Melbourne alt-pop darling has garnered her fair share of acclaim over the last couple of years, but as anyone in the music industry will tell you, the long road of a musician can be fraught with self-doubt.

Her latest track ‘Running Second’ deals beautifully with these challenges, a wonderfully-penned message for “all of us who feel that for whatever reason, we aren’t good enough.” It’s that message we wanted to dig into further, and to give us more of an insight into the struggles faced by young musicians, creative types, and just most people in general, Ainslie has written us a personal letter to her younger self with some sage advice.

A letter of advice to my younger self

Dear Teenage Ainslie,

You’re just a teenage dirtbag… No, but I will say, hang on to your sense of humour – without it you’ll feel like dried up kelp, up-tight and chewy. Go with me here.

Revel in the days where you spend hours upon hours listening to Nirvana, The Doors, Jeff Buckley, Tori Amos (thanks Lissy), the Xanadu soundtrack, the West Side Story soundtrack, the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack (thanks Mum and Dad), Mahalia Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Crowded House, Midnight Oil and Hunters and Collectors (thanks brothers Chris and Ash).

Those days where your heart is bursting from it’s chest because of the way these songs make you feel; take comfort in knowing that this feeling will come in and out of your life, and you don’t have to worry about the idea of not ever experiencing it again.

Be grateful that the slight isolation of living out of ‘town’ in little old Table Top means that you spend hours trying to figure out what chords are in those songs, and that those chords will then weave in and out of songs you make yourself.

Cherish the innocence of the age where you don’t have to be fully responsible for your actions, make mistakes and be okay with failing. Embrace how wildly beautiful your ever-changing body is, and remember to keep this in the forefront of your mind however ugly, flat, or unworthy you feel some days.

Feel lucky that you were born in a country that for the most part is safe, and that thanks to the hard work and unfailing support of your parents, you get to have a good education and pursue whatever career you want to. And while I’m here, love your family deeply, but don’t seek out their approval so much; be okay with being a little weird, a little introverted and reclusive – it’s part of your creative being, as you will later discover.

Prepare for the mental wellbeing of your future self by practicing mindfulness; you definitely need to get a head start here. Chew slowly, listen, be grateful for each second, and don’t get caught up in worrying about the ‘what ifs’.

Lastly, know that even though you don’t feel like you know what you’re doing most of the time, the reality is you actually do – you have sharp intuition, something that will continue to serve you well.

Lots of love from your future self,


To soak up some of Ainslie’s inspiration in a live setting, be sure to catch her playing tonight at Sydney’s Landsdowne, and at Melbourne’s Howler next Thursday 20 July in support of her new single, ‘Running Second‘.

Ainslie Wills performs ‘Running Second’ live on FBi Radio