Up until 18 months ago Auckland singer and multi-instrumentalist Louisa Nicklin's main focus was on classical compositions, which were usually played by others months or years after they had been written.
Since then, however, she has turned her attention to writing music purely for herself.
Nicklin's new self-titled album was released in May and the nationwide tour supporting it will bring her to Whanganui tomorrow, July 1.
"The whole thing started with me just playing some tunes by myself and not having a very clear idea of what I wanted it all to be, or what I wanted it to sound like," Nicklin said.
"I started playing with a band a bit later on and the music shifted a bit. It became a bit more rock 'n' roll.
"Well, not really, but it became less 'folky singer-songwritery'. If it's just you and a guitar the music instantly has those connotations."
Shifting the focus away from classical music was something that had happened naturally, Nicklin said.
"I was also a bit over the classical stuff and wanted to try something new.
"You'll write a classical composition for a string quartet and you might hear the crappy, Sibelius version of it, or maybe yourself playing it on piano, but it could be a while before you get to hear it in full.
"The thing that really drew me to songwriting was the instant reward of it."
The album was recorded at Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios in central Auckland with renowned producer Steven Marr behind the desk.
While Nicklin was used to writing all the parts to her classical pieces, she said drummer Mason Fairey and bassist Eamon Edmundson-Wells were free to come up with their own parts for each song on the new album.
"They are permanent members with me in the band, and they have a big part in the music as well," Nicklin said.
"I come to them with the skeleton of a song or some lyrics.
"From there it can become something quite interesting, because it's different people's influences and creativity coming into one space rather just one person telling everyone what to do."
The album itself consists of nine dark, sparse pop songs, with Marr's production allowing each track to breathe, and each instrument to stand out in the final mix.
While she is an accomplished saxophone player in her own right, Nicklin said the sax parts on the record were done by someone else.
"I can definitely still hold a tune but I'm a bit out of practice at the moment. A guy called Jay Wylie played them, because he is just incredible.
"It's nice when you have different people collaborating on songs. There were tracks where I'd give Jay a bit more direction and some where he'd just go for it.
"That was the same with the other people who played on the record as well. It's nice when they just play what they hear."
Nicklin said the subject matter was made up of her own personal reflections.
"They look at different people in my life, or events, or feelings I have towards different things.
"It all comes from my own experiences."
Nicklin's current tour is her first as a solo artist, and Edmundson-Wells and Fairey will join her on all the dates.
"I've played in different places with other bands, but I realised when we were down in Dunedin that I've only played this music outside of Auckland once," Nicklin said.
"Playing in places where you don't know anyone can be a bit daunting because you don't know if anyone is going to show up or not.
"The last time I was in Whanganui was about six years ago I think, with a band called Moses. I'm really looking forward to coming back."
Louisa Nicklin plays at Porridge Watson on Thursday, July 1, with support from James Paul.