Being an envious person doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person. But acting on jealousy to the extent that you try to tear others down does make you an asshole, and that specifically applies to the flogs that circled around backstage at Yours Truly shows over the last few years. The joke’s on them, given that the Sydney pop-punk outfit have emerged from a struggle with impostor syndrome to reinforce that they deserve to be exactly where they are.
Frontwoman Mikaila Delgado recalls that when Yours Truly started booking gigs, there were comments floating around, including that the band were only where they were because they had a female vocalist. “When you’re young or when you’re a woman”, she adds, “it’s easy to be looked at like you don’t belong.” On their debut album Self Care, which is out later this month, Delgado worked through a feeling of “wanting to prove” that Yours Truly were qualified to be in the position that they were in. “I knew how hard we worked. And as soon as the boys and I finished school, we were like, ‘We’re just going to go straight into the band and we’re going to give it everything because it’s now or never.’”
At the same time, Delgado adds that “even when everyone’s really lovely, they had so much more experience than us. We had to prove that we belonged there beside them.” From being backstage with artists with double their experience to just dealing with assholes who claim that they only got where they were because of her gender, it ended up haunting Delgado. “It kind of made me ask myself, am I just filling a quota? Which I felt was unfair.”
She continues: “I think it’s easy to be like, ‘I’m not going to be that person.’ But if you’ve said something like that before, it’s like a peer pressure thing…it’s something that shouldn’t be said, because you put that thought in people’s heads and it becomes a talking point.”
On the other side of the coin, it’s hard to reconcile that our community could be a safe space when we’re continuing to see allegations come out against our favourite bands, the people that we grew up idolising, who have abused their positions of power on multiple counts. Delgado shares that disappointment, to hear and see the people that “you looked up to or people that you respect” betraying what they claim to stand for. At the end of the day, the only way that progress will come out of these scenarios is if the truth comes out and ushers in change, which is why Delgado wanted to represent the darker side of her experiences on this record.
“You have enough pop singles that say, ‘Here’s the silver lining. Everything is going to be perfect. Everything’s going to be good.’ But sometimes you’re allowed to acknowledge that it’s not okay. And I think that’s the step to really taking care of yourself – when you realise that you’re not feeling good about something, that it’s not okay, and you process that. It’s really good to be strong and to feel powerful, but there is just as much strength in realising and owning that you’re feeling a bit weaker.”
After Yours Truly issued their Afterglow EP to high acclaim from the scene, the group had the opportunity to tour internationally, travelling overseas to eager fans that they never could have imagined would be waiting for them on the other side of the world. Simultaneously, Delgado was managing her relationship, which brought her down from the career high that the band were riding out at the time.
“It was kind of a roller coaster”, she recalls. “I felt really happy, but at the same time I felt really sad and it was hard to pick. I felt guilty about being sad, when I should have been really happy because we had all of these amazing opportunities.” The song ‘Ghost’ on the new album talks about Delgado transferring that guilt onto her self-image. “It sounds like I’m talking to somebody, but that’s a song that I wrote by me to me. I went through these four months when I felt hazy and invisible. And I was struggling with these questions of: who am I, what am I doing, why am I going through this shit?”
In the end, there is no solution to eternally feeling satisfied that you’re adequate, that you deserve to be in every room that you’re in, that you deserve to feel the way that you feel. All we can do is be truthful about it with ourselves and those around us, which ultimately is what Self Care is all about. Delgado concludes the same thing. “Writing the album and hearing it done, going through that process of speaking to the boys and being really open with how I felt, even about how they felt about themselves, and us realising that we were in it together and that we all felt the same – that was comforting to me.”