After having burst onto the Australian music scene in 2005 with his debut album Autumn Flow, Lior has gone on to perform at the likes of the Edinburgh Festival, and has in complete contrast won The Screen Writer Song of the Year Award in 2012 for his song “Lullaby” commissioned by the ABC for the much-loved children’s TV show Giggle and Hoot. We caught up with Lior to talk about the upcoming Kidgeeridge Music Festival, his current tour, inspirations and more. Click through for the full interview…
I have been a fan of yours, Lior, since the first self-released album Autumn Flow and also for your writing on Giggle and Hoot (I have a 3 year old, and it’s one of his favourite tunes!). There are so many songs that resonate with me; “A Lift in the Morning Fog” made me spontaneously burst into tears the first time I heard it.
What is your inspiration for writing? Does it come from an internal vortex of inspiration or does it depend on the project? What is your current inspiration for creativity?
There’s a great saying by Yip Harburg who wrote “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that goes “Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought”. For me, a song starts with a feeling and hopefully ends with one. The part in the middle is the great puzzle known as songwriting.
Your lyrics are very connected and the style of your voice is very authentic. Is this intentional? What do you hope the listener will experience from your music?
Thank you. I do search for honesty in songwriting and I’m drawn to songs that have a universality about them. I find songwriting as a medium an amazing artform in the way it can transcend our “everyday existence” and unite people in what is generally a very short packet of time. Ultimately, I write the songs for myself in the sense that they are a diary entry to my life, but if they can serve as a window for someone into their own lives and experiences then I definitely feel a sense of fulfilment of purpose.
The song you donated to Oz Harvest last year – “If You’ve Got Love” – was so upbeat and positive. How was the response? What is it about Oz Harvest that inspired you? Are you doing any more collaborating for Air Land and Sea?
‘Air Land Sea’ is a side project with two of my oldest friends – Tony Buchen and Nadav Kahn, who are artists and music producers in their own right. The project started as three friends who wanted to experience the joy and innocence of songwriting without the pressures or expectations of our respective careers. What we discovered along the way was exactly that connection we had hoped for and ended up recording an album’s worth of songs. We got to OzHarvest through a personal connection and felt inspired by the work they are doing for the community through food rescue and delivery to those in need. It seemed to fit the nature of our project and when they requested if one of our songs – “If You’ve Got Love” – could be the soundtrack to their 10 year anniversary celebration, we were excited to get on board. Shooting the video clip which starred the Sydney Street Choir was a really positive and memorable experience.
How is the current tour going? What have been the stand out moments so far? What are are you looking forward to?
I’ve just wrapped up what has been one of the best and most dynamic 12 months of touring I can remember, from launching the latest album “Scattered Reflections” with a band across major cities in theatres, to regional solo shows as well as a run of orchestral shows. I’m now looking forward to getting creative again and going back to the drawing boards. At the end of every cycle you look forward to the next one….its a seasonal thing. As far as standout moments, I would have to say that singing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the Myer Music Bowl was a pretty incredible feeling.
You’ll be hitting the stage at the Kidgeeridge Music Festival soon – what can we expect from your set there?
The set will be pretty eclectic, drawing songs from across the four studio albums I’ve released. I’ll be joined by a band which features two drummers – Evan Mannell and Bree Van Ryk who are pretty fabulous to watch as well as listen to.
Is there anyone on the Kidgeeridge Music Festival you’re looking forward to seeing yourself?
I’m a fan of Tim Rogers’ solo stuff…I really love his lyric writing.
When on the NSW South Coast is there anything beyond the festival that you are looking forward to doing or seeing?
Well I’ve loved the shows I’ve done at the Milton Theatre….probably the best small theatre in the country, so I can definitely say I’m looking forward to playing there again beyond this festival.
You have had a lot of success and been nominated for, and won, quite a few awards. You recently won an ARIA for best Classical Album for Compassion, the collaboration with Nigel Westlake. Was that a surprise? What are your thoughts on the awards process?
Yes I never thought I would win an ARIA for Best Classical Album. I’m really proud of the collaboration with Nigel and it has been a very poignant and meaningful project in both of our lives, so to be awarded for it was a certainly a good feeling. I can honestly say though that having a real and positive connection with my audience has always been way more important and meaningful to me than awards which are inevitably imbued with bias and politics.
How do you find making a sustainable career in the Australian music landscape? What are the positive and negatives you face? What would you change (if you could/if anything)?
The landscape has certainly changed since when I started ten years ago and more than ever it is about diversifying. Australia has a great music scene and a supportive community but the reality is that it is small and difficult for artists to solely do the one thing. That’s the challenge today…to branch out and do more than one thing in order to keep your career buoyant while at the same time not losing too much focus or diluting the essence of what you do. If i could change anything I would make all the major cities about 2 hours drive away from each other….
If you could perform anywhere in the world, as your next big gig, where would it be and why?
I don’t think I have a Mecca when it comes to performing. The most memorable gigs have often been the ones I least expected to be so. Its a beautifully random thing when it comes down to which shows have that extra sense of magic. I was lucky enough to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York a few years ago, and it was great, but you know…at the end of the day I would take a connected audience in a wooden shack over a pleasant affair in a marble palace.
Lior will be performing at the 10th Annual Kidgeeridge Music Festival in May. You can find out more here: http://www.kidgeeridge.com.au/. And you can find out more about the Lior here: http://lior.com.au/