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Byron Shire
April 16, 2021

Interview with Alana Wilkinson

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Alana Wilkinson plays at Bello Winter Festival

Alana Wilkinson

Bello Winter Music  |  11–14 July

From Doris Day to Led Zeppelin… what inspires Alana Wilkinson

Equal parts vulnerable folk singer and vitriolic poet Alana Wilkinson has been turning heads with the release of her debut single Closer and a string of high-profile shows showcasing her wit, humour, and insightful social commentary.

Seven caught up with her ahead of her shows at Bello Winter Music next weekend.

Your music has a charming, lightness to it. Whom would you credit as your greatest musical inspirations?

Ah gee, thank you. Honestly, growing up with so much music makes it really hard to pin things down! I’m such a huge lover of music and I listened to everything from The Seekers to Led Zeppelin and Doris Day to The Spice Girls. No genre was off limits in my house and so my inspirations came from all over the place. Not very specific, I’m sorry! I am a huge lover of simple pop, complex folk, country storytelling, 50s wartime chords, anything with a harmony party going on and if there’s something really heavy with a double kick, I’m well into that too. Having said all that, my mum is a total badass and she probably takes the cake as my biggest inspiration across it all.

You make songwriting about everyday things look and sound so simple. How do you do it, where did your songwriting skills come from, did you study or did you just kinda work at it until you found your way?

Honestly, I think I am just a giant music nerd! I love all of it. I have probably overthought every lyric and overanalysed every sound of every song I’ve ever fallen in love with. I started playing in pubs in a pop punk band with a fake ID when I was 14 and just loved every aspect of writing songs and singing my guts out performing them. As I got older and really started to work on my songwriting, I looked up to artists like Missy Higgins and Kate Miller-Heidke, whose lyrics said so much more than just the words they had used, and that was what inspired me to dive deeper into lyric writing. For me, I find some of the most important situations or feelings can be simply understood in the most regular of moments and I love that from my teens I have been able to grow my songwriting with such incredible Australian women to learn from and look up to.

This last year you have performed with quite a list of bigger acts – The Pierce Brothers, Bob Evans, Clare Bowditch and The Maes – as well as playing at well-known music festivals. How has that been? 

It’s been absolutely crazy! Playing on festival stages and meeting so many beautiful people is my favourite, and then being able to wander the festival grounds to watch everyone else play is a flippin’ dream. Opening for artists I admire is another big ball of giddiness that I don’t know how to keep still; it’s a really lovely thing to call a job and I count my lucky chickens every day.

You’re playing at the Bello Winter Music Festival. What can your fans expect from your shows at the festival?

Yes! So looking forward being back in your sunny neck of the woods! My show is ultimately about exploring the weird little back alleys of being a human. The happy, the sad, the funny, the horribly embarrassing. It’ll be a big overshare with a bunch of good feeling. I’m also running a songwriting workshop that will be fun!

Do you have any advice for the young musicians out there who are imagining that one day they will be doing what you are doing and touring around playing music festivals?

Ooooh! Write 100 shit songs, play 100 shit gigs and even though you have days when you feel like you’re not good enough and it’s terrifying… DO IT ANYWAY!

It’s a funny road to travel so if anyone reading this has any questions, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram. We’re all in this together.

Alana Wilkinson plays Bello Winter Music 11–14 July. Tix at bellowintermusic.com

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