Versatility has been key to Lisa Crawley's career, writes Paula Yeoman
If there's ever any doubt just how difficult it is making a living out of music in New Zealand, ask Lisa Crawley.
The singer-songwriter has put in years of hard graft and has experienced the highs and plenty of lows, some of which get special mention on her upcoming second album, All In My Head.
Take the song Elizabeth - "People asked Elizabeth why she wasn't big time yet ... she felt patronised, wanted to cry but kept her head held high," she sings.
"It's about being a teenager and singing in all sorts of weird bars and doing cover gigs where guys come up and try to grab your bum," Crawley explains. "I've had so many people say stuff like, 'Isn't it annoying how so and so is doing so well and yet you're still here' or 'Oh, are you actually playing the keyboards, love? That's great, keep it up'."
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Crawley picked up her first instrument at the age of 4. Intent on making music her career, she spent her teens juggling musical commitments at high school and church with gigging. Later, she travelled the world, picking up gigs in Japanese hotels, Chinese nightclubs and English pubs.
It's been two years since she released her debut album Everything That I Have Seen. In those two years, she's turned her hand to a raft of jobs, from mentoring students, to touring with Greg Johnson earlier this year, as well as playing keyboards on The X Factor New Zealand - all to fund the new record. "And the rent," she laughs.
Yet, through all the struggles and hard work, there's also been a heap of determination. "You just try to fit everything in, because financially it helps you work towards what you want to do," she says, referring to All In My Head.
The album is an accomplished second offering of snappy, toe-tapping, melodic pop tunes, like Tide Is Low, the aforementioned Elizabeth and What I Would Give, which stick in your head for days.
"Overall, we've gone for a 60s influence - I've been listening to lots of girl groups and lots of Beatles. It's definitely a step up, lyrically and musically, from my last album."
Crawley can't wait to take the record on the road, starting her album tour in Tauranga on September 26 and winding up at the Leigh Sawmill, north of Auckland, on October 13.
All In My Head is out on September 13. Lisa Crawley plays at The Paddington in Auckland on October 5. For more tour dates visit lisacrawley.com