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Back in 2008, at the age of 28, and prompted by a “little existential crisis”, I started playing guitar and writing songs, with a view to following my long-held dream of being a singer-songwriter. From as early as I can remember, I taught myself to sing, and tried to make up melodies to lyrics I found in books, but I was ashamed of anyone hearing me, so I hid my voice. By the time I’d reached my late 20’s, life had dealt its share of “stuff”, and I felt compelled to overcome my fear, to stop hiding, and to pursue this thing that had lay dormant within me. I only knew a couple of guitar chords, but was inspired by Jewel, who learned to play guitar by writing her own songs. I found this to be true for me, too – I just played around with simple little guitar parts, trusting what sounded right, and relying heavily on my voice and lyrics. I had so much emotion that had previously found no outlet, and the songs came easily and often. I’d never felt such a sense of liberation, or connection with myself; I felt like I’d found myself for the first time ever, and that songs were the truest expression of me. Still, before I could sing my songs in front of anyone, I had to overcome the little problem of my sheer terror of singing in front of people.
Within a year and a half, I’d written dozens of songs, played a heap of open mics (eventually I was able to stand in front of an audience without my entire body shaking uncontrollably), overcome my fear of singing, and released my first album Remnants. It’s bare bones – just me and my guitar. My goal was to write songs that I believed in, and share them with people who connected with my music. When this happened – when people told me that my voice/lyrics moved them, I knew I was achieving what I’d set out to do. I was giving to people what music has always given to me – connection, escape, safety, comfort, solace. To me, that is the most beautiful thing ever!
Having achieved this goal, and with the renewed sense of confidence and purpose that it gave me, I was busting to record a studio album and bring my songs to life with a full band; it was just a matter of finding the right people. Having come to music late in life, I didn’t know other musicians – I’d spent my life in office jobs. One chance encounter led to another, and eventually, in 2015, that album became Divided Heart. It wouldn’t be what it is without the incredible musicianship of Jamie Muscat, Toby Chew Lee, Cam Nacson, Matt Binskin and Hanna Oblikov.
Finally, I had an album in my hands. I was so happy, and so proud!!! But shortly after, I put down my guitar and did nothing musically for about 6 years. After the high of working on my album for a couple of months, all my energy was rediverted to my life, where I was consumed by a lot of personal stuff that I thought would break me, and over those 6 years, it very nearly did.
Then something unexpected happened. I started making new connections; I started getting my strength back, and reaching out to people. Through this, I was asked to write a song for a documentary called Battleground Melbourne. I hadn’t written a song in 6 years! I didn’t know if I could ever write a song again. But as always with songs that have been waiting for me to release them from the prison of my heart and mind, it came easily. The song is called Lions.
Upon its release, so many people contacted me to tell me that they connected with my words; they felt heard; they felt less alone. This connection breathed life into me after so many years of being detached from myself, from my voice, and from others. It reminded me of what my music can give to people; the connection it can create, and the hope it can bring. It helped to re-ignite my long-lost love of performing and singing. After all those years, I started playing gigs, and writing songs again.
Music has saved me countless times throughout my life – whether through listening to the music that has inspired and shaped me throughout my life, or creating songs of my own. I’ve no doubt that my music – like everything – will continue to ebb and flow, but I know that it will be there for me when I’m ready to return.
Lions is now available on all platforms! Divided Heart and Remnants are also available on all platforms, as well as CD, which you can buy here (both complete with lyrics).
Thank you for listening, for connecting emotionally, and to all of you who turn up to my gigs and keep giving me a reason to play!
“Thank you for your poetry, inspiration and courage, breathtaking clarity and complete resonance that sears through the air at every performance. In a simple and uncomplicated way it is a privilege and a blessing to share the space… Have confidence in your ability to reach into an audience with an emotional connection, it happens” – Russ (Numero Uno Fan)