SCREAMING Jets legend Grant Walmsley had ample words of advice for Lili Crane, but it was his message of "you've gotta bleed for people", that really resonated with the Merewether 17-year-old.
In response to Walmsley's advice, Crane has attempted to give herself - heart and soul - to her music through new single Don't Take My Mask Off, due for release on March 31.
People familiar with Crane's previous EP All The Sweet Things, released in 2017, will notice a dramatic shift.
The melodic country-folk stylings that carried Crane to victory at the Rural Aid Australia's Rising Star competition two years ago, have been replaced by a more mature and bolder rock sound, which was inspired by Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks.
"I just realised I don't listen to much country anymore," Crane said. "I've been listening to more of the pop-rock genre and I just started writing differently.
"Instead of picking up my acoustic guitar, I picked up my electric guitar and I was getting a different sound. I've spent the last 18 months figuring out my sound."
‘I want to play stadiums,’ was the first thing she told me and I was like, ‘Okay. Yeah, I’m in to help’.Grant Walmsley
Indeed, Crane has done plenty of growing up in the past year. Last year she took the major gamble of quitting school in year 11 at St Francis Xavier in order to fully embrace her passion for music.
Crane then enrolled in WEA Hunter's Diploma of Music Industry where she met Walmsley, the senior teacher of the program.
"I wasn't really happy at school," she said. "I loved being there with my friends, but I just wasn't happy and it didn't feel like it was what I wanted."
Walmsley was immediately impressed by Crane's musical talent and her overriding ambition to become a successful recording artist.
"‘I want to play stadiums,’ was the first thing she told me and I was like, ‘Okay. Yeah, I’m in to help’," Walmsley said.
"Then I heard her sing and play her own songs and was further gobsmacked. She’s the genuine article and is on the path to great things. A very gifted songwriter and musician and only 17 years old."
Soon after enrolling at WEA, Crane turned her attention to recording Don't Take My Mask Off at Gareth Hudson's Hazy Cosmic Jive Studio in November. Hudson and Walmsley co-produced the track with Crane.
"One of the things Grant always says is 'you've got to bleed for people', so basically you've got to give it your all," Crane said.
"I've taken that on. He's right. I don't want to be walked over and I want people to listen to my music and feel something."
Lili Crane and her band launch Don't Take My Mask Off at the Royal Exchange on April 7.