The Making of Lionheart (the album)
ParT 1 // 24•NOV•2021
Whenever I write something, whether it be a melody or some words on paper, I always have a bigger version of what I’m creating, in my head.
I spent many years constructing these songs. Not just any songs, compositions that represent the loss of someone remarkable, the tears of my childhood, and the lifeblood of who I am. When they were finally ready I found myself asking, well what do I do next?
Well the answer.. was to find myself a producer that was able to connect on the level I required; someone who too could hear those chambers of sounds building inside of me and understand the incredibly personal and deep nature of the subject. Someone, who could help turn them into a reality.
Working with Damian Cafarella
When I walk into a studio with Damian Cafarella I know I’m going to get musical transparency, as well as a plethora of instrumentation and top-level engineering and mixing skills.
Damo’s the guy in the chair that wants to be involved with your songs. He wants what you want for them, and knows how to get this.
He’s not afraid to give advice or offer recommendations, and always delivers respectfully and with confidence. At the same time he’s a strong listener, and ‘loves’ your ideas.
He’s also a highly-talented musician. Guitars, banjo, pedal steel, bass, drums, synth, samples.. you name it.. Damo’s all over it. It’s very inspiring to be around and makes you want to lift your own game.
On top of this, he’s a kick-arse recording and mixing engineer. You’ve heard the sounds of the Lionheart single already. That immense ambience and atmosphere. You’ve felt the soft touch, intensity and drive in Doin’ Time. These songs haven’t just been put through a sound-lab, they’ve been gifted with the life and talent of a remarkable musician and producer.
I will forever be grateful to have had the opportunity of working with Damian on this record, and I can not wait for you to hear what we have created in its entirety.
Lionheart will be released this Friday 26th November on all digital streaming services, as well as CD and Vinyl formats.
“I won’t hold my head down low, I won’t cry ’til I’m dry, I know it hurts but I feel your soul, sitting here by my side. I’m doin’ time.”
These are the words that jumped right onto the page as I sat alone in an empty room staring out the window just a few days after Dad’s departure. His funeral was in a few days and my heart was set on performing something significant that would honour his life.
I wanted it to be uplifting. A song that could offer its listeners, his family and friends, a sense of hope, healing and moving forward. That’s what he would have wanted. But I also needed to express how I was feeling.
I’d just said goodbye to my father, a man that inspired me in so many ways. Someone who motivated me to become a better and stronger person. Someone whose legacy gave those around him the gift of never taking things for granted. This would “always be mine”, as would he.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, 'Doin' Time' would become the first of a collection of songs that would evolve into the Lionheart album.
I look forward to offering this next instalment, a raw, yet gentle expression of grief.
'Doin Time' will be released on Tuesday 19th October on all digital streaming services.
The Lionheart Evolution
ParT 2 // 15•AUG•2021
What’s wrong with me? I’ve never felt like this before. Why can’t I do this?
These were the thoughts ricocheting in my head as I walked out of the studio 3 and half years ago following my first attempt at recording Lionheart. This moment occurred all the way back in October 2017, just a few months after Dad’s passing. I went in off the back of a very productive writing period, having written some of the most personal and reflective songs to date.
I had booked in some sessions with a high-profile musician and producer, someone whom I have the greatest of respect for and felt so honoured to be in their workspace. But was I really there? I had a great time, of course, and was blown away by the talent I was immersed in, but I left feeling confused and lacking the energy I would normally exude. I couldn’t find my passion and spent a lot of time mulling over why this was happening.
The simple truth was, it wasn’t my time. As much as I didn’t like it or couldn’t comprehend why, the universe had other ideas.
So I stepped aside for a while and directed my energy elsewhere. I was loving my work as a primary teacher and was in the thick of raising two beautiful boys under 3. My love for music never withered, with my guitar and voice making regular appearances beside the old wooden cot at home and the odd special event or two. But the drive to create and confidence to express these songs was something that had to find me, rather than be found. Little did I know that it would take a world-wide pandemic for this to occur.
During the very first lockdown I decided to perform Lionheart in my living room and nervously share it to the public. I was so blown away by the response. Messages of love and encouragement propelled into my world, and it was the first time in a long time that I felt like I could do this.
My time had arrived, and it felt great to be back.
The Lionheart single is out tomorrow - Monday 16th August - on all digital streaming services.
The Lionheart Evolution
Part 1 // 02•AUG•2021
July 2017. It was a freezing cold winter’s day in Melbourne. A few weeks had passed after my Dad’s departure. The funeral had been and my environment was slowly returning back to ‘normal’. Flat, dejected, and disorientated, I wasn’t ready and I needed more time.
As was the case so many times before, playing and writing songs was proving to provide great comfort. Usually, my songwriting methods would involve strumming out a few chords and playing around with some melodies until something lyrically would click. But not lately, not today.
First strike of the G chord resonated from the timber, through my arms and into my body. Words just flew out of my mouth, as my emotions poured like a winter storm. I sensed his energy moving through me; I knew this moment felt right.
I wanted to sing to Dad. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him and what he meant to me. The lyrics needed to reflect our inseparable bond and my deep admiration and appreciation of his strength and courage.
“Roam freely now, breathe in and roar out, your big old lionheart”
That’s exactly what he was. A lionheart. A man in every measure of the word.
Struck down with the debilitating disease MS at age 39, Dad went on to live another 28 years, withstanding several bouts of pneumonia, septicaemia, and relentless pressure sores along the way.
But it wasn’t just his fight that brought wonder to my eyes. Despite the struggles, the hardship, the setbacks, he was the most caring and loving Dad a son could ask for.
“We could talk and laugh and smile for hours, or just sit in silence, it’s all we ever really knew”
I love this line because it sums up our relationship perfectly. Dad was always home, and we would always hang out. We would talk shit, joke around, watch TV and footy together. He would help me with my school work, and teach me things from his chair, even how to use power tools!! It really was all I knew. This was my experience of having a Dad, and although I desperately wanted it to be different then, I wouldn’t have it any other way now.
I’m absolutely delighted to say that Lionheart, the first single from the forthcoming album of the same name, will be released on August 16 via all digital streaming services.