Irish songstress Wallis Bird released her fifth studio album, ‘Home’, in September and will now make her very first trip ever to Australia for a national tour at the end of the year.
Speaking from her home in Berlin, Wallis says the record has already received an uplifting response from fans and newcomers to her music alike. “My intention with ‘Home’ was to give a very stark storyline as to my life, and that brought people in closer as a result,” she says.
“I put in a lot of what I wanted to receive back from it; I put in tons and tons of honesty and love and positivity, more so than I’ve ever done onto a record. Then there’s lots of memory very deep in there, so I hoped that people would be able to make their own memories from it and it turns out that they have, so what you reap is really what you sow.”
Echoing the sincerity of the charmingly heartfelt album, Wallis used a unique and frank method of working out the inevitable problems she encountered while crafting the tracks. In the ultimate act of vulnerability for an artist, she played a 12-hour free concert in Berlin where she used the crowd as a yardstick for potential songs on the album that worked, and those that didn’t.
“Have you ever seen that movie ‘The Blues Brothers’ where they’re playing in front of chicken wire?” she asks with a laugh.
“I’d rate my career experience on that movie, very much so, ducking and diving. It was practically playing in front of people without the chicken wire I suppose, and I was up for that.
“I knew that there were some ideas I hadn’t reached in and found yet so I figured that if I played constantly for 12 hours I’m going to find it, I’m going to find something I hadn’t found before.
“I chose to do that because it would be a relentless amount of searching for a new ideas and it was also a way for me to play it to people and have them say ‘no, absolutely not’, or ‘okay, follow that’. So you’re vibing off people and searching in real time, and being in front of people who don’t have to pay for a ticket, then you get the most extreme critic.”
In December, Australian audiences will have their first opportunity to see Wallis’ energising live performance when she makes her national debut with the ‘Home’ album tour. Being born on New Year’s Eve, Wallis says she’s looking forward to celebrating her birthday on other side of the world, as well as meeting the people of Australia.
“What I’m looking forward to most is understanding what it’s like to play in front of an Australian audience,” she says. “I hear so much about your people and what it’s like and I’ve heard so many different opinions so I don’t know what to expect. So I’m going there as a blank canvas.”
Wallis Bird Shows
Thu 15 Dec - Pelican Playhouse Theatre (Grafton)Fri 16 Dec - The Bellingen BrewerySat 17 Dec - Wauchope Arts ConcertSun 18 Dec - The Metropole (Katoomba)Wed 21 Dec - The Phoenix (Canberra)Tue 27 Dec - Woodford Folk Festival (Sunshine Coast)Tue 3 Jan - Black Bear Lodge (Brisbane)Thu 5 Jan - Northcote Social Club (Melbourne)Fri 6 Jan - Cygnet Folk Festival (Tasmania)Wed 11 Jan - Small Ballroom (Newcastle)Thu 12 Jan - Newtown Social Club (Sydney)Fri 13 Jan - Illawarra Folk Festival