CONTRARY to what some people thought, Bertie Blackman's new album The Dash is not about running away, or the family dachshund.
The Australian singer/songwriter says it's actually far deeper.
It refers to the poem by Linda Ellis, which Blackman says is essentially about "what you do with your dash".
"The dash being all that's in-between the date that you're born and the date that you die," Blackman says. "It's kind of like what you do with your life."
For Blackman, that means making the most of every moment.
"And as far as creativity goes and work and songwriting, you just got to keep moving forward, you just got to keep going," she says.
Which is evident in The Dash, Blackman's fourth record since her 2004 debut album Headway.
"It's not about just running away," she says of The Dash.
"I told my stepdad and at the time we had the family dachshund and he's like, 'you've written a song about Morris the dog!"'
Instead The Dash was a high-intensity challenge.
It has Blackman, usually a solo songwriter, working with 30-odd people including the likes of Julian Hamilton from The Presets to create the nine-track record. And doing it under the pump too - with songwriting stints usually limited to two days.
It meant that instead of her usual two or three-year process, The Dash took Blackman just over 12 months to make.
"I decided to make a record quite quickly, which I'd never done before. Or to see if I could," she says.
"I probably worked about 10 times as hard within that time."
Blackman, the daughter of renowned artist Charles Blackman, was keen to set these new challenges, but also to keep it light and fun - particularly after her 2012 record Pope Innocent X (or PIX), which has been described as an "all-consuming effort".
As such, she says there's a lot on The Dash that's inspired by the music she was listening to during her carefree days as an '80s kid.
"Definitely, there's a lot of Tears For Fears in there," she says, also naming Midnight Oil, The Church, INXS and Icehouse, as well as Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics.
"I did listen to a lot of '80s music that I had a nostalgic connection to and I really wanted to build on that, because it was a time in my life where there was kind of no worries.
"I was having a good time when I was a kid in '80s Australia. Going to the beach a lot, rollerblading."
Speaking of time, Blackman says she can't believe it's been a decade since her first album.
"I do feel proud that I've made five records. I feel like that's an achievement; to be able to stick it out in this industry is very challenging.
"You just need to be really resilient and come up with new ways to be able to kind of keep it together and loving what you do."
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