found her feet as a lyricist and performer, the musician is learning to approach at least a few parts of life with a more relaxed attitude. “Most people don’t really have the answers,” she admits. “You have to trust yourself more.”