Auckland pop singer Navvy's new EP turned out differently than she imagined.
The singer-songwriter, real name Phoebe Lee Jasper, first released music about the end of her long-term relationship last year.
She used songwriting to process the dramatic change on the aptly-named The Breakup EP, and followed it with No Hard Feelings in early 2020. The Final Pieces, out today, rounds out the trilogy.
Jasper says she's moving on from writing about her ex, who still remains in her live band and is credited on the EP.
"I always wanted to do a trio of these EPs that kind of made a mini album. And that felt like one complete idea, but when I came up with that I imagined I would have already fallen in love again," Navvy admits that hasn't happened just let - 2020 had other ideas.
The Final Pieces instead sees the artist tackle subjects like running on empty in a friendship, grief and learning to move on from the past.
"I'm kind of glad in a way because it's made room for me to write about things that aren't just boyfriends - wanting a boyfriend, having a boyfriend, and losing a boyfriend.
"I've been able to write about things that are super universal, you know, everyone goes through grief at some stage."
Jasper referenced her track I Learnt To Lose A Friend So Young, which she wrote to process the death of a close friend in 2019.
She looped in her friend and fellow Kiwi musician Thomas Stoneman (aka Thomston) for the tracks Running In My Sleep and Somebody Else. For the latter, she channelled her new-found lessons about not having to be there for everyone in her life. The song flowed easily: "We're pretty much the same person, it's so bizarre," the artist says.
The Final Pieces closes the chapter on Navvy's heartbreak and gives fans a clue about what she wants to tackle next. It is an upbeat body of work and leans into the happy music with sad lyrics. It is the brand of pop synonymous with artists like Robyn and Carly Rae Jepsen.
"I never wanted to just write about relationships," she admits. "I love relationship songs, and I'm such a fan of people who write about relationships. But I think there's space in the world for songs that are about family, love, and friendship."
Navvy has chronicled this new phase of her life and is navigating what it means to be a musician during a pandemic, when tours and global travel aren't possible. However, she says there have been some silver linings. We talk on the first day Auckland moves to alert level 2.5. Although a fair amount has changed compared to this time last year, Jasper is making the most of it.
"Last year I was splitting my time between London and Auckland, and I was working with lots of people over there. And so that was kind of lucky because I had already opened the doors. I've been doing some Zooms with people in Norway, London, and LA, and that's kind of evening the playing field because I don't have to travel to those places," she says.
"It is a fairly different experience sitting alone in your room talking to a computer," Jasper says and explained it can get pretty awkward when you end up accidentally talking over one another.
Ultimately the singer-songwriter wants people to feel something when they listen to her songs.
"I want them to feel happy, or sad, or angry or whatever they feel. I just don't want people to listen and then be like 'meh, that was alright".
And how does Navvy feel when she listens back to her music?
"Yeah, no, I don't remember any of those feelings," she says, referring to listening back to her first EP a year on from its release. "I didn't even realise how much I have healed until I listen to how much despair I was in a year ago. I try to listen to my old songs as much as possible to remind me of how much has changed."
• Watch the full interview with Angelina Grey above, and listen to the series of Locals Only podcasts on iHeart Radio below, thanks to NZ On Air.