Brisbane songbird Brianna Carpenter is one of the many singer/songwriters gracing the QPF stage in 2009. I have always been a firm believer that song lyrics are our first exposure to poetic language, so it was great to be able to ask Brianna about the role poetry plays in her songwriting process.
How does a song begin for you?
Mostly a chord. I’ll play a mixture of chords and after a little while I’ll just play the right progression and it all falls into place. Once I’ve got the right chords, the song seems to flow quite easily.
What role does poetry play in the songwriting process?
When I first started writing, I only wrote poetry. It never crossed my mind to turn them into songs until I got a little bit older, probably about 15. So due to my background in poetry I’ve always tried to create lyrics that have the same poetic flavour. It’s a huge part of my songwriting today.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Elton John was a huge influence on me as a young girl. My mother used to play his albums constantly and I was always very interested in the lyrics more than anything else. Although he didn’t write the lyrics most of the time, I was greatly influenced by the way he shaped those words into a song. Another big influence more recently is New Zealand female artist Bic Runga. Her songs are so captivating and her voice is so soothing. I love all her lyrics and the interesting words she uses. She’s not like your normal pop artist. I feel she has more depth to her writing and I strive to have the same sort of depth and purpose when writing.
Nick Cave once said that inspiration is a word used by people who aren’t really doing anything. What’s your take on this?
I agree. It’s so true. There’s inspiration around everywhere and it’s about taking the time to notice those little things. If you didn’t have any inspiration then you’d have to be sitting at home, looking at your walls and just watching the day go by. There was a period there where I was void of inspiration and I think it was because I was too caught up in where my career was heading and I forgot to be creative and just write. First and foremost I’ve got to write.
What are the words you live by?
You only live once
Bubbly and vibrant singer-songwriter Brianna Carpenter writes honest music that is a mesh of Jazzy Pop Folk. With the help of her distinctive vocal timbre, piano chord bashing and guitar finger picking she creates a show that is an intimate and exciting experience.
Brianna has been an extremely busy lass over the past few years including a stint in the top 12 of Australian Idol in 2007. The experience was fantastic and has given Brianna’s career a great boost. Brianna has been recognized for her songwriting potential and received a nomination for the QSong “People’s Choice Award” and shortlisted to Top 10 in two categories over the last two years. To add to this she received a nomination in the Pop Category for the MusicOz awards and was shortlisted for the Apra Professional Development Grant.
Brianna has also the Ambassador for the Hear and Say Centre’s largest charity event – the Butterfly Appeal for the last two years. The appeal helps to raise funds for profoundly deaf children. As Brianna is completely deaf in one ear she really connected with the charity and was happy to help raise awareness. To add to this hectic schedule Brianna has now independently released her debut album “Harlequin” and is currently anticipating the completion of her first official film clip for her song “Jacqueline”.
Watch Brianna perform her song Lies. Listen to more of her work here.
Catch Brianna at QPF 2009:
Saturday August 22 – 6:00pm – 7:00pm
A Canary In Our Throat: feat. Bremen Town Musician & Brianna Carpenter
Saturday August 22 – 8:00pm
A Million Bright Things: featuring a short set from every bright thing on the 2009 program plus a feature set from the awesome Neil Murray
All sessions are held at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brunswick St. Fortitude Valley.
For full program details head to www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com