LISA MITCHELL ’s career has been bolstered by her appearance on Australian Idol, making it to the final six before being eliminated, but her album Wonder, released last July, has diverged from the show and given her a new name with a sound to go with it.
“I couldn’t help but bring my own influences into the show,” says Lisa, talking to me on the phone in the stairwell after a show in Manchester. “My time on Australian Idol isn’t relevant, but I’m not sick of it. My life is completely different from that.”
Lisa’s agenda for 2010 includes playing the summer festivals in the United Kingdom, an Australian tour in May, a potential show in New York in April and, in her own words, “lots of travelling and gigs.”
Her debut solo album, Wonder, has received a largely positive response. “From the amount of people coming up to me after shows, it must be going quite well,” she quips.
Lisa states that her influences don’t just come from music. It’s evident that Wonder has a magical folk-esque sheen to it, with some reference to the songwriting and structure of Bob Dylan’s songs. “I’m inspired by a lot of everyday things too,” she says. “Like a perfectly boiled egg on toast.”
At only 19, Lisa is a young achiever in the Australian music scene. Is the recognition and reputation too much to handle for someone her age? “I don’t know what this life is like at any other age,” she replies. It might just be the case that her unique music having such exposure is injecting some fundamentally decent music into the mainstream.
Along the way, Lisa has had the opportunity to work with such artists as Clare Bowditch and, of course, Ben Lee. “Ben is a really lovely and very positive man. We ended up writing a song together but it didn’t go on the album. We’ve done nothing with it,” says Lisa regarding her collaboration with Lee.
Aside from the realm of music, there are elements in her music which give hints to her life, especially elements of the fantastical. “I’m fascinated by fantasy. I loved Spirited Away and Alice In Wonderland.”
In a world where Myspace and Facebook are helping young musicians promote their own music, Lisa’s advice to the budding young songwriters of her generation is thus. “Take your time. You’re not under a ticking time bomb. Everything that happens happens, it’s all about fate. Be open and be positive, but you also have to be careful.”
After three nominations for ARIA Awards within six months of her album coming out and a chart position of six, in addition to a Big Day Out slot and her songs being used in commercials and video games, Lisa Mitchell is destined to achieve her goals in the near future, if they haven’t already been achieved
Catch Lisa Mitchell the Groovin’ The Moo Festival on Sunday May 9 at the University of Canberra. Tickets through Moshtix.