By Ben Doy
Lizzie Marvelly has ventured into the world of pop with the release of her first single 'Generation Young'.
Marvelly's two previous classical crossover album's; Elizabeth Marvelly (2007) and Home (2011), both debuted in the Top 10 of the New Zealand Album Charts. She's shared the stage with artists such as Sir Howard Morrison, Paul Potts and Dame Malvina Major to name but a few, and has even been described byPrime Minister John Key as a "National Treasure".
I caught up with Lizzie last week and found out about her decision to change her sound, her new song 'Generation Young' and an upcoming EP.
What led to your change in musical direction?
By the last tour that I did in mid 2012, which I had a great time on, I knew deep down I just didn't love classical music anymore. I'd probably been coming to that stage for about six months. Earlier that year I'd had a meeting with Matt Headland, who at that time was the head of EMI, and we were talking about the next album and what we were going to do... whether it be a love songs album or who knows. And even then it just felt like "I don't know if I can do this" and it just felt wrong. I was sitting there in that meeting half heartedly offering some thoughts about another classical crossover album. Matt just turned around and said "If you are not loving this then you need to go away and figure out who you want to be as an artist and what you've got to say. Cause if you keep going further down this road you're not going to be yourself and you're going to be happy. "
I was really taken aback at the time, but when I got off that tour it really solidified it for me. He was right and I wasn't happy, so that's what kind of triggered it. I went to Fiji for a couple of days after that where I could really think about things, without any distractions where I could just focus on what I really wanted to do... and I just knew I wanted to write. I'd been writing ever since I was a kid, but I'd never really been encouraged to present my own music to be a singer / songwriter really.
So when I got back I started writing and writing and wrote a lot of really crap songs (laughs). Then I eventually started to write some songs that were a bit better... it was a process. Then I started collaborating and kind of fell into pop really.
You've just released 'Generation Young'. When did you write that?
I wrote that in July in Sydney. I went on a writing trip to London in May and that was great, I just learnt so much... both with other artists and songwriters. It was just an incredible intensive learning experience for me as a writer. It felt like my own little personal workshop and was so lucky to be working with these really experienced and talented people.
So by July I felt like I was really starting to find my feet. I went into the studio with a guy called Stuart Crichton and a young singer/songwritercalled Sinead Burgess, who's been signed to Universal Australia. So yeah, we wrote ‘Generation Young' together.
Did NZ On Air help you out?
Yeah, for Generation Young they helped with both the recording and video grant. That was hugely helpful financially and I couldn't have made the song without NZ On Airs help. But also personally, it was really reassuring that a panel had listened to this song and thought "This is good, let's fund it!".
And you've got an EP on the way?
Yes, that should be about about mid year. We're still working on it but it's nearly finished. We done most of the recording for it and the artwork so it's pretty much getting there. It's been really exciting putting it all together.
Do you see yourself staying in Auckland for the foreseeable future?
I think so. I'd love to go overseas for a while, but I really love Auckland. Especially in the last five years as it's become such a cool place to live and there are lots of creative people here. But I find travel to be hugely inspiring and gives you a different perspective on things. So would love to overseas for a while, but New Zealand will always be home.
Any tours in the work?
I'd love to, but it's early days. We're not really quite sure how that's going to take form. I'd quite like to tour around the EP, and then I can get out and play the music for people around the country. So no dates or details at the moment though.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
I've just discovered London Grammar. Their music is great and quite alternative. I'm more into music that is quite beautiful, even if there is some roughness to it. I really like Ellie Goulding at the moment, who records are quite incredible. I love how she uses texture and colour... and pushes the boundaries quite a lot. And for ages I've always liked Bat For Lashes, I think she's incredible.
What do you think of the state of the currently music industry?
I think it's in the best shape that it has been for a little while. It seems to be starting to get itself right. One of the saddest things for me recently was seeing what's happened to EMI... they were my home since I was 17. For a company with that incredible history and tradition, to not really exist anymore and be under Universal, it's a bit of a mind screw for me. But I think labels now play a very different role. They're still very important, but nationally with smaller artists I think the independent scene seems to serve them better. It's an interesting time for music and in 5 to 10 years we'll probably be looking at the landscape and it'll be unrecognisable to what it is today.
But at the moment with the strong amazing female talent in New Zealand with the likes of Lorde and Kimbra. It's crazy, these women who are making a name for themselves internationally.