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Byron Shire
June 20, 2021

Going to Churchill

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A few years back when Troubadour Kim Churchill had his heart broken he bought a van and took to the highway. With a passion for rhythm and blues and a love of the open road, Churchill has gone on to find his way into the hearts of music lovers across the globe.

From his beginnings as a busker to signing with Warner, recording his new album in Vancouver, things are moving fast for this gypsy boy.

kim-churchill-orangeKim, what did you learn as a busker that you now take with you into the studio and on stage? 

How to let things be fluid and jam with myself.

That spark and magic that is often inside the first few takes of a new song is hard to keep over time. The song begins to harden and callous, though your skills at playing it do sharpen. Keeping those initial sparks and magic are easy with busking because there is no pressure.

You just do what you want and this allows the song and performance to constantly reinvent itself and evolve. For me, anyway.

How did winning the Bluesfest busking contest affect your career? 

A few important people learned who I was, and they have helped me constantly.

Bluesfest is like a musical home for me and really gave a me a lot of the confidence I needed to keep going through some of the more scary international stuff.

What are the greatest challenges you have had to overcome as a musician? 

Accepting myself for what I am and not trying to be something I’m not.

Who are the people or artists that you draw on for inspiration? 

Neil Young, Jimmy Page, Justin Vernon, Chris Martin, Bob Dylan, John Butler.

Tell me a little about your songwriting process – how you work a song up from an idea to something that sits on an album or is sung in a show. 

Everyone is different.

The process on my part is more about noticing the opportunity in whatever form it comes to me and making time for it to flower and become a reality.

As long as I am feeling inspired and enjoying myself then I know it’s coming about in the right way. Sometimes it takes five minutes, sometimes years.

Sometimes it’s a concept and an underlying message, sometimes it’s a melodic idea or a hook. I never quite know what to expect, but really just hang on and try to get down as much of it as I can before it floats back into the abyss.

How is surfing and the ocean a part of your creative process? 

Teaches me to be patient and to deal with something that is fluid and always changing.

What was it like working on your new album Silence/Win with producer Warne Livesey? Is it hard to hand over control to someone else?

It was always very hard for me to do this until the moment I met Warne. He is incredible at what he does and I sensed that immediately.

Beyond that I think I had reached a point where I was a bit sick of seeing things I had complete control over. I was really ready for a second opinion and creative partner.

You have spent a lot of time on the road. Is that integral to your feel as a musical troubadour? Do you ever long to stop somewhere and put down roots? 

Nope. I always move.

Don’t know how to stop, really. I think it helps keep my creative palette loaded with new colours and inspiration. One day I’m sure staying still will have the same effect.

What are you looking forward to at the moment? 

Colca Canyon, Peru. I’m trekking there in the morning.

What should we expect for your show at Mullumbimby Music Festival? 

The fewer expectations one has the better, I think. I certainly don’t know what to expect from it. Though I have had lovely experiences with the people from the Mullum area and I’m sure it will be fun.


Kim Churchill plays the Mullum Music Festival 20–23 November and Falls Festival 30 December 2014 till 3 Jan 2015.  For more information about either event go to www.mullummusicfestival.com and www.fallsfestival.com.au.

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