Returning to serenade the Australian music scene with her sweet, smooth melodies, Alice Skye has just released her latest single, “I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good.”

Laced with fragments of her own personal journey with mental health and packed with a line of connection to those battling themselves, the song is softened by her calming, angelic voice yet is powerful and passionate.

A proud Naarm-based Wergaia/Wemba Wemba woman, Alice Skye found inspiration for the title from a text message between herself and a friend.

“The title came from a message someone sent to me asking how I was. I replied saying, ‘I feel better but I don’t feel good.’ I thought it was a funny thing to say, so I wrote it down,” the young singer-songwriter said.

“The lyrics and the meaning came to me overtime. It became a lot clearer when someone approached me and said I should write more upbeat songs, and smile more,” she laughed.

“I can’t understand why people have an issue with sad songs. It’s fine if you don’t like them, but I love them.”

“They’ve been such a special source for me to express and connect with how I am feeling, which would be a lot easier if it wasn’t so uncomfortable or embarrassing to talk about our feelings.”

The new single aims to acknowledge the stigma surrounding conversations about mental health, and address a stigma that is both expressed by society and internalised.

“You want to respond to someone asking how you are with ‘I’m great,’ but if you’re not sometimes you feel like you can’t be honest because it may make the other person uncomfortable,” the Wergaia/Wemba Wemba woman said.

“It’s so crazy that we have been conditioned to think it’s something to be ashamed of, it’s really sad. I grew up in a country town where it wasn’t really okay for people to talk about their feelings and there was that mentality that you have to be strong and push through.”

“I think it’s so much harder to be honest about how you feel as opposed to [suppressing]. People are so strong when they just say how they feel, it’s so powerful.”

I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good’ marks Alice Skye’s first release with Bad Apples Music since signing in June this year.

“It’s so nice to have people who are excited about what you are doing and who believe in you, because it can be hard to do that for yourself,” she said.

“You hear these horror stories of these really controlling labels that don’t let you do what you want. When I came into this, I knew nothing about the music industry and it was scary to think about that, but Bad Apples is so there to back what I want to do – I feel really empowered.”

The single features artwork by Aretha Brown, a proud artist, activist and Prime Minister of the National Indigenous Youth Parliament.

“When I was thinking about the artwork, I knew I wanted something special. I wanted some deadly, blackfulla artist to do it,” Skye said.

“I love Aretha’s work so I messaged her on Instagram and she was really into the idea. I sent her some images, and she painted this giant image. The single’s artwork is a small snippet of a much larger painting that I will gradually share as more singles come out.”

With a new album on the horizon, Alice Skye has her hands full with writing and creating in a way that honours the woman she is and the stories she will tell.

“My excitement instantly turns into being terrified. That classic combination of anxiety and excitement! But I really feel a lot surer of what I want to do this time around. I think being older than I was when I did my first album, knowing what I want and working with people who know me and know what I want to express [has helped],” she said

“I think albums are a nice moment in time. They aren’t necessarily how you will be forever.”

By Rachael Knowles