Keys And Chords
De laatste 20 maanden heeft de Ierse Wallis Bird in haar (nieuwe) thuishaven Berlijn gewerkt werkt aan “HOME”, haar vijfde album (en de follow-up van ‘Architect’ uit 2014) dat in heel europa wordt uitgebracht op 30 september via Caroline Records/Universal. Het album is volgens Bird een als een hommage aan haar partner en muze.
De langverwachte release wordt ingeleid met ‘Change’ een eerste single uit de plaat:
Change' een hoopvol lied, dat gaat over je bewust zijn van en omgaan met je geluk. Change klinkt in eerste instantie aarzelend en twijfelend, maar het openbaart zich al snel tot een lied dat sterke en vastberadenheid uitstraalt.
‘Change is about celebrating my happiness right now. It’s about knowing you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, and moving onwards into the absolute unknown with power in your heart’, aldus Bird.
*Haar Europese Home-tour gaat van start in jan. 2017 en zal ook Belgie aandoen ! Datum TBC.
“Home is a rare example of a record about happiness that succeeds artistically.” Irish Examiner, Ireland
Wallis Bird grossiert in energieke, opgewekte songs. De Ierse zangeres won al twee keer de prestigieuze Meteor Award en Choise Prize in haar thuisland Ierland en door de Britse media werd ze onthaald als een jongere versie van Janis Joplin, of Ani diFranco / KT Tunstall. Wallis Bird is één brok vrolijkheid en klinkt even aanstekelijk als opgetogen. Met haar ontwapenende en energieke podiumpresence maakt ze bij ieder concert nieuwe fans. Wallis Bird speelde reeds succesvol op Lowlands, Eurosonic, de AB en de Botanique bij haar vorige albums.
Home - Wallis Bird had been quietly working on her fifth album for the best part of eighteen months when, last November, she was asked to play a new track. Since her first album, she’d always written while on tour, but, following her last, Architect – which entailed particularly heavy touring, playing to over 25,000 people around Europe and Japan - her management had encouraged her to take a break. The ensuing process had been a joy, but her friend’s request unexpectedly floored her. “I totally froze,” Bird confesses. “I’d been alone in my studio, in my own head, for too long.”
Bird did the only thing she could think of: she set up a show. This wasn’t any ordinary gig, though, nothing like the countless ones she’d been playing since she first started performing in her homeland, Ireland, in the early 2000s. “I figured a 12 hour free concert would fix all the issues I had,” she laughs, but she’s not joking. She stepped onto the stage of Berlin’s Auster Club at 1.30pm on January 9th, 2016, and stayed until the early hours of the morning. Afterwards, she even played two encores. “It was terrifying, demanding, hypnotic, awful, bullshit, funny, sweet, homely, meandering, but ultimately beautiful. By the seventh or eighth hour, my friends had begun joining me on stage, and we tore the place apart! I was OK after that: I learned a lot!”
To most people, such an act might seem unthinkable, but to Wallis Bird, the unthinkable is often what she’s pursued. This is evident on Home, a collection that encompasses a vast range of styles and moods without ever sacrificing the indelible character at its centre. From ‘Change’, which opens the album in a deceptively downbeat fashion before blossoming into something truly joyous, to the serene reflection of the closing ‘Seasons’, via the celebration of friendship at the heart of ‘That Leads The Way’ and the intimate, almost R&B feel of ‘The Deep Reveal’, Bird appears utterly fearless. She even makes space for friends on the irresistibly jubilant ‘Love’, and yet the album’s title track finds her stripping things right back, singing a cappella in the Irish Sean Nós style.
Of course, little about Bird is typical. For starters, she doesn’t conform to artist stereotypes, having spent her childhood blissfully happy in Wexford, Ireland. “I only have great things to say about my growing up,” she beams. “Loads of noise, loads of character, lots of twists and turns, craziness, comfort, sneaking, rowing, hugging… Never any hunger, physically or mentally. My parents let me jump into music and not into college or a job.”
This last fact is, perhaps, even more remarkable given that, at the age of 18 months, Bird lost what could be politely described as an ‘ill-advised’ battle with a lawnmower, resulting in the loss of a finger on her left hand. (The other four were fortunately saved by surgery.) Her reaction was typically indomitable: “I learned to play with what I had,” she states simply. “I was put on this earth to let music channel through my body. If it resonates, I’ll fuckin’ play it!” As soon as she left school, Bird headed towards the Irish capital, and at 23 moved to Germany for a year, enjoying success with her debut single, ‘Blossoms In The Street’ (2006), which spent twenty weeks in the German airplay charts and earned her a deal with Island Records in the UK. She moved next to London, releasing her debut album, Spoons, in 2008, while New Boots, its 2009 follow-up (for Columbia Records), earned her a Meteor Award (Ireland’s equivalent of a Brit) as Best Newcomer. Each release was accompanied by heavy touring, and a third, self-titled album in 2012 picked up another Meteor, this time as Best Female Artist, as well as a Choice Music Prize nomination (Ireland’s Mercury Prize). That same year, disenchanted with London, she returned to Germany and settled in Berlin.
Bird’s last album, her fourth – 2014’s Architect – celebrated this relocation, but while Home picks up where it left off, this isn’t a familiar ‘Berlin album’, with its decadent protagonist found nursing a habit. “Architect,” Bird explains, “was the blueprint to this great life and musical plan I was hatching: ‘girl meets girl, girl falls in love and happy ending ensues’. Home is the happy ending!” Indeed, Home is such a celebration of the love Bird now enjoys with her muse and partner that she not only refers to it as a “thank you letter” but its cover also features the two of them locked in an affectionate embrace. That she wears her heart on her (record) sleeve is perhaps unfashionable, but it’s certainly not uncharacteristic of Bird.
Suitably, Home was largely recorded in Bird’s home studio, then completed at Kleine Audiowelt, near Mannheim, where she’s worked regularly in the past, and after two years focussed on the record, she’s eager to get out on the road again. She’ll launch the album in September, returning to her roots with a series of intimate performances in small venues, and a full tour, taking in around 50 shows across Europe, Japan and Australia, will follow in the winter. It’s unlikely her shows will last 12 hours again, but early opportunities for such close communion seem only appropriate for a record this candid, this colourful, this “full of love”. No wonder Wallis Bird no longer has problems sharing her songs with anyone. Home is where her heart is.
04 Pass The Darkness
05 That Leads The Way
08 The Deep Reveal
10 I Want It I Need It