Lily Papas' debut album Encore is out now! We chat to the musician about the record and so much more!
Last month, Gold Coast based singer songwriter Lily Papas unveiled her shimmering debut album, Encore.
Dark, robust and romantic, the record showcases Papas' ethereal vocals across the grandiose body of work, made complete with vocative story telling through her lyrical mastery. Throughout the record, Papas gives a phenomenal vocal performance, comparable to the powerful vocal timbre of Florence Welch, Hannah Reid of London Grammar, with her sweeping vocal laced throughout the album reminiscent of Irish musician Enya.
Conceptually, the record documents emotional and intimate experiences within the singers own life, whilst also telling the tale of a dichotomy of personalities. Sex and sexuality serve as a constant theme woven throughout the tracks, capturing feelings of passion and her journey from teenager to woman.
Papas released her debut single, Wild, in 2019 which saw the singer perform at the AO LIVE Stage at the Australian Open, and reach close to half a million streams on Spotify. Last year, the singer dropped her follow up track, Jackson. With Encore, Papas gives listeners a guide into her sonic soundscape, placing herself as a formidable force in pop music.
Encore is out now! Read our interview with Lily Papas below.
Could you tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey, and your background in music?
I first started singing when I was about 8 years old and found my love of songwriting a few years later when I started playing guitar. Growing up my mum never played the radio, it was all her fav hits from Bowie, Springsteen, Cash and Fleetwood Mac that we listened to, so I think that really shaped my songwriting.
Congratulations on the release of your debut album, Encore! The record documents emotional and intimate experiences within your own life, whilst also telling the tale of a dichotomy of personalities. How important was if for you to explore these themes throughout the record?
Thank You so much! I’m so happy to finally have it out for that exact reason. That was the final step for me, releasing it out into the world so that I can now move on. I pretty much poured out every emotion I've felt for the past 5 years (maybe even longer) , put some music to it and hoped that people would be able to relate on some level haha In all seriousness though it was very important for me that I was as open and honest as possible on my debut album. Not just for me, but for the people that are going to listen to my music. For so long I have felt misunderstood, and that people didn't get me... as an artist and as a person. So on this record I really wanted to give people a very clear image of who I am and what I am about.
Were there any parts that you found particularly difficult when creating the record, being so personal and showcasing your own life and thoughts to the world?
Oh absolutely. Im sure that after listening to my songs its obvious that sex and sexuality is quite a big theme in a lot of them. That was a very scary thought to know that people are going to be listening to me literally sing “oo yeah put me in position” haha but I hope what also came across was that these are most importantly love songs. They are songs about passion, relationships and love, not just sex. It was equally as important for me to write about these things because this record is a collection of songs that were written over a 5 year period of my life and document my journey from teenager to woman. It’s a coming of age story that I hope a lot of people can relate to.
How did you arrive at the overall sonic exploration and sounds present on the record?
I owe a lot of the sonic creation to Phil (the main producer on this Album). If it wasn't for him this album probably would have sounded a lot different sonically. He just brought the perfect mix of all my favourite sounds to this album.
Throughout the album's rollout, we’ve seen some great visuals (images and videos). How important are the visuals to you when it comes to portraying the stories and themes present on the songs?
I think visuals are super important as they have their role in the overall storytelling of a song. I personally, am a lyrics and music person.. I get visuals in my head just from listening to music but the thing I love about music videos in particular is that all of my videos that I have done so far have completely different storylines to what i actually wrote the songs about. I think that adds another level of meaning and depth to the song which is really cool.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording this collection of songs?
Like I said earlier, this collection of songs was written over about a 5 year period so my writing and recording process has been different for all of these songs, which has been really fun for me. Traditionally my process usually begins with me playing the chords on guitar first then writing melody and lyrics at the same time. Once I finish the song, I’ll record a rough demo and then work on the production with my partner (Ike Campbell, who actually co-produced Heaven and Honey) and get that to a pretty decent level before I go back in and record a proper vocal take.
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?
Well the funny thing is.. I was never actually meant to be recording an album! It just kind of happened. I was meant to be doing an EP of 6 tracks and It was actually Phil who was like “No lily, you're not a 6 track artist, you're a storytelling album artist”. So we made an album. We actually made a deluxe version of this album.. so who knows.. If this record does well, maybe just maybe, I'll drop the deluxe version.
If you had to pick three songs off the album to play to someone who had never heard your music to make them an instant fan, which three would it be and why?
Heaven, Party Girl and Encore. I think these 3 songs perfectly showcase who I am. Lyrically and sonically. They are the 3 songs that I hold very close to my heart, probably because they are so personal to me, I still get emotional when I sing Encore and Party Girl.
Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts and why?
I have so many, but a stand out for me has always been Vera Blue. I think what she has done for the Australian music scene is incredible. I also love Wafia, she has such a unique sound and style which I love. Then there's my go to bands like Gang of Youths and Lime Cordial which are such an integral part of the diversity in the music scene.
You launched the album with a headline performance on May 7 at Miami Marketta on the Gold Coast. What can audiences expect from your live show?
I think audiences can expect something similar to the album but not exactly the same (sonically i mean). The thing i love about this live set up I have at the moment is that it rocks out a bit more and I’ve been able to re-imagine my songs in a way to find a nice balance between the sounds on my album and a live sound.
With restrictions easing and borders having opened, will we be seeing you hit the road with national dates anytime soon?
God I bloody hope so haha. I think we’re currently working on sorting some shows for a tour this year but still yet to confirm so stay tuned !
Lana Del Rey, Stevie Nicks, Halsey, Johnny Cash
Random but Post Malone or John Mayer
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Lana Del Rey - Born to Die
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Dark Pop Fantasy
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Hands down 50 Shades of Grey. I need EL James to write another book so I can write the entire soundtrack for the movie.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Big Smooth Cat - Dope Lemon
Best concert you have been to?
Soo hard to pick but probably John Mayer
Last concert you went to?
I honestly cant even remember it feels like forever ago but I think it was Hozier and that was up there as one of the best
Guilty music pleasure?
I am a sucker for RnB/ trap (who isn't though..)
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
Lana Del Rey or Halsey
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
I think Billie Eilish has had such a positive influence on the music industry.. I love genre blending artists in general but she and Finneas have created such a niche sound that has changed people's idea of pop forever.