REEK INTERVIEW: CHIARA HUNTER

An Image of Damn Rebel Bitch Chiara Hunter to accompany her interview for REEK Perfume's platform 'Bitches Unite.'

Musical artist, Chiara Hunter, on heroines, perfume, the music industry and female beauty.

What women do you most identify with from history to the present day that have also inspired you to push further in your music career? 

The most important one is Joni Mitchell. Listening to her music is the earliest memory I have of connecting to the lyrics and thinking of songs as works of art. She’s obviously an incredible writer but also the way she quite clearly doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks and just gets on with her art. Some of her records are so out there and wild, and she’s held her own with some of the best players in the world. She is a true renaissance woman who’s carved her own path. I love her.

What female or gender equality causes mean the most to you and why? 

Equal pay. The idea that we are still fighting for this in 2017 is mind boggling to me. Women are still facing a stark gap in their earnings compared to men’s and in the UK we have one of the highest pay gaps in the EU. I feel lucky to have been dating a Dane for 4 years, and spending time in Denmark has inspired me to stand up even taller for equality. It’s deeply woven into their society – everything from their healthcare, workplace laws, maternity rights and general attitudes exemplifies a strong and passionate belief in gender equality. It’s not even spoken about there, it is just considered obvious and a given that males and females should be treated equal and deserve equal rights.

Do you think female success differs from male success in the music industry, and if so how? Have you experienced this in your own career? 

I tend to spend the majority of my time with men. Most of the producers and engineers are men, although lately I’ve noticed a bit of a shift towards more female producers coming up. I mean, I love dudes, but I get really excited when I get to work with a female producer. I can’t wait until it just feels like the norm. And it’s sad – there are still hardly any female CEO’s of major labels and still very few at the higher levels in business. But it feels like it’s getting better, slowly. I think the biggest area I feel it is in expressing my opinions, especially to men. I’m a pretty assertive person, and I don’t hold back nor feel like I should have to just because I’m a woman and I might scare someone or challenge them. You are just aware that sometimes that can be perceived as ‘bossy’ or a ‘bit much’ when you are just trying to express yourself and fight for your ideas.

What are the big differences for you between working as a female musician in comparison to your career is song writing? 

As a songwriter, sometimes I feel able to express myself more freely because there isn’t as much of a perceived notion about who I am or who I have to be. I have to be a lot of different things for a lot of different people, so it allows me to explore different sides of my creativity that I wouldn’t otherwise. As an artist, it kinda feels like the opposite – it’s essential that you are able to tap into an identity that can be defined, both through your music and your image. That can feel pretty limiting sometimes, especially when you don’t feel like you always fit into just one perfectly condensed version of yourself, but if you do it right it’s thrilling when you connect with people through that music and vision.

What smells remind you of femininity? 

I’m obsessed with spice and wood. Amber, patchouli (done well), sandalwood. Anything that smells like incense. My mum grew up in India and we always had incense and spice smells in the house, so it reminds me of her.

Are there any big cultural differences you notice between Australia and the UK as a working women or in day to day life?

Not really, I think they are pretty similar. In both countries I feel like the genders can be very defined and seperate – the men fit into one role and the women another. But what’s great about both countries is that if we don’t feel like we fit into those stereotypes, we are pretty free to express our individuality and find a way to carve our own spot in society. Obviously, some communities are harder than others to do that, but at least here in London you are free to pretty much be anyone you want to be and no one really gives a fuck.

Do you feel pressure to act/look a certain way to fit in with the ideals of female beauty? How do you combat or comply with these pressures?

Yeah of course. If you let it, it can overwhelm you and make you feel shit about yourself. But you gotta keep it in check and just be proud of who you are and what you’re bringing to the table. It feels like especially in the last year there’s been a wave of ladies with real, strong bodies who are rejecting the stereotype and just being fabulous and not giving a fuck. I’m obsessed with the choreographer Paris Goebbels, who did the video for Sorry amongst other amazing things. I watch videos of her dancing and I’m just like yeahhh – you got thighs and ass and you are hot as fuck! Me too! I can do that! It’s very empowering and that’s why we ladies need these role-models and why we ourselves need to be role-models of self love. Also – ladies, DO YOGA. That has been the number one thing for me this past year. You can’t hate a body that is strong and that can do amazing things for you. Yoga is all about that self love and appreciation.

What makes you a Damn Rebel Bitch? Tell us what kind of bitch are you.

I reckon I’m a damn rebel bitch because I speak my mind and express myself with honesty and strength, yet I am also an emotional and sensitive being. I am comfortable and at peace with that duality.

Chiara Hunter’s STRANGE RELATIONSHIPS EP is OUT NOW on Spotify & iTunes.