WALLIS BIRD (IE)
Ask Wallis Bird what changes she’s experienced since 2016’s Home, her last album, and she’ll offer a list. “Well, the world’s changed a lot,” she’ll begin, “and I’ve changed with it. The #MeToo movement, ‘Repeal The 8th’, marriage equality in Australia, ‘Black Lives Matter’, Trump, Brexit, the rise of racism, the death of countless musical icons, the environmental crisis… And,” she’ll add, wryly, “I’m 36 now, so I’m officially a woman…!”
The answer’s typical of Bird: short but substantial, as serious as it is witty. She’s released five albums since 2007, performing some 800 shows this past decade, but having surrendered a finger to a lawnmower at 18 months old, the Berlin-based Irish musician enjoys a unique perspective. This is reflected in her two Irish Meteor Awards, Ireland’s annual music prize – mostly recently for Best Female Artist – and her prestigious 2017 German “Musikautorenpreis” (Music Author Prize), as well as two nominations for the Choice Music Prize, Ireland’s equivalent to Britain’s Mercury Prize. More importantly, her response refuses to differentiate between her life and the world’s. This was never more important than on her sixth album, the timely Woman (release 27.09.2019). A daring synthesis of Bird’s songwriter roots and passion for, among other genres, soul, it’s eleven songs long but 37 minutes short: pointed, powerful, and packed with truths and levity. Most significantly, it insists our lives are inescapably intertwined.