The curtains are drawn back. With a guitar that looks twice her size, Lissa stands unassumingly on stage. The petite songwriter gently picks the strings of her guitar, opening the night of her latest EP launch with lyrics that sum up her journey thus far; “And as I look inside I see the world that I must face. And although I’m scared to climb through, I know each small step takes time.” The rest of the night is filled with memorable melodies that compliment her intriguing sense of harmony; a delicate world of classically influenced, folk-pop. She carries the audience through light-hearted vignettes into intimate moments of honest reflection. Support act for the night Amanda K. later commented in her blog, ‘…just quietly I thought about popping her into my pocket and taking her home with me...she's just so darn cute.’ With the warmest of smiles and personality Lissa invites her listeners to come on a journey with her, striving to make it an extremely rewarding one for each person.
Despite extensive classical training on piano and having grown up with extremely musical parents, it took a number of years for the little fledgling to find confidence in her abilities. But that all started to change during her uni years in an arts/psychology course. Lissa had the privilege of undertaking a singing class under the guidance of Mr. Percival, one of Australia’s most highly respected vocal performers. It was Percival’s constant encouragement that led Lissa to start taking her singing and songwriting more seriously. Her parents’ birthday gift of a Breedlove guitar enabled her to take her writing in a new direction and her final year in a music honours course opened up the opportunity to do her first gig.
Walking in the footsteps of many other young artists, Lissa’s first gig was at the old and iconic Sandringham Hotel in Newtown, Sydney. Being somewhat enthusiastic and up for a challenge, she formed a band in six weeks and wrote and arranged her songs for guitar, bass, drums, two violins and a cello! Squished on a tiny stage, Lissa with shaking hands presented her songs for the first time to a warm and supportive crowd. Having tasted the joys of sharing her music, she decided that this was the road she was to take.
Soon after, while performing at Sydney’s famous Basement, Lissa caught the ear of respected guitarist and producer Peter Northcote. He offered to record and produce her music and Lissa’s first, self-titled EP was released in December 2008. She continued to gig over the next year at places including the Vanguard, the Manning Bar, El Rocco and several universities and festivals including Festival of the Sun, Port Macquarie. She was also greatly encouraged when she was selected into the Top 30 in the Australian Songwriters Contest 2009.
The release of her second EP ‘small steps – Part One’ (May 2010) was the next exciting project and it is the first in a series of three. Produced by Ro Tombs and engineered by Adrian Hong at Soundport Studios, she also partnered with an impressive, up and coming visual artist Matthew Weatherstone who has painted an accompanying scene for each part of ‘small steps’. ‘The painting helps me to describe my music. It’s warm and intimate, slightly melancholy but full of hope. It contains a quiet delight that is offered to every viewer for their enjoyment.’ Performing to a sold out crowd at Raval in Surry Hills, the launch of ‘small steps – Part One’ felt more like a leap as Lissa’s craft reached new heights and she exhibited a more relaxed presence on stage. ‘I was the most ‘me’ that I’ve ever been! I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m learning to be comfortable with who I am and to let people get a glimpse of that when I perform’.
‘small steps – Part Two’ is due to be released in March 2011. Drawing on influences such as French impressionists Debussy and Ravel and artists like Lior, Fionn Regan, Ingrid Michaelson and Angus and Julia Stone, Lissa will simply endeavor to keep writing songs that touch your heart, make you smile (or even cry a little) and perhaps help discover thoughts and feelings you never even knew were there.