Lisa Mitchell is the calm in the storm
IT'S true. Lisa Mitchell's life is a mess. But you know what, she loves it.
After launching her career as a teenager on Australian Idol in 2006, she didn't win but she made a lot of fans.
Mitchell released her debut album Monsters in 2009 and has just released the follow up, Bless This Mess.
Her debut received platinum sales while the follow-up landed in at no.7 on the ARIA album charts last month.
Looking in, you might assume life is all smooth sailing for the 22-year-old singer-songwriter.
Not so, she tells me.
"I find life very chaotic," she says from rehearsals for her current tour. "It's challenging and ever-changing."
But learning to love that is what Bless This Mess is all about.
"It's about loving it all," she says. "Embracing the highs and lows, the yucky things and the amazing things. It's all in your own power."
After the release of her debut, Mitchell hadn't come to terms with the public having access to what was essentially her diary. Songwriting had been a release, but when it's opening your life to the world came as a shock.
So instead, Mitchell put her creative energy into gardening, drawing and creating a blog, lisaslikelist.com.au.
"Making music is what I love," Mitchell says. "But when you're busy, you're really busy. I was doing a lot of travelling so when I was able to go home I was just like, oh my gosh, this is so lovely to have a vegetable garden."
She gave songwriting a rest for six months before realising it was her outlet.
"I had to work out a way where I could write that didn't make me feel that way," Mitchell says.
After reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, Mitchell found exactly what she was looking for.
The main philosophy is that too much emphasis is put on the person as the sole creator. In order to take the pressure off the artist they need to understand the process comes from everything, there's no wrong or right, it is what it is.
"I found that very helpful."
So releasing her sophomore album became a new experience, though she worked again with Dann Hume in the production seat, where she felt open with her emotions and creativity.
And despite the success of Monsters, which earned her an Australian Music Prize, Mitchell says she wasn't feeling too much pressure on the release of her second album.
"I think I fluked it the first time," she says. "Subconsciously I felt a bit of pressure, but my whole relationship with songwriting changed. Now if I write a song I know I want people to hear it."
Mitchell says her favourite on the album is The Land Beyond The Front Door.
"It's a love song about slow dancing in the hallway," Mitchell says. "My boyfriend and I were dancing in the hallway one night and it really inspired me to write a song."
Lisa Mitchell: Byron Bay Community Centre, Monday, 7.30pm. $33 at the door or $27 from byroncentre.com.au.