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.
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.)