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Naarm/Melbourne-based indie-pop artist moonsea (Cecilia Xu) unveils her latest single ‘Sensitive’ alongside a heartwarming music video set to release on Friday, October 13. With a unique blend of electronic and pop influences, moonsea’s music is intimate and tender, navigating a spectrum of emotions while celebrating the strength and beauty of embracing one’s sensitivity.

moonsea’s musical journey began after moving from Auckland, New Zealand to Melbourne in 2013 to pursue medicine. While at university, she explored music production and released two EPs under her former alias, Sympholily, titled ‘Lights’ (2017) and ‘Baby Blue’ (2020).

In late 2020, moonsea embarked on a transformative mentorship with Sophie Payten (Gordi) through the Women In Music program. As accomplished doctors and musicians, Payten offered invaluable guidance and profound insights into harmonizing these dual roles. The mentorship paved the way for her new artistic endeavour, moonsea, a name derived from her Chinese moniker, (ocean) (bright). In 2022, moonsea collaborated with Sydney producer Xavier Dunn, a fellow aficionado of classical music, to release her debut single, ‘Lullabye’.

Now, following up her debut single is ‘Sensitive’, a slow-building, empowering indie-pop track that radiates a feel-good, uplifting energy. The track opens with an innocent and vulnerable verse led by keys and moonsea’s feathery vocals as layers of percussion and synths ornament the space. The choruses build with energy like a tentative rebellion before the post-choruses kick in, where the track soars into a euphoric celebration, sweeping you up in swirling guitars like a joyful hug.

‘Sensitive’ encapsulates the power and beauty of embracing one’s sensitivity. Drawing from her own experiences, moonsea acknowledges the challenges of being an emotionally attuned individual yet ultimately celebrates it as a unique strength.

She eloquently shares, “I grew up as a pretty sensitive kid. I would cry readily, laugh unreservedly and feel things fully and deeply. This got the well-meaning adults in my life worried. If I cried every time I heard a sad story, saw a bug get squashed or got told off by a teacher, how would I make it through this life in one piece?”

Enduring the challenge of existing in a world that felt overwhelming, this emotional depth took its toll on her, carrying the weight of what felt like an immense burden. However, over time, she came to a profound realization, noting, “being sensitive could possibly be a good thing, a superpower even. Some of the strongest and most empathetic women were sensitive kids. Feeling deeply allows you to experience the depth of the human experience and connect with other people in a really meaningful way.”

The accompanying music video paints a touching narrative set at the Moonville Talent show, where Cece Moon enters herself ten times, embodying various acts in a bid to impress the formidable judges. From miming to magic, puppetry to rock stardom, Cece Moon perseveres until she finally captivates the judges.

moonsea’s ‘Sensitive’ and its endearing music video epitomize vulnerability, tenderness, empowerment, and inspiration. The song urges listeners to recognize that feeling deeply allows for a richer understanding of the human experience and fosters genuine connections with others. It’s a tribute to the resilient spirit that comes from navigating life with a sensitive heart, affirming that vulnerability is not a weakness but a powerful superpower.

To celebrate the release of Moonsea’s new single, we threw a few question her way to learn little more about her music world.

1 What was the spark which lit your flame for music?
My first instrument was the piano. I was learning the usual scales and grade pieces, but at the same time I was making up songs. I don’t even know what I wrote about that age, probably puppy love and books I was reading. It’s always been my emotional outlet. I loved performing too — we had a little black desk lamp that sat on top of the piano, and I would pull the head of the lamp down and sing into it, pretending I was on a stage in front of hundreds of people. The highlight of my esteemed early career was winning the talent competition primary school with a spirited rendition of an ABBA medley.

2 What was the first music you purchased with your own money?
I’m pretty sure it was Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed A Dream, bought as a Christmas present for my dad. We watched her on Britain’s Got Talent together and my dad absolutely loved her voice. That CD gets a spin most Christmas Eves.

3 What are the main tools you use in your music making?
I usually write at the keyboard and take notes in a paper notebook or on my notes app. Sometimes I like to write music in the car; I’ll set up my phone, put it on record and sing little snippets into it as I make my journey. Hearing it back sounds like listening to a crazy person but I’ve gotten some gems that way. For proper recording, I have a fairly simple microphone setup with a Behringer condenser and my production tool of choice is Logic.

4 How do you balance your day job with your music making?
As a doctor my day job is fairly demanding and doesn’t leave me a lot of time and energy to devote to music. I usually need a day or so to recuperate after a run of shifts before I feel my creativity flowing again. Once it does, I find it’s a wonderful relief to switch my brain to music mode. It’s also very healing to write music about the things I’ve seen and experienced at work. Overall I think it balances out my brain and I’m grateful that I have these two avenues that I can contribute to society and other people, both valuable but so different.

5 A record that changed your life?
Paramore’s self-titled album from 2013 has a very special place in my heart. This record came out at a rocky time in my life; I had just moved out of home and was struggling to find my identity and happiness. It was one of those situations where the music I was listening to felt so adjacent to my life, like it was written for me. It became much more than an album, it was my friend, it had my back and got me through low times. It’s amazing how music can do that. There’s a line from Last Hope that goes it’s just a spark, but it’s enough to keep me going. I held onto that for dear life.

6 What’s your latest recording ?
My latest recording is Sensitive! It’s a song about embracing and celebrating your sensitive and emotional side. I made this recording with Sydney producer Xavier Dunn and I’m really proud of how it came together. I think it’s a cohesive and sonically interesting song that I hope many people can enjoy listening to and relate to.

7 Whats the best thing about being Moonsea the artist? 
The best thing is learning and shaping who moonsea is and represents in real time, together, with the people who listen to my music. I feel it has the potential to go in so many directions, I can use this artist project to express myself in totally new ways and that really excites me.

8 What’s on your gear wish list?
I dream of having a home studio with a soundproof recording booth and an AKG C414 mic. And I don’t know if this counts as gear, but one day being able to have a real piano in my house would be amazing. Maybe a Yamaha baby grand.

9 What would you like your music career to look like in 5 years time?
I would love to have released some longer records (an EP or album, I have so many songs written aching to be heard) and to go on tour, opening for local artists I admire and bringing my music to the stage. The most important thing to me is that my music remains authentic and my own and that people connect with it. I’d also love to continue honing my craft and incorporate more of my classical training by playing strings or keys on my tracks.

10 What would be your dream collaboration?
I have so many dream collaborations I find myself giving a different answer to this question every time. I’ve just recently seen Bastille’s collaboration with THE Hans Zimmer on his song Pompeii. I don’t think anything could top singing one of your songs with a symphony orchestra, in an arrangement done by Hans Zimmer. Ridiculous. Incredible.

11 What would you consider to be your greatest musical achievement to date?
That would be the two songs I’ve released so far, Lullabye and Sensitive. Seeing these songs go from scribbles and recordings on my phone to fully realised, produced and released singles in the world is surreal. The best part is when people message me about their personal experience with it and hearing what it means to them. It’s quite a special experience.

12 Do you have any gigs are coming up in the next few months?
Yes! On October 26th I’ll be playing at Penny Black in Brunswick at 7pm. It’ll be a casual gig so come have a drink and hang out.

Follow moonsea

Spotify | Apple Music | Youtube | Triple J Unearthed

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