Melbourne-based rapper Dallas Woods has just released his new single, and it's the most personal release of his career to date.
His new track Heaven Of My Own sees the Noongar musician team up with Pitjantjatjara and Torres Strait Islander R&B musician Miiesha to reflect on how he's dealt with his demons in 2020. He's had to grapple with himself this year, but he's come out of the experience a stronger and more resilient person.
To celebrate the release of the new single, we spoke to Dallas about breaking down taboos through his music, how his 2020 has been, and embracing a more positive mindset.
Cool Accidents: Hi Dallas! Firstly, you’ve had a big 2020 – how have you made the most of this year despite everything that’s gone on?
Dallas Woods: Music has been my saviour this year! Before COVID, 2020 threw curve balls at me that forced me to reassess my priorities and what I want to do with my life and I started my journey with healing.
Then when COVID hit it pretty much took my livelihood away with live shows going out the door. Now that I'm based in Victoria, following my music goals meant isolation and being away from family and country, which was tough especially missing important family events, birthdays and funerals.
I made the most of the year by releasing three singles If It Glitters It's Gold, Better Days with Baker Boy feat Sampa The Great and my new single Heaven Of My Own feat Miiesha.
I've been writing and creating new music with loads of talented friends and talented creatives. I've also formed a new band in my new local town Castlemaine and fell in love with playing my songs live again with new friends!
You get really personal on Heaven Of My Own – is it frightening to put that side of you out there on a track?
Yes, it is frightening, but it's also rewarding to have some self-reflection and some healing. I'm keen to send some thoughts and love to everyone who is going through their own struggles through the effects of COVID or just dealing with their mental health. It's a tough time and talking does help!
You’ve been doing things to improve the positive energy in your life – can you tell me more about what some of these things were, and how they’ve helped?
As soon as lockdown hit, cabin fever became a thing and I became really homesick, so that was hard. I surrounded myself with positive people and exceptional creatives. I learned how to enjoy my life and deal with temptations, I learned how to enjoy life sober. I started doing exercise mentally and physically.
Can you tell me about how the collaboration with Miiesha came about, and how you decided she’d be the perfect fit for the track?
I was lucky enough to meet Miiesha a couple of times before. I thought she was amazingly talented and I know where she came from and how similar our upbringings are.
I reached out and asked her to open for my Melbourne show and we kept in touch and it naturally just flowed from there. That sista is incredible!! So glad we got a chance to create some magic together.
It’s currently NAIDOC Week – what does this week represent to you?
It gives the younger generation a chance to acknowledge the resilience of Australia's First Nations peoples. It's a chance to learn our history and celebrate how far we have come and all that we as First Nations people have achieved, but most of all how beautiful the longest living culture in the world is!!
How can society better support First Nations people outside of NAIDOC Week?
Education shouldn't stop at NAIDOC week! Celebrate and acknowledge everything Australia has been and will be. Make an effort to support First Nations people in your everyday life!
For young men that are afraid to ask for help – what advice would you give them about opening up, and being true to themselves?
Real men talk, real men show emotions, the toughest thing you can do is better yourself as a man for the people that you love. It's not easy but there's no shame in asking for help. You are loved, never forget that!
READ MORE: 10 Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Rising Stars To Keep An Eye On
Finally, what are your next few steps, both personally and music-wise?
Personally to make sure my music is my number one priority, becoming the man I have manifested in myself for the people I love. Music-wise, continue to drop new music and show myself that I belong in this industry.
If you'd like to learn more about NAIDOC Week, you can visit their official website here.