“Here I Am, Who’s With Me?!”: An Interview with Wallis Bird

With two Meteor Music Awards to her name and a musical diversity not frequently seen in music these days, Irish singer-songwriter Wallis Bird has earned herself a slew of fans from all over the world. On a break from recording her new album, she is set to return to Australia in November to take part in Mullum Music Festival and host a handful of intimate gigs around the country.

In this interview, we discussed what fans can expect from her upcoming tour, the inspiration behind her current work in progress and some of the biggest misconceptions behind making a career out of music.

 Wallis Bird



 You’re touring Australia again later this year, only a year after your very first visit. What are you most looking forward to when you tour in November?

Being back amongst Australia again. The people, the air, the starry sky, the food, the music scene, the op-shops, the bars… not to mention the heavenly landscape and the nature. It’s a wonderland for me.

I was blown away by so much of your country. And then the gigs were unreal, extremely loud and receptive, warm, people dived right in and went along, the reception blew me away, so I need me some more of those good vibes!

For those who haven’t seen you perform before, what can they expect?

I aim for a powerhouse of a gig that feels much bigger than just a voice and an acoustic guitar. It’s melodic heavy, percussion heavy. I’m not afraid to make mistakes or a bad joke and overall, I try to make it an experience that leaves you feeling positive or at least gets you listening.

You’re also performing at Mullum Music Festival. How will that set compare to your solo headline shows?

I only know to expect a seriously good festival (that’s been the main review I’ve gotten!) so I’ll just go in there with a blank canvas and do my thing, see what works. It’ll probably jump “straight in there” at Mullum, as festival sets are usually shorter so you jump right in a go “Right, here I am, who’s with me?!”.

I read that when you worked on your last album Home, you performed a 12-hr concert as a way to unblock the creative process. How does performing live allow you to see the bigger picture when you get stuck during the album-making process?

Well, a free concert literally opens the doors to any kind of atmosphere so I thrive off that.
At the end of the 12 hour concert I felt completely emptied and refreshed and inspired. We were about 14 wild people on the stage by the end.  The walls were sweating!

I got a lot of new ideas and a new lust for life from the experience, which was what I wanted. To put myself under pressure to perform at a high level of intent constantly for free 12 hours is humbling and makes you work fuckin’ hard. I want people to want to play, get involved and think “I can do that” inspires me straight away even just to think about it.

(psst, but I secretly might just have a date set for an Australian 13-hour concert … I’m just saying.)

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On Collaboration: Thoughts on Writing and The Publishing Industry

Writing is often seen as a solitary effort, but when you look at it more closely, there are fewer occupations that have more collaboration than the publishing industry.

Sure, the physical process of getting pen to paper may be one that only you can accomplish, but even then there are exceptions, particularly with the advent of writers groups, online forums and brainstorming sessions designed to knock down the barrier that keeps one’s ideas from formulation.

Think about it. While most ideas for a story come from one solitary writer, the development of said story is collaborative from the very start. Before a writer can even think about getting their story on paper, there’s nearly always some form of research involved, and where, more than anywhere else these days does one turn than the most collaborative project of the modern era: the internet. From there, you may find that you need to interview someone in order to get to the heart of the story, before finally getting to the actual writing of it.

And collaboration doesn’t stop there. If writing for publications other than a blog, more often than not, you will find yourself having to work with a proof reader to ensure your story is 100 percent quality before it goes to print [see more about why you would hire a freelancer here]. Once submitted to your editor, they in turn may have to liaise extensively with graphic designers, art directors and even advertisers to ensure your content will truly shine. They may even need to liaise with other writers, or photographers and videographers to ensure they have the visual media to accompany your writing.

jackie blog

Collaboration really comes into its own when your piece is eventually published, as your work will (hopefully) encourage others to share their own thoughts on the subject you are covering, most likely in a public space of their own, and so the chain continues.

This is what I love most about the writing and publishing process – the ability to create something that will spark creativity and opinions in others in a way that you never dreamed was possible when sitting at home mulling over an idea you thought would never see the light of day.

That’s why, in today’s day and age, expression through writing, and the publishing of said writing is so important. It allows us to have a global conversation and talk about things that are important in ways that were once impossible. In this way, it’s the ultimate form of collaboration, giving a voice to the meek and shining a light on topics that were once deemed irrelevant.

[Editor/Author Note: This article is inspired by The Daily Post: Collaboration]

Rachel Rhys – A Dangerous Crossing (Literature Review)

Rachel Rhys plunges into uncharted waters with her debut novel A Dangerous Crossing.

Technically speaking, A Dangerous Crossing isn’t really Rhys’ first novel. Under her real name, Tammy Cohen, she has written a number of best-selling psychological thrillers praised for keeping readers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. This, however, is her first foray into the so-called classic themes of the crime genre, à la Agatha Christie and Patricia Highsmith (to whom Rhys has been compared in other reviews of this book).

a dangerous crossing

A Dangerous Crossing is published by Penguin Random House. Click here for your copy.

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The Black Sorrows – Faithful Satellite (Album Review)

Formed in the early 1980s, Joe Camilleri and his band The Black Sorrows have maintained a special place in the hearts of many a music lover, with classic songs such as Harley and Rose, Chained to the Wheel, Snake Skin Shoes and Daughters of Glory becoming musical gems of the Australian landscape, perhaps even shaping the way we view rock music today. Despite a few line-up changes in the last 30 years, they are still going strong, having just released their 17th studio album, Faithful Satellite.

The album starts off strong with I Love You Anyhow, a soulful, almost jazz-like track which transports the listener back in time, implanting visions of songs once heard in hole-in-the-wall nightclubs in the heads of those who hear it as lead singer Camilleri admonishing his lover for her unfaithful ways.

the black sorrows

Get your copy of The Black Sorrows’ Faithful Satellite here. [Image via Premier Artists]

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Drew McAlister is Coming Your Way

When speaking to Golden Guitar winner Drew McAlister, his excitement is almost infectious. And why wouldn’t he be happy? Last Friday marked the launch of his third solo album, Coming Your Way, which coincided with his appearance at Deni Ute Muster, making the event extra special for the artist and fans alike.

“As far as I knew, I was the only one releasing an album there,” he says of the performance. “It was really cool just to get the album in front of that many people. You know, it’s an iconic festival. Thousands of people show up to that gig and it’s really, really cool. I had a blast. It was so much fun. I purposely didn’t put any of the new songs, except the single [Coming Your Way] in the set because I knew people wouldn’t know the songs. But it was a really cool place to release it, in front of all of those people.”

drew mcalister 2


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Carnovsky & Kate Davies – Illumanatomy (Literature Review)

The minute you open Carnovsky and Kate Davies’ Illumanatomy, you’ll be transported to a technicolour wonderland of scientific exploration.

Divided up into sections pertaining to different body parts, and how they work together, Illumanatomy set to get even the most reluctant of readers interested in science. Combined, it’s an important resource for readers of any age, whether old or young, who are interested in gaining more insight into what makes us, as humans, function.


Carnovsky and Kate Davies’ Illumanatomy is out now via Quarto Group UK/Allen & Unwin. Buy your copy here.

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Nicole Trope – Forgotten (Literature Review)

A mother living a parent’s worst nightmare, a cop struggling to come to terms with her past and a woman allegedly wronged by the justice system. This is Forgotten, the sixth novel by Australian author Nicole Trope.

When Malia left five-month-old baby Zach in the backseat asleep one morning when she stopped for milk, she didn’t expect to return and find her whole world shattered. In the five minutes that he was out of her sight, Zach was snatched. So begins the race to find him before it’s too late. But when all she knows is proven false, who is there to trust?


Forgotten is published by Allen & Unwin. Buy your copy here.

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Wild Belle – Dreamland (Album Review)

Brother/sister duo Wild Belle (otherwise known as Elliot and Natalie Bergman) return with their second album, Dreamland, out now through Columbia Records/Sony Music Australia.

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Image via Artist’s Facebook

Hailing from the US, Wild Belle came to prominence in 2013 with their debut release Isles, introducing listeners to a combination of pop, reggae and West African influences. Their songs have featured in prominent US TV shows and films including Grey’s Anatomy, The Way Way Back and Pitch Perfect – something which has no doubt enhanced their popularity and led to the tens of thousands of fans the band now call their own on social media.

Despite their previous success, Dreamland was my first introduction to the band that is Wild Belle. Vocalist Natalie has a sweet, unassuming tone reminiscent of Julia Stone or Lissie but backed by something of a soul/R & B vibe rather than a more acoustic influence. There’s something earthy and hypnotising about the pair’s overall sound that is unexpected, pleasant and utterly unique.

Giving Up on You is one of the album’s more upbeat song and sure to be a highlight for those who like their music with a bit of a poppy radio ready feel but it was by no means my favourite. Songs that really appealed to me was the ballad-esque It Was You (Baby Come Back to Me) – in which Natalie’s vocal range truly became evident – Our Love Will Survive and Throw Down Your Guns (the latter of which is perhaps the most experimental track of the lot) were winners for me.

Often with a voice that is a little on the softer side, it is my experience that production can drown out the purity within the sound, but happily, that is not the case with Dreamland. From  album opener, Mississippi River to closer Rock N Roll Angel, Natalie’s vocals are never overlooked, often at the forefront of many of the album’s tracks as she casts her spell over the listener and draws them in, keeping them there for nearly 40 minutes and leaving them begging for more.

I didn’t really know what to expect when taking on this review, but after listening to Dreamland, I know Wild Belle’s music is something I want to hear more of. Just unusual enough to stand apart from the crowd, the album is a collection of eclectic tracks set to appeal to those who like their music with a side of chill. Perfect for a lazy Sunday around the house or an impromptu road trip.

Watch Our Love Will Survive music video here.

[Editor/Author Note: This review was written for Outlet Mag. View it in its original capacity via their website.]

Hurricane Fall Talk New Single “Don’t Miss Me”

Newcastle-based country rock band Hurricane Fall (AKA Jesse Vee, Pepper Deroy, Jimmy Hick and Lachlan ‘Dusty’ Coffer) has been steadily making their presence known in the Australian music industry for a while now, captivating audiences nationwide with their high energy live shows.

But it was with the release of their second EP, How We Get Down late last year that the group really began to gain momentum. Recently, I caught up with the guys to talk about their new single, Don’t Miss Me, what sets them apart from other country artists, and plans for their international tour.


Hurricane Fall’s new single, Don’t Miss Me is out now. [Image via Artist’s Facebook]

Congratulations on the recent release of your new single, Don’t Miss Me. What’s your fans’ reaction been like so far?

Thanks! The reaction has been great.  Many people have sent us messages and have been telling us about their own personal experiences with family/friends in the armed forces, so it’s really touched some people which is great.

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Kalesti Butler – Airborne (Album Review)

Kalesti Butler looks beyond the traditional bush balladeer songs that governed her early career with the release of her second album, Airborne.

Having co-written the majority of the songs on this release, Butler has challenged herself to step outside the square and explore all facets of the country music genre. In this, Airborne seeks to showcase the ways in which the 2014 Toyota StarMaker Top 10 finalist has grown since the release of her 2012 debut self-titled album.


Get your copy of “Airborne” via Kalesti Butler’s website!

Airborne starts off with a fairly upbeat tempo, in stark contrast to visions that spring to mind upon hearing the term “bush balladeer”. Album opener You’re Not The One tells of someone in a relationship who believes they are more important than they are, whereas Ride Cowboy has that more traditional Americana storyteller vibe I have come to expect from the likes of Nick Payne (Dear Orphans) and Jasper Shelton Hollis. The slight lift in lyrical quality and musicality between the first and second track gets my attention, and keeps it. Continue reading

Felicia van den End – Sonoro (Album Review)

Dutch flutist Felicia van den End’s Sonoro is an impressive debut album which showcases the young musician’s versatility.

For a 29 year old, Felicia van den End’s musical résumé is remarkable. Considered one of the ‘most versatile flutists of her generation’, she has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and worked with some of the finest musicians, including Jacques Zoon, Phillipe Bernold and Patrick Gallois.


Get your copy of “Sonoro” via iTunes!

Sonoro came as something of a surprise to me. Before listening to this album, I would, quite definitely have told you that a song is not really complete without lyrics and though my music taste is quite diverse for someone in their mid-twenties, I have yet to really delve into the world of classical music. Continue reading