E^ST is about to release her first album, but in a way, she's been preparing for this moment for years.

The South-African born, Australian pop artist Mel Bester is 21 years old and already has four EPs to her name.

She tells the Herald why she waited until now, six years after her first release, to put out her first full-length record.

"I've kind of been avoiding making the debut album for a long time," she says.


"I think there's a lot of pressure that comes with an artist's debut album, especially from the artist themselves."

Originally sticking with her debut album procrastination, she wanted I'm Doing It to be an EP. However, a friend of hers convinced her to push past her own doubts.

"I'd written like five or six for it in a week, and I played them to a friend of mine who I was staying with. She turned to me and said 'Nah, this is like the midway point for an album. You've got more to say.'

"I think you need a certain level of confidence in yourself to make an album, and I definitely feel like I wouldn't have had that confidence a couple of years ago," she says.

"I knew I just had to put my commitment issues aside and ride that wave of confidence."

The external encouragement from her friend helped E^ST launch into the record-making process, and the album reflects her personal growth.

E^ST has newfound confidence with the release of her debut album. Photo / Supplied
E^ST has newfound confidence with the release of her debut album. Photo / Supplied

She decided to focus on the songs individually, rather than worrying about making the album cohesive.

"I think every song on the album does a different thing and has a different sonic feeling, which I used to be afraid of embracing, because in my mind that made it messy or not very cohesive."


Those familiar with E^ST's earlier releases, like her 2018 EP Life Ain't Always Roses will find familiarity and depth with her new album. Previous single Talk Deep plays to her pop strengths. I Wanna Be Here is a slow build that cements the triumph of her overcoming doubt.

There are signs of her newfound confidence sprinkled throughout as well, the album's piano ballad I'm Not Funny Anymore which she describes as "the saddest on the whole album". She says she decided to embrace her dramatic side.

Her songwriting chops have also been honed working with other artists, namely Miley Cyrus' younger sister Noah.

As Bester went through the motions writing the album, her songs took on a new lease of life.

"The first couple of songs I wrote for the album, were the saddest and most depressing songs. As time went on and I grew more as a person, I think the message of the songs kind of changed."

While she remained vague about what inspired her sad songs, she shared that she learned to lean into her feelings rather than crushing them down.


"I think when you're going through a rough time, for me the best thing to do is to accept it immediately. Songwriting has always helped me be really present in my feelings and where I'm at."

She hopes her fans will be inspired to be honest with themselves when they listen to the album.

"I hope that it makes people feel a little more comfortable ... when they see my journey and all the different steps in that journey.

"It's not always going to be the same and you're not always going to be in one place."

• E^ST's debut album I'm Doing It is out today.