Most of us want to forget ever being sixteen. It was such a fucked up age. For me, I was either learning how to properly tongue kiss a boy or threatening to 'run away' from home with nothing but my Nokia E63, a bag full of Impulse spray, and a can of Pringles. But for Lisa Mitchell, sixteen is where it all began.
In 2006 she was blaring her sweet, youthful lungs out in front of Marcia Hines, Mark Holden and what's-his-fkn- face as a fresh-faced teen in the fourth season of Australian Idol.
Now, as a twenty-something herself, Lisa talks to us about her newest album Warriors, her steps into sustainable living and how she maintains her creativity.
As a twenty-something yourself, what advice would you offer to young people who are hoping to pursue a creative career?
It sounds corny, but 'believe in yourself'.
Do you think it’s difficult to maintain a career in creative industries in a world that can often feel driven by the 9-5, suits and ties roles?
Life is a spiral, not a straight line.
Do you think growing up in a small country town inspires you to dream big?
I think I appreciated, or noticed, the richness of the city because I grew up in the country. But I think you can dream big wherever you grow up.
Comparing your music in the early days with your latest album Warriors, would you say that your creative process has changed?
As a human I'm constantly evolving, naturally, and so is my relationship with myself. Therefore how and why I make music is always changing. I strive to stay open and to keep an open heart. It is so easy to close down and get scared of getting hurt if you make yourself vulnerable. I see myself and my creative expression as one in the same.
Is there a particular song from your latest album that you connect to more than others?
Josephine is literally impossible to sing without really feeling it. It sinks me in really quick when I sing it live, so I know I was really hitting on a nerve (of my own) when I wrote that song. It still hits the nerve. That is what I care about in song-writing.
Do you have other ways to maintain creativity in your life other than through your music?
I write long-form, journaling-style. I don't show anyone these. That keeps me trusting myself and reminds me that I don't have to reveal everything to everyone. I don't think that's the goal. I used to think you had to show all your cards, like that was the goal of a great artist. But I now really know that I have to hold jewels that I find in my own heart for a long time sometimes; I need to feed myself first.
Sometimes I never share these with anyone else, sometimes I share them after a year, or sometimes I only need to hold them to myself for a few days and then I share them with others. I've had to really teach myself to do that and it feels really good. It makes me want to share more with others, which is cool.
"I see myself and my creative expression as one in the same."
What’s something that most people wouldn’t know about you?
I have been experimenting with eating and buying only plant-based food and products (e.g. no leather) and it has lasted about 2 years now. I have just started eating eggs if they're local and organic. I didn't want to eat [eggs] for ages because I don't eat my own menstrual blood, so why would I eat a chicken’s?
I'd prefer to have my own chickens. I still don't like animal farming. I think it's really fucked actually. Like, imagine if a woman lived in a cage and was artificially impregnated/raped 9 times in a row and her baby was taken from her and her breasts were hooked up to a machine sucking [out] her milk and then another species made money out of selling it? SO FUCKED!!!
I have no problem with people 'respectfully' using animal products, (e.g. the loved family cow, or pair of happy chickens in the backyard), I just think the 'farming business' expectation takes things to another level which is just horrendous.
If you could go back to your 16-year-old self, standing in front of the Australian Idol judges, what advice would you offer yourself?
You're great. Keep trusting your gut!
If you were a fruit what would you be and why?
If I was a fruit, I'd be and apple coz PCs aren't quite cool enough to go back to.
What has been the greatest lesson that you’ve taken from your 20s so far?
That I should believe in my own weird ideas.
What’s next for you?
An afternoon of rehearsing for my tour, which starts next week. We're playing in London, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam!
Lise xx x
Watch the Warriors video below. It's super lovely. Warriors is out now and can be purchased here.
Kate Neilson is the creator of Twenty Something Humans and really enjoys eating toast in bed. She likes gin and tonics and can always be persuaded to join an event if there is a sweet-treat involved. She can be lurked at @katiepotatierose.