Get excited, it’s Australia’s turn to discover the wildly talented Wallis Bird, a veritable virtuoso whose music transitions from delicate whispers to explosive cries in a breathtaking heartbeat. Wallis Bird’s story is truly remarkable… From a ‘Lawnmower Incident’ as a baby which saw her lose most of her fingers only to (mostly) be saved by surgery, to self releasing her first album which pricked the ears of those at Island Records who signed her almost on the spot.
Over the past 7 years the two-time Meteor award winner (Ireland’s national music prize) and Irish Choice Prize nominee (equivalent of the Australian Music Prize) Wallis Bird has released 3 albums that have charted all over Europe and headlined over 600 shows with over 30,000 people attending her last album release alone!
Now with her new album Home, Bird is finally making her first ever appearance in Australia with a tour that includes festivals and headlining shows. Bird is already well known around Europe for her live performances. Most artists can’t sustain the kind of energy levels that she exhibits on stage. Every performance is characterised by an almost startling passion; one that frequently leaves Bird breathless and her acoustic guitar strings shredded to pieces. Her refreshingly honest, self-effacing manner has endeared her to audiences of every kind, whether her own fans or someone else’s.
Home is a celebration of the love Bird now enjoys with her girlfriend and muse, and refers to the album as a ‘thank you letter’. Take the full-blooded ‘ODOM’ about falling insanely in love, in which she announces “You’re hotter than a hot thing on a hot day” capturing the adrenalised, wild rush of infatuation.
The cosy title-track ‘Home’ is sung a cappella, where Bird promises “I’m not good for you right now, I’m good for you forever”. No one, however, could accuse Bird of having a one-track mind. Home also offers gratitude to the flat-mates she left behind on ‘That Leads the Way’. Then comes the passionate and frenzied ‘Control’, and the playful funk of
‘Fantasy’. Suitably, Home was recorded largely in Bird’s home studio, with Bird occupying the producer’s chair and playing most of the instruments
-Great news that you are heading down here in December just before Christmas for some shows.
Thanks I really look forward to it 🙂
-You are here for a month, have you got some time off to relax and enjoy our country?
Yes we’re free for a few days over Christmas to spend it in the lovely landscape, have a swim, enjoy ourselves as best we can!
-Being your first trip to Australia what are some of the things that you are most looking forward to see or to try?
The night sky in the middle of nowhere. The sea, the food, dancing naked at Woodford, getting pissed with locals, that kinda thing!
-Have you always wanted to be an artist?
The only other thing I have this much interest in, is having fun! Music is my first love, thankfully being a musician helps me live both of my passions! Doing music has always been my calling.
-Who were your inspirations and did you get support from an early age to follow your dreams?
My parents are lovely people with a lust for life so they are a constant inspiration. They’re also mad about music so I was never starved of a good tune – or a hilarious story for that matter! Yeah I got plenty of support from them, even simply in the way that they didnt plague me about not wanting a 9-5. My Pop drove me around for my first couple of years of covers gigs. Effectively he was my manager for the first couple years playing live, then I moved to Germany & I found my own way around and found my current managers and team there, that’s 11 years ago now 🙂
-You are an inspiration to many as a “Lawnmower Incident’ damaged your fingers but you still can pick up a guitar and play. Do you think this incident as made you more determined and resilient in not just your music career but your life?
Yeah definitely, someone feeling sorry for me used to drive me mad, as I didn’t feel sorry for myself, that would make me want to prove them wrong. And I guess for my whole life I’ve taken a pride in surprising people. Mostly because it keeps me fresh. I like to surprise myself, and I’m sure it stems from those early beginnings.
-There is a great review of your music by Rimore from Italy, “On the new album ‚Home’ Wallis Birds is more energetic and positive than ever and occupies that grey area between mainstream pop and indie perfect! I totally agree, is this something that you also agree with?
I’m with that!
-Did you start out wanting to be in a specific genre or did the music choose it for you?
Yeah the music chose me. I’m just a vessel for all this, there’s a bigger thing than my body in all this. I have so much interest in sound nuances and the mechanics of sound that I try sew my life experience and those interests into something you can close your eyes to and feel what I feel.
-Your album release show was attended by 30,000 people! That is massive to say the least! How was that experience for you?
It wasn’t all at one show, that was over the course of a month. But you do realise when you’ve been in front of many people, I took it home with me. It was extremely raw because the songs are completely new, and my god, the audiences for this release were some of the most special and caring and positive driving forces I ever felt on stage. I counted my 30,000 blessings 😉
Ah I see. I have listened to your album ‘Home’. I love the cover. Nothing says it better than 2 people hugging and the feeling of being at home.
Perfect, that’s the exact response I’d hope for! X
–I like Odum the best, (for now anyway!) I like the clapping, the beat and of course the lyrics.
-Can you please choose one song and tell us the background story of it?
Well it’s about electric, adrenaline rush of chasing someone and being almost at your wits end from it, but constantly thinking “you’ve GOT to be mine”, it’s basically howling at the moon, and making a fool outta yourself by being balls to the wall vulnerable – but fuck it- I wanted her and I was gonna get her! (Worked!)
Sweet! In five words can you please tell our readers why they should come along to one of your shows?
Because. It’ll. Change. Your. Life!
Ha! Good one. Thanks, All the best and I hope to catch one of your shows when you are here.
You’re a sweetie Jen, thanks a million! Hope I get to see you then xxx
Now as Bird prepares to launch the album, she’s also readying herself for a long tour across Europe and Japan, before announcing herself to us lucky Aussies. This is a show not to be missed.
AUSTRALIAN HOME TOUR
Thurs 15th December – Pelican Playhouse Theatre, Grafton NSW
Fri 16th December – The Bellingen Brewery, Bellingen NSW
Sat 17th December – Wauchope Arts Concert, Wauchope NSW
Sun 18th December – The Metropole, Katoomba NSW
Wed 21st December – The Phoenix, Canberra ACT
Tue 27th December – Sun 1st January — Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford QLD
Tue 3rd January – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane QLD
Thur 5th January – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC
Fri 6th January – 8th January – Cygnet Folk Festival TAS
Wed 11th January – Small Ballroom, Newcastle NSW
Thur 12th January – Newtown Social Club, Sydney NSW
Fri 13th & Sat 14th January – Illawarra Folk Festival NSW
“The sheer visceral energy of Wallis Bird could kick-start an entire economy” The Irish Times
“Frank and endearingly tender, a tsunami of emition… Maginifcent” MOJO, UK
“It’s her humour and bold honesty that makes Bird so special” The Guardian, UK