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SPOTLIGHT ON BIRDZ

LEGACY is out now!

Image: Supplied.


Proud Butchulla musician Birdz recently unveiled his sophomore album, LEGACY. We caught up with the musician to unpack the release, working with his collaborators, the impact of live music and more!


Raised in Katherine N.T. and based in Melbourne, as a proud Butchulla man Birdz is renowned for his unique brand of hard-hitting hip-hop embodying strong messages of hope and self-determination. LEGACY provides listeners with moments of hope, empowerment and self-determination, with a particular focus on familial values and the legacy we leave behind. A celebration of the familial linage between a parent and their child, the collection of songs brings generations together with the rappers heartfelt flows and story telling lyricism.


Kicking off at The Lansdowne in Sydney on April 1, the run of shows will continue on to Brisbane, Adelaide and Shepparton, before wrapping up at The Gaso in Melbourne on April 22. The Shepparton leg of the tour will see the musician take to the stage at Victoria’s Land of Plenty Festival. Tickets are on sale now.



It’s been some time between the release of your debut album, Train Of Thought, in 2017, and the arrival of LEGACY now. How do you think that time between records influenced the way you create and the themes you’ve explored on the new album?


I feel like I learnt a lot in the time between albums, as an artist and as a father. My perspective changed and my son really inspired a lot of the music I was creating in that period (he still is). A lot of my music prior to LEGACY is inspired by the journey of those that came before me and the guidance and knowledge they passed down to me. This record is really about capturing where I am presently as a proud Butchulla man and father, the lessons that I’ve learned and wanting to empower the future generations.


The record offers up moments of hope, empowerment and self-determination, with a particular focus on familial values and the legacy we leave behind. What prompted you to explore these themes and how important was it for you to document them on this collection of songs?

As mentioned above, family has been a such a significant part of my journey as an artist. For me, music has always been about sharing my family’s story and representing where I’m from. LEGACY is a continuation of that feeling. I wanted to create empowering messages for my son and our young people. I wanted to share some of the lessons that I’ve learnt as a proud Butchulla man, trying to navigate my way through the world, in hope that it can inspire our future leaders to stand up and be proud.


The record features collaborations with, Fred Leone, Ngaiire, Thom Crawford and Missy Higgins, and you team up once again with Trials of A.B.Original on production. What do you think each of your collaborators brought to their respective tracks….


All the features on the record are artists that I really admire and respect.


As a Butchulla song man, Fred’s features connect the project to our family, heritage and where we’re from. Being family, we have a natural chemistry that I think really translates in the music we create together. More to come soon…


It was such an honour to work with Missy Higgins. She’s such an incredible songwriter and performer - I learnt so much from that experience. Performing together on the Set and then collaborating on my album is definitely a career highlight for me. Legacy Part 2 is one of my favourite songs that I’ve ever been a part of and I think it really captures where I am presently as a father and my mindset looking into the future.


Ngaiire is hands down one of the best voices in the country and I’m big a fan of everything she does. Fly is the kind of epic anthems I always aspire to make and Ngaiire really elevated the song to new heights.


Thom Crawford is an all round weapon – producing, singing, songwriting – he’s crazy with it. We linked up through Trials and created one of my favourite joints on the record. They Don’t Know is a whole vibe.


In my opinion, Trials is the best producer in the country. There really isn’t anything he can’t do. T really pushed me to explore different sounds and genres whilst always reminding me that the common denominator is my story, which is really the driving force behind the record.


Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording this particular collection of songs?

LEGACY was written over the course of two years. Trials would send me beats all the time and I’d try to write something to all of them. Then we’d bounce back and forth on the demos, try different things and roll with whatever felt right. No pressure, no creative restrictions. I really wanted to allow myself the time to grow as a songwriter and not worry too much about deadlines or the business side of things. I gained a certain level of creative freedom during that time and I feel like it really helped me create my best work to date. I can honestly say this is the most proud of I’ve ever been of a project. Every song is special in its own right and is an accurate representation of my story.


How did the album evolve and change as you were creating it, and were there any tracks left on the cutting room floor that you think might have a life in the future?

I had the concept of legacy in mind for a while and I think the main thing that evolved over time was the creative ways I wanted to share that story. Beat selection played a big part and the desire to explore new ground sonically. That’s why it was such a dope experience working with Trials - we’re brothers first and that really informed the whole album making process to be a free flow of ideas and just to have a mad time making music.


Also a lot can happen over two or so years (the pandemic for one). In a weird way, I think lockdown pushed me even more into a creative zone. Music has always been my outlet and during the covid era it’s kept me a float more than ever.

Trials and I never stop writing and we have a stack of unreleased joints - I’ve honestly lost count. It’s just a matter of time before the next batch hits the streets though. Stay tuned…


How important is it for you to embed your Indigenous culture within your music and bring traditional sensibilities into modern soundscapes?

To be honest it’s something that just comes naturally because it’s who I am. I couldn’t see myself creating any other way. My heritage and my family’s story has always inspired my music. As Mob, we’re constantly persevering and adapting to whatever the world throws at us. The one thing that doesn’t change is our connection to this land - we take that with us everywhere we go.


Which song off LEGACY would you play to someone, who had never heard your music, to make them an instant fan?


Bagi-la-m Bargan.


What’s one line from the album you find at times can be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?


“OOOH, we just want our fucken land back!” – from AUSSIE AUSSIE.


You’ll be hitting the road on a national tour next year! What can we expect from this particular run of shows?


I’m beyond excited to get back on the road in April and I can’t wait to share the new record with everyone. You can expect an all new live set, high energy and all round positive vibes. Come rock with us!


What impact has live music had on your career and what are your hopes for the industry moving forward?

Huge. Getting to share new music and connect with people in real time is everything. Not being able to tour and perform for the last two or so years has been really difficult - and not just for musicians but for arts in general. My hope moving forward is that we can get back to doing what we love on the regular and soon. The world needs live music.



RAPID FIRE

Biggest influences?

2Pac, Kanye West, Ice Cube, Dr Dre, J.Cole, Yasiin Bey



Dream collaboration?

Birdz ft. Nate Dogg (RIP). Dr. Dre on the beat.

Album that has had the most impact on you?

There’s so many. 2Pac All Eyez On Me changed my life, though…



How do you define your musical style in 3 words?

Butchulla, Proud, Truth

What was the first song you loved to sing?

Anything by Michael Jackson

Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?

At the moment, the new Roddy Ricch joint Live Life Fast is on high rotation. Also, new Nas is crazy.

First concert you went to?

I think it was Black Eyed Peas…

Best concert you have been to?

Damian Marley

If you could tour with any artist, who would it be?

Kanye West or J Cole

What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?

Never stop. Trust yourself. Family over everything.

The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

When I performed with a band at my High school assembly and then skipped class for the rest of the day because I thought I was cool…



LEGACY is out now!