Interview: Five Minute with Lisabel

BIMM London graduate Lisabel has released her charming album debut titled A Work Of Art. The album was produced at Brother Sun Sister Moon Productions Studio by Nikola Kovačević. A Work of art has seen support thus far from renowned publications including comeherefloyd, Talk About Pop Music, and Clash Magazine. Lisabel does let the influence of other artists cloud her creativity, her resulting sound is reminiscent of renowned acts including Solange, Aretha Franklin, and Erykah Badu

We find out more about the songstress in the interview below. 

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Great question… I think that each person is drawn to a feeling that needs to be explored in depth. As an example, I’m sure that sports lovers find physical exercise and the ‘game’ just as exciting as a songwriter feels when writing a song. I don’t like putting art above all else because each brain and each heart is wired uniquely. I do know that for me personally music stirs emotions that overwhelm me to a point of ecstasy, I can honestly find myself in a different world when I listen to a song that touches me, and I know that I own that feeling as mine and no one else’s. When writing and singing that feeling is enhanced by the fact that I am contributing to sharing emotions. My own emotions, thoughts, and ideas at that moment reside both in my self and in the listener, who of course has the freedom to interpret my message however best they can so that they can emphasize with it. I write music to please myself first and foremost. I then hope it pleases somebody else too! I think that’s the only way anyone can make honest ‘art’.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

The idea 99% of the time! I need to have a message to share to know what’s the best way to deliver it… In a bottle through the ocean or in the sky via wings?

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I have written some of the album’s songs in collaboration with Nikola Kovačević. I admire and appreciate his musical input when it comes to arranging and writing chords. There are so many ways in which music can be written and at times I like to let him decide on how a song or a section of a song should unfold. I trust him completely.

What’s on your current playlist?

Apparently, I make for John Mayer’s 3% Spotify listeners Ahah. I find myself listening to him a lot even though I am not a fan of guitar-driven music. I’ve been listening to a lot to H.E.R, NoName, Hiatus Kaiyote and I always listen to oldies like jazz standards.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

My music is pretty personal, so when I perform I focus most of my energies in the delivery of my feelings. I want whoever is in the room to feel the love if I’m singing about love and so on… I do like to find moments in the songs where I can ask the audience to participate, it’s beautiful to hear someone else singing a line that you wrote. The aura in the room is definitely important to me as it has the power to really make me feel at home and allow me to perform in an honest way, without fear or shyness. I love the phrase: “Sing like nobody’s listening”.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I love jazz scatting and improvisation, so in my songs, no matter how modern-sounding they are or how acoustic and old school, you’ll pretty much always hear some scat syllables here and there. One day I’ll write wordless music performed only by voices.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

The album was recorded in two stages. Eight songs were recorded live at the iconic Konk Studios and six songs were recorded and produced at the Brother Sun Sister Moon Productions studio. In the studio I bring in my demos which are often fully arranged. The arrangements and parts are played in a very simple way as I’m not a drummer or bass player, but they help the musicians to understand which sound and atmosphere I’d like for them to experiment with.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

Yes, it was during my first singing lesson. I had performed for my teacher a song by Beyoncé which wasn’t one of her hits, it’s called ‘Flaws and All’. I still love that song and back then I realized that I really hoped I’d be able to follow the music path. I was lucky to be able to do so thanks to the support my parents have given me throughout!

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Sometimes I keep a crystal in my pocket, Blue Agate is the crystal of the throat (singing) and communication, and I believe in the energies that stones emanate. They help me to channel my purpose in the performance. Secondly, a bottle of Ty Nant water 😉 the best water in the world!

Any emerging artists on your radar?

All of my friends who are doing music like me, their stories, and passion inspire me. Milena, Second Brain, Nikola Kovačević, Luna Haven, .. You’ll be hearing about them!

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Nature, the sky, flowers, people, pain, joy, music, love, love, love…

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I song-write with a basic digital piano, as I mentioned earlier sound to me comes second. I record demos on Logic and give the song an initial sound which will definitely change in the recording process. If I want to use a synth I would record a midi part with a similar sound as to what I have in mind, and then ask the synth master Nikola Kovačević to create a brand new sound on one his analog or digital synths. I love the sound of the Prophet 08 so I often write keeping that sound in mind for a section of the song! There are a lot of synths in my album, out of fourteen songs, ten of them have synth bass rather than electric bass. Nikola plays amazing bass lines and patches beautiful bass sounds with his Moog!

Any side projects you’re working on?

Yes, I’m planning to work on as much music as possible. I’d like to try to never repeat myself when it comes to sounds or even genre, so I’ll be collaborating with different artists and musicians in the future as well as continuing to release music that’s my own.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I think that growth is the key to becoming better at anything. Practice in any craft is certainly important but I’ve noticed that in my case the process of growth is more about experiencing life, listening, and writing rather than just aimlessly practicing to be “better”. It’s a never-ending process and I’m glad I’ll always be hungry for a better result. 

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

Expect the unexpected? I myself don’t know what to expect, but I’m working on finding nice live shows. I’ll be playing my first festival in June which is very exciting! I’ll be recording new music which has already been written… and I’ll collaborate with various musicians! This album, A Work of Art is a project I’m very proud of and I hope it will be heard by people who will find something to take away from it!

Famous last words?

Thank you for allowing me to share my story on your blog!

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