Sloan Peterson is the alias of Sydney musician Joe Jackson, and she's bringing the past back into the present day, by updating the sounds of 1950s guitar pop, as well as artists like David Bowie, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. Moving from Los Angeles to Sydney as a teenager, Sloan discovered the attraction of history - which she told Music, Musings and Such is a big part of what influences both her music, and her personal life. "I think the reason the past is so hypnotic to me is probably because everything wasn't as accessible as it is now.
"I loved that people could still be original: now nothing's original as everyone is influenced by something or someone. Technology, to me, isn't terribly important: I’d love to give away my phone; delete all my socials and go off the grid – but, unfortunately, it's such an essential part of what I do."
2017 saw Sloan release her debut self-titled EP, after her debut single 105 turned heads. It's a mix between the classic and the modern, capturing a sound that isn't readily available in Australian music at the moment. Speaking about the EP and how it came together to AAA Backstage back in 2017, Sloan says, "Half the songs I wrote when I was 17, and they’ve been re-recorded a million times in different ways with different people. So it’s been a really long journey but it feels damn good to finally get it these songs out that have been so close to me for a long time."
She's a self-taught guitarist, but it's not just guitar she knows how to play, having played the keyboard in tons of bands around the country. "I played keyboard when I was a lot younger at church on Sundays, and I played the clarinet in the school band up until I was 14. I was always in musicals as well, so I’ve always kind of been involved in music in some way. Then I started playing guitar when I was 16, and I learnt The Beatles’ song About A Girl, and I just taught myself."
In 2018, Sloan released the follow-up EP, Midnight Love - which saw her evolve her sound. Where her debut EP was very DIY, Midnight Love is more elaborate - and invokes some of the sounds of The Beatles, even using the same Mellotron samples they used on the Sgt. Pepper album when putting together her track Our Love.
Last year saw Sloan release her debut album, Midnight Love Vol.2. It's a sequel to the Midnight Love EP, and speaking about the album, Sloan says, “Having this record ready to share with the world feels amazing. No matter what happens in life, I feel so, so humbled that I am where I am, and that I get to release these songs that I honestly didn’t think would be heard. I’ve had so much fun in the creative process, and have met so many amazing people who have helped me along the way.”
Here, the closing track from the album, is a song that Sloan wrote when she was a teenager - and the song has taken on many forms over the year. Speaking about how she wanted the song to come across, she says, "I wanted it to be similar to like a Gwen Stefani vibe, kind of when she left No Doubt and became a pop star. That was the vision I was heading towards. I changed it quite a lot, actually, it went from an indie track to a well-produced song."
Talking about how her approach to songwriting has evolved, she says it's become a lot more refined. "When I was younger, I would just strum and scream. I didn't know what I was doing, or how I was putting it together, and I fully gave it my all. Now it's like I come back and revisit lyrics or think 'maybe this will work better', or 'does there have to be a bridge in this part?'. It's more thought out."
She features on FEKI's new track, Golden Remedy, which also features Aussie producer LANKS. Speaking about the track, Sloan says, “I always love collaborating with like-minded artists and being a part of a process from some what the beginning.
"When approached to feature on the track it felt so natural to sing along to, so I absolutely had to do it. The whole process was so special and felt like a family collaboration."
2020's shaping up to be a big year for Sloan, as she embarks on a new era of her music. We can't wait to she what she releases next - she's making the old feel new again.