QLD Poetry Festival 2012 is looming large and the program is bursting with stars! One such star, is Brisbane singer-songwriter, Tylea, with whom I have had the pleasure of catching up with this past week to talk about her return to the live stage and the experience of parenthood.
ALS: 2012 has seen you return to the stage after several years away from the sweaty spotlights of beloved Brisbane venues such as The Zoo. How has your life as a mum influenced the way you approach the stage and the songwriting process?
Tylea: Becoming a Mum has totally changed the amount of time I can give to my songwriting. The same motivation and need to write is very much still alive, however, I am have more time constraints and practicalities of family life/work which can come first.
Every and any moment I have to work on music is entirely precious. I used to take the time I gave to it for granted. Now, I simply have to be satisfied, regardless of the amount of time I can give it – even though I would like to find more time to give towards the process of songwriting, as it definitely keeps me balanced mentally.
I still absolutely love performing and I appreciate the “still” time on stage. Many pent up emotions come out into the performing space because that’s where I can allow them to come out. Before motherhood, these emotions used to spill out everywhere and anywhere into my everyday life and be very mentally draining.
ALS: As a new dad myself, I completely understand your new found value of creative time. Have you written any songs that directly speak about your experience of becoming a mum?
Tylea: There actually aren’t a lot of songs I have written which directly speak about my experiences as a mum, but there are a couple which relate to my mother. Once I had my first child, it occurred to me how much my mother gave to us a family and how much we all took her for granted. Mum is a fantastic seamstress and she used to make all of our clothes. She’s a very unassuming, kind and gentle lady. One day we were visiting her in Bundaberg and she was making my daughter a pair of pyjamas. She came out of the house to where we were sitting on the back patio, stretching the waist band of the pants she was making, and she said, “Tylea, do you think these will be too tight, or too loose?” Well, those words ended up becoming a song lyric and is an ode to her. All she has ever done, is to try and please us.
ALS: I have seen you perform many times and it is also an emotional experience for the audience. As a performer, you have an incredible ability to draw the audience in and break down the barrier that the stage can sometimes create. I imagine that this can be exhausting, but at the same time incredibly uplifting. Are there any gigs for you that stand out as particularly memorable?
Tylea: I guess everytime I am on stage, I look it as an opportunity to connect with people and to make friends and understand others. There are a few occasions where I have felt absolutely floored because it’s seems as if I haven’t connected with anyone after I have cried my guts out.
I used to run a very short lived songwriters club in a share house in Morrisey St Brisbane with my flatmates in the mid 90’s. It took weeks to clean up and paint the space, and prepare it into a mini venue called Klub Kaos. My flatmates made curry, we bought beer, hired a PA. I got to perform at the first show and remember everyone being quiet, still and being in the same space. I played on a stage I’d made out of packing pallets. The best feeling was from bringing all of our friends together …. The high I felt from that little gig is something I have always remembered.