Aussie songbird Lisa Mitchell's breaking new ground

Lisa Mitchell
Lisa Mitchell Contributed

LIKE stepping on to new snow. No footsteps, no markings just pure and fresh snow as far as the eye can see.

This is how Lisa Mitchell describes the prospect of playing live the new tracks from her forthcoming sophomore album, Bless This Mess.

"It's a terrifying prospect but also very satisfying," she says down the phone in her soft, slightly husky voice.

Mitchell first captured our attention turning the 2006 season of Australian Idol as a sweet and shy 16-year old, then went on to enchant us in 2009 with her debut album Wonder.

Now the 22-year-old is back with a brand new record along with a new perspective on music, spirituality and the creative process.

On the road almost continuously since she was 18, she returned home after her last tour, triumphant and yet exhausted with a niggling feeling of "what's next? Is this it?"

"It was almost a little scary and I was asking myself all the big questions, who am I, what do I want?

"Ever since I was 11 and even before that when I was just a little kid people would ask me what I wanted to be and I always answered 'a musician and make an album and tour that album'," she said.

"And when I returned it was like I had ticked that box, achieved that dream.

"You would have thought I would have felt exhilarated having achieved that dream but all I could think was, 'Oh gosh, what next?' I had been so focused on achieving my dream I never thought about what next."

She described the following months as quite dark and foreign, a journey for which she didn't hold a map.

"It was like I had gone beyond the garden gate into this wilderness. I was asking my inner self all these big questions and really questioning what it meant to be alive."

She never questioned abandoning music as that would be like discarding a limb, but she did toy with the idea of abandoning it in a career sense.

"I got back from tour and looked at my piano and guitar and almost felt repelled.

"I didn't want to create anything that people would hear."

A pivotal turning point for Mitchell was the discovery of the work The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.

"It totally changed the way I create, for the better. There isn't that pressure to create anymore as it's not like we have control over it, it comes through us. We just happen to be holding the pen or the brush or be wearing the tap shoes.

"Realising that opened the flood gates and took the pressure off."

This inner and outer spiritual search was also facilitated by the works of Eckhart Tolle, the seminal text The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran as well as an embracing of the present moment.

"I've changed a lot since I was 18, I feel like a woman now, I know that sounds cliche" the songstress says with a small laugh.

Topics:  entertainment music

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