IT is often said one needs to experience pain in life in order to sing jazz with conviction.
Over the past year Newcastle jazz singer-composer Leilani Wagner has endured that heartbreak following a painful relationship breakdown and the loss of her religious faith.
Eventually the 20-year-old discovered a new sense of freedom and maturity and she’s channeled that into her debut EP Fallen From Grace, featuring five originals and two covers.
“At the end of 2016 and start of 2017 I went through a pretty bad break up and that inspired a lot of songs, which also had to do with an intense struggle I was having with my faith,” Wagner said.
“I used to be a devout Christian and I’m not really sure what I am any more. The break up and the faith were related, so a lot of the songs are about my heartbreak and sadness.
“Although the songs are much more upbeat than I tended.”
Wagner is about to begin her final year of a jazz performance degree at the Australian National University in Canberra, and the former Hunter School of Performing Arts student said the EP was the result of her expanded education.
“I really want to be jazz vocalist as I progress,” she said. “What came out of this EP is it really conveys how I’m developing as a musician. When I started I was very pop focused and didn’t really touch jazz at all.
“Over the two years I’ve really expanded my repertoire and this is my first experimentation with jazz.”
Wagner’s immediate focus is touring Fallen From Grace across the east coast. The tour will include her debut performance at Newcastle’s The Underground at the Grand Hotel on February 20.
REMEMBER Powerage? Those Maitland school kids who placed second in the Global Battle Of The Bands in London in 2008.
They’ve since become The Crawford Brothers, Ben and Zac, and they’re all grown up and chasing the high life and a pop hit. Last week they released their single Highlife accompanied by a slick video clip featuring fast cars, yachts, bikini girls (including local muso Kylie Jane), fancy hotels and lots and lots of cash.
Highlife also continues the duo’s musical development towards a more commercial sound, incorporating elements of reggae, hip hop and rock.
It’s only taken 40 years, but John Waite is finally touring Australia. The 65-year-old British pop-rocker carved out a successful career in the ‘70s and ‘80s with The Babys and his solo albums, before launching glam rock supergroup Bad English in 1987.
Waite enjoyed a US Billboard No.1 in 1984 with Missing You and again topped the charts in 1989 with the Bad English track When I See You Smile.
Waite will perform hits from The Babys, his solo days and Bad English on his Australian tour, which includes a show at Wests New Lambton on March 27.
THE Toronto Hotel is fast becoming the hub for musical entertainment on the western shore of Lake Macquarie.
Fresh from their sold-out Daryl Braithwaite show on Saturday and Mental As Anything gig in November, “The Real Thing” Russell Morris is booked to play the Toronto Hotel on March 18. The veteran rocker has enjoyed a career renaissance in recent years by re-inventing himself as a bluesman.
Morris’ albums Sharkmouth (2012) and Red Dirt Red Heart both won ARIAs for best blues and roots records.
Tickets are available through bigtix.oztix.com.au.
LONG Island punks Iron Chic have chosen Newcastle acts Hey Lady! and Good Thanks as their local supports for their Hamilton Station Hotel show on February 3.
Hey Lady! are no strangers to warming up the crowd for major acts. Since forming in 2011 the all-female two-piece have supported Jebediah, Kingswood, Adalita and The Superjesus.
However, it’ll be major opportunity for Good Thanks, who only formed in late 2017 and recently released their debut single How Do You Feel Now?
THERE was a nice surprise for Novocastrian music fans this week when Montaigne announced a one-off show at the Cambridge Hotel for February 9.
The quirky Because I Love You hit-maker isn’t touring or launching a new single, but is seemingly performing for the pure love of it.
ABC radio royalty Ian McNamara is dropping into the Hunter this weekend to celebrate all things Australia.
People have been waking up with “Macca’s” Australia All Over program for 35 years and McNamara will perform many beloved Australian classics at Belmont 16s on Friday and Nelson Bay Diggers on Saturday.
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