Lisa Chappell

Lisa Chappell

BandFolkAdult Contemporary

"This album was an absolute calling for me. I had to tell these stories. They come straight from my heart.” – Lisa Chappell "Ven I first started listening to zis album, my heart was all wrinkled and by the time I finished, you had ironed my heart out." Natassia, a Russian reviewer.

Biography

"This album was an absolute calling for me. I had to tell these stories. They come straight from my heart.” – Lisa Chappell

Ask Lisa Chappell to describe her debut album and she uses two words: raw and gentle. “The whole thing is so heartfelt. I listen to it sometimes and think ‘Oh my God’, it’s very fragile,” she says. “But most of all I wanted it to be truthful.”

Chappell grew up in Mairangi Bay in Auckland, New Zealand. Her family were all artistic. Her father is a painter, her older brother is a writer and sculptor and her older sister is a dancer. As a little girl, Lisa wanted to sing and act.

Surrounded by music in the home, the Chappell children grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Joni Mitchell, the Seekers, Nana Mouskouri and the Irish Rovers. “ Which will explain why some of my songs have a slightly Celtic influence,” Chappell says. The first single she ever bought was David Bowie’s “Changes” and her first concerts included Dragon (“I snuck in a pub window!”) and the Split Enz farewell tour (“it was so memorable”).

Chappell wrote her first original song at 18 but had been performing in school musicals and choirs for years before that. Unfortunately, she suffered terrible stage fright and eventually stopped singing altogether focusing on her acting instead. After a successful 15 year career as an actress in New Zealand, Chappell relocated to Sydney to train at The Journey, a full time drama school.

In a bizarre moment, just after she’d performed in a student play, she was approached by a man who turned out to be Russell Crowe’s psychic. He looked at her intently and said, “you’ll sing”. He said, “your voice has been put down and quietened for too long but you need to be heard.” Chappell said she laughed at the time, “I thought that can’t be true because every time I sing, I cry!” But only a few years later, Chappell sure enough, found herself wanting to sing again.

The majority of songs for When Then Is Now were written as she finished up her award-winning role as Claire on McLeod’s Daughters. “I was very influenced by the landscape we worked in just outside of Adelaide. The environment was so harsh. In the summer it could get up to 50 degrees outside and the winters were very cold. I was out in the elements all day but I couldn’t wait to get home and practice my guitar and write songs,” she says.

“One of the main reasons why I left the show was because I was compelled to make this album. For me, it was all about stripping away any characters. I didn’t want to wear a costume or speak other people’s words. I wanted to connect to the audience directly, just as me”

During the writing process, Chappell was drawn to artists known for their strong story telling: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Nick Drake, k.d. lang, Stevie Nicks, Cat Stevens and Eva Cassidy. Two albums in particular influenced her writing, Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice’s O (“I played it every day for six months. It’s so raw and free”) and Lucinda Williams’ Essence (“it encouraged me to just sing from the heart, knowing it’s OK to write very simple songs”).

Once the songs were written, Chappell sold her car to fund a trip to Auckland to make a demo. She teamed up with her guitar teacher Johnny Fleury, a man she describes as “her angel and collaborator” and the co-writer of ‘Pheromone City’. “We worked every night for four months, often working until three o’clock in the morning,” she laughs. “I practiced guitar to the point where I had RSI and had to go to the osteopath!”

The practice paid off. Returning to Sydney, Chappell sent the demo to acclaimed singer/songwriter and producer Rick Price. He liked it, suggesting they strip the songs right back to just Lisa’s emotive voice and a simple piano, cello or guitar accompaniment.

“It was an incredible collaboration. Rick Price is very good at finding the soul of a song,” Chappell says. “Almost all the songs are just one main instrument and voice and many were performed live at the same time. Rick was extraordinary. He is so multi-talented and can play all the instruments.”

Recorded in Price’s home studio in Sydney’s Neutral Bay over a period of three months in 2005, the album captures 10 songs full of intimacy and longing. “You go on a journey with these songs,” she explains. “The songs are lots of little pockets and moments in my life.”

Price says Chappell is a unique talent. “She’s intensely creative and she’s very unique,” he says. “She’s not modelling herself on any other singer, she has her own sound. Her voice has a beautiful natural tone and she sings with a lot of soul. This is a very soulful record in a spiritual sense.”
“Expressing emotion is Lisa’s gift,” Price says. “It’s why she’s such a great actress as well. She can really draw the listener in through the emotion of the character and she does it very naturally.”
On a personal note, Chappell has just turned 37 and loves life as a single woman in Sydney’s Elizabeth Bay. She

Lyrics

Desire

Written By: Lisa Chappell

I don’t want to think, I just want to feel
escape in your arms, splash around in your skin
‘cause you woke me up from a sleep so deep
that now I can’t live not without you

Let me run through the night - release my desire
let my soul scream out loud and take me higher
to the love in your arms ‘cause you set me on fire
let it swallow me whole, let it swallow me whole

I know it’s not right in other eyes
but with just one kiss you set me alight
with just one look you melt my heart
with just one touch you drive me wild

Let me run through the night - release my desire
let my soul scream out loud and take me higher
to the love in your arms ‘cause you set me on fire
let it swallow me whole, let it swallow me whole

Oh desire
oh desire
oh desire
oh desire

I can’t control this heart of mine
I couldn’t do it even if I tried
no I won’t control this heart of mine
I couldn’t do it even if I tried

Let me run through the night - release my desire
let my soul scream out loud and take me higher
to the love in your arms ‘cause you set me on fire
let it swallow me whole, let it swallow me whole

Oh desire
oh desire
oh desire
oh desire

Mother Son

Written By: Lisa Chappell

Lady at the lights, young boy beside her
his silence deafening
driving through the stoplight of her life
now she is heard, now she is seen

Woken from his slumber
their dance began
a lifetime’s length of guilt, blame and shame
laying at each other’s hands

They’d forgotten each other
they’d forgotten how to laugh
they’d forgotten how to hope and be heard
they’d forgotten how to ask

Oh brother, son, oh mother numb
weep those years of tears and set yourself free
oh brother, son, oh mother numb
weep those years of tears and set yourself free

Boy at the lights, Mum beside him
her silence deafening
driving through the stoplight of his life
now he is heard, now he is seen

Woken from her slumber
their dance began
a lifetimes length of guilt, blame and shame
laying at each others hands

They’d forgotten each other
they’d forgotten how to laugh
they’d forgotten how to hold and be held
they’d forgotten how to ask

Oh mother son, oh brother numb
weep those years of tears and set yourself free
oh brother son, oh mother numb
weep those years of tears and set yourself free

Christmas day sinking fast in their handmade cement nest
handmade cement nest.

Love's Around the Corner

Written By: Lisa Chappell

When you feel hope is gone
and everything’s wrong
everything you do creates a storm
hold on, hold on

When the worlds gone mad
you’re living in a frown
everything you do is taking you down
hold on, hold on

‘Cause love’s just around the corner
living a heart-beat away
love’s just around the corner
and when it comes, when it comes
it’s going to stay

When your love’s gone astray
you’re fighting every day
you wake up in the morning
you don’t know if you’ll stay
hold on

When you feel so alone
you can’t believe he’s gone
your friends try and tell you
it’s time to move on
hold on, hold on

‘Cause love’s just around the corner
living a heart-beat away
love’s just around the corner
and when it comes, when it comes
it’s going to stay

Not go away
not go away
love’s just round the corner
just a heart-beat away

When Then is Now

Written By: Lisa Chappell

When Then Is Now When the world stops running and looks me in the eye and starts to answer all my questions why when God is patient and so am I I’ll be happy When life goes simply from a to b and the pearly white flags are flowing free hope not blood is the story that leads I’ll be happy When my teeth stop hurting and my bird stops hissing and my doubts go missing I’ll be free ooh, ooh I’ll be happy When my teeth stop hurting and my bird stops hissing and my doubts go missing I’ll be free ooh, ooh I’ll be happy When then is now when then is now when then is now when then is now When our children's tears are not black stains and our brothers and sisters don’t die in vain when our mothers are free to breathe again I’ll be happy When we breathe in love and not bad air when we call you friend anywhere when our politicians really to start to care I’ll be happy When my teeth stop hurting and my bird stops hissing and my doubts go missing I’ll be free ooh, ooh, I’ll be happy When then is now when then is now when then is now when then is now When our minds expand for more than one right when we speak the words that’ll stop the fight when we all stop and look inside I’ll be happy When the father forgives by the dying daughters side when there’s no such thing as youth suicide when we’re all high on the joy of life I’ll be happy When my teeth stop hurting and my bird stops hissing and my doubts go missing I’ll be free ooh, ooh I’ll be happy When my teeth stop hurting and my bird stops hissing and my doubts go missing I’ll be free ooh, ooh I’ll be happy When then is now when then is now when then is now when then is now When then is now when then is now when then is now when then is now

Discography

"When Then is Now" - Debut Album

Set List

Setlist consists of up to 20 songs including songs from the Album, "When then is now", which are:
"Flowers in the Wasteland"
"Love's Around the Corner"
"Desire"
"Mother Son"
"Noah"
"Pheromone City"
"When then is now"
"Auckland Airport"
"Dancing Hands"
"Midnight Bird"
"Lullaby"