UK country music singer-songwriter Lisa Wright released her debut EP, Before I Die, on September 17. Recorded in Nashville, the EP features four tracks.
The EP opens with title track Before I Die. With a production that compliments Lisa's vocals well the track is certainly a good choice to open the EP. Lisa delivers a passionate vocal that tells the listener just how dear the track is to her. It is during this song that Lisa's song-writing seems to be at it's strongest, focused around "I wanna live before I die", the track is anchored by a strong chorus and all the aspects of the song combine to create a very strong base for the track and a solid start to the EP as a whole.
I also really liked You Grow But You Don't Change. At first the lyrical melody seems a little odd, tripping over itself slightly, but as the song progresses this grows on you as a listener. The pace behind the track is infectious, leaving you undoubtedly tapping your foot along.
Overall this EP feels like a mixed bag of tracks to me. Whilst I really like Before I Die and You Grow But You Don't Change, I didn't really like Here We Go Again or Girl Like Me. Whilst both songs hold a strong vocal and melody, it feels a little as though the two tracks end up just passing the listener by. All four tracks are intrinsically quite similar and it would have been nice to see something really different from Lisa, perhaps this is something we willhear in a full length album of hers.
1) Before I Die
2) Here We Go Again
3) Girl Like Me
4) You Grown But You Don't Change
I was able to catch up with Lisa recently and ask her some questions...
What first drew you to country music?
There's a home video of me when I was two weeks old and my mum is holding me in her arms. In the background, there was this song playing and whenever we watched it, I would always say 'That song is amazing. Who is it?' and no one ever knew...Years later, at a family party, this song came on the speakers and I yelled out 'IT'S THE SONG!'. I found out it was John Denver's 'Rhymes and Reasons'. If you haven't heard it, it is just beautiful and the lyrics are genius. Denver turned into Dolly, Cash, Alison Krauss, the Dixie Chicks...The more I dug into the genre, the more I realised how incredible it was.
Who would you describe as your influences?
Alison Krauss has always been a massive influence to me. As a performer you can't get much better than her. The voice of an angel. Joni Mitchell, as a song-writer she's on another level! There's a reason why she is considered a legend. Her "Blue" album is probably one of the greatest ever, you never tire of listening to it. My parents as well. This might sound corny but genuinely, my parents. As a woman, I look up to my Mum. She's so selfless and elegant. My Dad makes me aspire to be as loyal as him. There's nothing he wouldn't go for anybody. Together, they encourage and support their entire family and that's something we'll always be grateful for.
You've just released your first EP, how did you decide which tracks to include?
It was hard! Primarily, I chose the songs I felt the most passionate about and had the most ideas about where to go with it...Sometimes it's easier than others...For example, "Before I Die" was written about a week before I flew to Nashville and I knew straight away I wanted it to be in the EP.
If you could open for any artist who would you pick and why?
Well, I really want to say Alison Krauss, simply because I love her so much! I'm in such awe of her. She's just so darn talented. Her voice is like Galaxy chocolate, so smooth. I reckon she's got a few stories to tell too...
Which song do you wish you'd written and why?
"Vincent" by Don McLean. It's one of those where you never forget how good it is but whenever you hear it on the radio, you're always thinking 'man this is such a great song!' Lyrically it's just on another level and the melody is so simple, it's heart-breaking. We get to really focus on his vocal and the lyrics. That's the sound I always love the most. I think that's telling in the songs on the "Before I Die" EP too. When it's just simple, it lets your imagination run around and feels more personal.
Which is your favourite song you've ever written?
You might be able to tell but I do have a bit of a soft spot for "Before I Die". I always imagine someone would listen to it when they're staring out of the window in the car or train or plane. There is so much to do and see. I remember a teacher on the last day of school telling us 'There's a bigger world outside of Romford. Go see it'. However, I think there's a favourite song I haven't written yet. I can feel it, I just need to find the right words. That's a bit cheesy isn't it? Oh well, we all love a bit of cheese!What do you feel is the difference between UK and US country?
It seems like the style is definitely a little softer here in the UK. But that's not a bad thing! I know that there's people who point their finger and say to the UK acts 'you're not country' but...I'm from Essex. Sadly I have no idea what it's like to drive around in a truck, I don't drink whiskey and my southern accent is much less attractive than in their Deep South. So why would I try and pretend I know what that's like? If we were to judge country music solely on those themes then I wouldn't be classed as that and neither would the legends we look up to! Three chords and the truth is that familiar saying, that's the country that we know and love and I think the UK are doing a great job of flying the flag.
What would you say is the best piece of advice you've received so far?
Hmm. Probably 'If someone tells you a secret, they trust you completely. Never break that trust. Don't be that person. Why would you want to be?' My Nan said that. Good woman.Where would you like to see your career take you?
If I was lucky enough to be a performer every day, I would die a happy girl. I hope that one day in the future we get to see a UK country act selling out the O2. If that happened to be me?Then I'm sure I could clear my schedule!Thanks to Lisa for her time! Lisa is undoubtedly a strong addition to the UK country scene, she has an interesting edge to her voice and I'm curious to hear what a full length release from her will bring, it will be interesting to hear how her 'sound' develops!