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Tamar Valley Storytellers: Medhanit Barratt

Updated: Feb 22

Tasmanian-based singer-songwriter Medhanit Barratt was born in the African country of Ethiopia and adopted at the age of six months. At the age of 21, Medhanit’s writing now explores provocative themes such as cultural and racial matters, drawing inspiration from her own and others’ social experiences. But, most of all, Medhanit is fascinated with the human condition. Feelings of both broken and divine love, crippling jealousy, conflict and peace; how we emotionally evolve. Growing up performing and writing acoustically, Medhanit decided to move into the world of production so her songs could exist in a bigger sonic space and has now released two singles, 'Her' and 'Same Things'

1. What are you working on?

Currently I am working on my next release and developing the best way to present my music project live. We’re making our way through the recording and production process for a new single too, which always forces you to refine your artistic intentions I find.

2. How does the Tamar Valley influence your writing?

The Tamar Valley to me represents an escape; the valley lines the road to our family shack, where I’ve written many a story. Our family car has hugged those asphalt bends on the way to most Easters and Christmases. Five of us whoosh past the winery vines and teeter over the Tamar’s water. My dad knows that road inside out. Nestled in the valley is our family hideout; a writer's nook disguised as a seaside home. I think I write differently there, it doesn’t feel like it’s for anyone else.

3. What themes are you exploring?

Most of my acoustic work revolves around the human condition; how we love and what it means to be human in its messy entirety. I am also delving into themes of racial microaggressions, profiling and stereotypes.

4. Describe for us where you write.

The notes app in my phone sees a lot more of my feelings than I’d care to admit. I write from my bed covers, sitting in an empty house cross legged on the family piano stool, tipsily in the bathroom on a night out and then of course everywhere in between. Perhaps not always fleshed out lyrics that make it to the next morning, but leftover sentiments that are salvageable at the very least.

5. Finish this sentence, "I want my songwriting to..."

I want my songwriting to create the perfect track you can dance with your friends to but with lyrics that could make you cry.

6. What's your favourite read so far this year?

Perhaps I could share my favourite song of this year: Angie McMahon’s cover of Tea Milk & Honey by Oh Pep! The lyrics on Angie’s voice are cruelly beautiful.


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