If you’re looking for a rising star in the UK music scene, none come bigger than Lisa Wright. Not only has she caught the attention of Nashville, but Lisa has had great chart success with her last two singles and if you see her live you’ll realise just how good her voice is. We were lucky enough to catch up with Lisa last week and grab a few words!
Hi Lisa! We last featured you on Belles and Gals when we showed the video for the brilliant “Back to You”, a song that hit the top ten of the iTunes UK country chart. Tell us all about the song!
Hi! Yeah, thank you so much for the feature. It was really cool seeing the video on your page!
Back To You is about wanting what you can’t have. I wrote it back in America, last year, when I was recording my first EP, Before I Die. It was a really wonderful experience and I loved being surrounded by so many incredible songwriters and singers. There was one day that was really difficult and being out there on my own meant that everything felt heightened so I felt really isolated and alone and I was thinking “What is wrong with me? I’m in the place I’ve always wanted to be, I’m having a great time and all I can think about is going home! Am I mental?”
The UK country scene is fantastic right now and you could literally go to a gig seven nights a week. How does it feel to be part of this growing movement?
It’s incredible! There are so many interesting artists coming out and who are really finding their voices and their individuality now – and they’re all so friendly and eager to write and sing with you so it’s been really amazing getting stuck into that. It’s nice seeing the audience reach expand too. It’s beginning to feel like country music isn’t a sordid secret of a few but a genuine love of a large mass of people – and that’s awesome!
You’ve been described as ‘one to watch’ by the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Being a UK artist, how did that feel?
Surreal. As a UK artist, Nashville is pretty much the holy grail, isn’t it? You think something you wrote in your bedroom won’t be listened to or liked by anyone except your parents so to know they thought so highly of it was bloody incredible and surreal. What was really nice is that they said it was really interesting hearing something a little different so it felt like a good confirmation that I was heading in the right direction.
What got you started in country music? Is it something you’ve always liked, or have come to recently? And what made you start singing in the first place?
Growing up, I was listening to Motown (thanks Mum) so I wasn’t always listening to country as a child. However, I have always been a sucker for a really good story and lyric and it would always be songs like that that really struck a chord with me. Songs like “Vincent” by Don McLean. So, when I heard my first country song (Stay, Alison Krauss), I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard and ever since then I’ve been a huge fan of country music.
And have you got any particular influences when it comes to your music?
Alison Krauss is my main inspiration but I also look up to artists such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder…
How do you go about actually writing a song? Is there a set process?
I wish I could be one of those writers who can pluck out a hit song out of thin air (hello, Holloway Road) but I just can’t. My writing process tends to be really organic and happens whenever the moment is right. I could be walking down the street and a verse will pop into my head or a melody, chorus. I find that if I’m being truthful, that’s when the song ends up flowing quite naturally. It’s really difficult for me getting into the right head space just by sitting down and saying, I’m going to write a song. What shall it be about?
If you could choose the perfect headline gig, where would it be and who would be supporting you?
Oooooh! The Ryman (of course) and I would want Alison Krauss as my supporting act, haha. Mainly because it means I can see her play live.
What was the first record you ever bought – you have to be honest, even if it’s embarrassing!
I swear to you, I can’t remember the very first CD I bought. How disappointing is that?!
However, I do remember holding an Aqua ‘Barbie Girl’ single in my hand and thinking it was the best thing.
And tell us something random about yourself!
I’m a terrible cook. I once made a three course meal for my family and I started with chicken soup (I put too much powder in it so you had to chew it to actually be able to swallow it), then I made chicken for the main meal, (but left it in the oven for too long so it was dry as the Sahara), then I made rocky road for dessert – which was fine but I had an allergic reaction from it!
If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?
Mitch Albom. He’s my favourite author so I think he’d be a great conversationalist.
Last month at the Laura Oakes gig in London there was a surprise set from a new all-female country group called Dahlia. What can you tell us about Dahlia?
Yeah! Dahlia is made up of myself, Jess Roberts and Paris Georgia. There’s no trio out there at the moment and so we met to see what we would sound like together and it really works! They’re both lovely girls and so talented! We’re focusing on getting the right material together at the moment and writing with some amazing artists, so it’s really exciting.
What plans does Lisa Wright have for coming weeks and for the rest of 2016?
Well, I’ve been cast in a musical called Sunny Afternoon so I’m going on tour next month doing that, which is so exciting. I can’t wait! Also, I’m releasing my next EP towards the end of the year so new music will be out soon 🙂