October 2017 Featured Artist: Jim Lawrie
Melting Pot puts the spotlight on artists within the community that are doing something special.
Alt-Country powerhouse Jim Lawrie’s career in music has taken a huge step forward following the release of his critically-acclaimed album ‘Slacker of the Year’ earlier in 2017. We sat down with Jim to speak about life as a songwriter, his specific musical journey and that truly unmistakable voice of his.
Lawrie’s first introduction to music was as a drummer for some other reputable songwriters, which eventually developed into a desire to speak out for himself, and so began his incredible path towards ‘Slacker of the Year’.
“Over the years I just got the itch to do the songwriting thing myself, and listening to a lot of punk music got me into the vibe of wanting to say something,” Lawrie carefully explains. “So, I started out writing a lot of angsty, teen, punk stuff but then moved on to the bitter-sweet, heartbreak, folk stuff that I now play,” he concludes, with a chuckle.
It is certainly true that Lawrie’s current form is far removed from his early ‘angsty’ punk days, as he describes, but many may see this as a positive move for him, as his latest tunes continue to dominate airplay circulation across the country.
He doesn’t, however, limit himself exclusively to the sound he has become renowned for, explaining that music belongs in him with a broad reach and presents different opportunities.
“Everything that I’ve released has been pretty much along the same trajectory, but I’ve always appreciated a whole bunch of music… I did a collaboration with Dorsel Fins recently where we did a lot of hip-hop stuff. It’s something I’ve always appreciated and thought it would be good to try,”
“I think that all types of music have a message that needs to be conveyed, and regardless of the aesthetic; of the style, the message is important enough to that artist to give it to other people, and I think that is a very important thing to recognise about music,”
It is this open-minded approach that no doubt hones Jim Lawrie’s songwriting craft even further. Taking influences and drawing from only certain styles can certainly limit a sound, limit appeal and limit even the things that you can write about. With Lawrie, he is able to create his own music through the open appreciation of all music.
One thing most notable when you listen to Jim Lawrie is his very original vocal style. I certainly can’t think of any other artist to whom I could relate it to, and it is a huge advantage to have that as his trademark. When asked about it, Lawrie expresses his surprise at the ‘unique’ label that gets applied to it.
“It’s a funny thing for me, because it’s just my voice – I’ve always sung that way. Some people that comment on it say it’s a bit ‘Neil Young-esque;’ I didn’t really grow up with Neil Young… One of the first reviews that I got said that I sounded a bit like a muppet… I think it’s a strange thing for people to say it’s unique, because I always just assumed I was singing like everybody else was singing,”
If Jim Lawrie hadn’t landed on the Aussie folk and country map before the release of ‘Slacker of the Year,’ he’s certainly landed there since with tonnes of positive reviews and a good chunk of airplay right across the spectrum of radio for his new tunes.
“It’s definitely a bit of a luck thing,” he explains, in relation to the album’s success; “But also playing in the last 10 years in Melbourne and around Australia, I’ve been lucky enough to accumulate a lot of great people who believe in what I do,”
“With Triple J, it’s always hard for artists to get their foot in the door there, and I was trying for a really long time. I don’t particularly think that Triple J is a measure of success, but it’s also a really sweet pat on the back when they decide to back you.”
Jim Lawrie heads back into a writing phase for the rest of 2017 whilst continuing to showcase his 2017 album around the country in the mean time, with an eye on some festival appearances towards the end of the year.
Check out the full interview with Jim below and a live performance of his song, ‘Dressed for Rain’.
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.
Author DetailsJosh Forner
Josh Forner is a folk/pop songwriter from Melbourne, Australia and Virginia, USA. Forner was born in Melbourne on July 2 1988, and spent the first 18 months of his life there before moving with his parents to the town of Reston in Virginia, USA. At the age of 3, Forner and his mother returned to Melbourne, where he has stayed ever since.
Josh sings of love, primarily (wow, what a shock right?), but also on his list of ‘hot topics’ are politics, famine, poverty and - of course – landscapes: the folk writer’s favourite.
He’s played with some of Melbourne’s stalwarts including Timothy Cannon, Bridget Pross, Mr Brady, Pro Rata, Gabriel Lynch & Kyle Taylor, and has contributed two of his tracks to non-profit compilation CDs in the past.
Josh’s repertoire continues to grow. He released his first album, a 10-track LP entitled ‘Leading to Nowhere’ at The Workers Club on May 28th, 2013. Forner has since returned to the studio to begin work on a 5-track solo EP to be released by the end of 2013. Following that, he has plans for album number two in 2014.