Lisa Hunt is back! One of the not to be missed performers who is sure to wow audiences with her soulful vocals. Candice Rose catches up for a chat.
> Hi Lisa, I have seen you perform live in Byron Bay on many occasions, and I must say- you put on quite the show!
Oh, absolutely! It’s probably my favourite gig actually, because of the location on the beach, the big openness, the crowd. It’s a little magical spot. And always jam packed!
> How long have you been living in Australia?
I live in Byron Bay. Officially, full time for two and a half years. But I’ve been coming here since 1989, so nearly 20 years.
> Where were you from in the US?
I’m from New York.
> What do you love about Australia?
The relaxed unpretentiousness of Australia and its people. It’s pretty unpretentious and cruisy compared to a lot of American cities or European culture. It’s down to earth here, which is quite nice.
> When did you decide Australia was the place for you?
Well, probably for sure a couple of years ago. I’ve always felt at home here since the beginning. I got married here; I married an Australian. I was just cruising along, then I had to make a decision.
> Your accent is a blend of Australian and American …
Yeah, to Americans I sound Aussie; to Aussies I sound American!
> You began with singing gospel in the Church – there is something special about that singing education. How did it influence your vocal style?
I think with Gospel music, because it’s a devotional music, you just learn to give it all. And that’s carried over to every style of singing and definitely in performing. There’s no holding back!
> And you get to learn to hit those high notes, don’t you?
Yeah, you do; it takes a lot of practice. The energy levels get right into your soul … let it rip!
> You and your band are responsible for keeping soul hits alive. Why do you love the era so much?
It’s uplifting, very inspiring, and joyous. People just smile a lot when they listen to it … I smile a lot! It’s the music that stays with me the longest. And even when I travel, it’s always somewhere on the radio. It’s enduring happiness – it makes me happy!
> Do you think you’re a different person on stage to what you are in real life?
Definitely more of myself comes out on stage. I’m pretty similar. When you’re on stage you get all this energy from the audience, then you give it back. It’s another world.
> Do you also compose original compositions?
Yeah, I write about different situations at the time. I’m not one of those writers who wakes up in the morning and goes, “Oh my God! I’ve got to write a song.”
It’s usually on a project, so I have to dip into my life or a political situation. If it’s a soundtrack I have to get inspired by, they’ll show me the piece of film that has to be written or the piece of music that needs lyrics and vocals, and then it starts to create a life of its own.
> Who are some of your favourite performers and why?
Aretha (Franklin) is my divine idol! With her it’s just a pureness of her voice and a pureness of her soul when she sings. I’ve been moved to tears twice in my life by a singer, spontaneously. One was Aretha; the other was Pavarotti.
I don’t know what it is. If it’s a tone in the voice … it’s just there. Then I have favourite rock bands and that sort of stuff. I love Midnight Oil!
> You performed with Midnight Oil, didn’t you?
Yeah, just once. That’s enough to put it on my resumé! I love that kind of great rock performance. I love new people like Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera.
Even though its polished pop, they still have the goods and their vocals. They have new vocal techniques that are very new school and exciting to watch.
> You also auditioned for Australian Idol. How far did you get in the show?
Well, I won for NSW. It wasn’t the normal TV show; it was a contest called ‘My Mum Rocks’. I won for NSW, but at the national contest someone else won. I don’t think they were quite ready for an American Australian dual!
> Paulini (former Australian Idol contestant) complimented you saying, “We’re not the real young divas; you’re the real young diva!”
Yeah, that was amazing! That was the final for the NSW stage of the My Mum Rocks contest. Everyone was all excited.
> It seems you and your band are touring constantly. What is it like to always have a show in the works?
Good, very good for me. As soon as I take some time off, I realise what I’m missing. It’s a release of your soul, of a certain amount of energy. You see new places and get to travel around, hanging out with the boys, laughing and drinking and carrying on.
> What’s on the horizon for your band?
We’re getting booked up right through until June, then I’ll be in Italy for a couple of months, then I come back and we keep going!