Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.
AYLA On James Blunt’s Back To Bedlam
My Dad is a real music lover. He brought me up on tapes and CDs from Neil Young, John Denver, Enya and other singer-songwriters that he loved. The message and the melody are important to Dad, and he instilled that in me.
We would always look for music when he took me Christmas shopping, and, when I was nine years old (in 2004), we were sifting through albums again at the local Sanity. We always bought a few, and this particular year’s haul included James Blunts Back to Bedlam. We bought it for my Mum because she loved his single ‘You’re Beautiful’ that would be played on RAGE – which is what I used to spend my Saturday mornings watching.
That single was never my favourite, and to be honest, I didn’t even really like it. It took me a while to let go of that and to enjoy the album, but I couldn’t stop listening. Something about this album really captured me. I loved the stories in the song, and knowing a little bit about James Blunt himself (that he served in the British Army from 1996-2002), made the stories in his songs so much more relaxed and meaningful. I wanted to learn them, and I wanted to understand them.
Dad is a huge fan of records, largely for the art and the words in the packaging. I loved the little booklets in the front of CDs that included the lyrics and other information. I would read them over and over for every CD I liked. For this album, I decided I was going to follow along to the booklet and learn every word. We were away on holiday, and it must have annoyed the crap out of my parents, but they let me go on – just stopping me for dinner. I sat on the top bunk at this cabin for the whole three days we were away and learnt every word to that album.
The reason Back to Bedlam is so important to me, and that I love it, is because it taught me how to appreciate the lyrics and the stories in songs like my Dad had always talked about. It taught me how to look into the meaning, to wonder how the author had come up with that particular phrasing, and to appreciate a cleverly written pop song – which I think all of those songs are. This helped spur on my already existing love for songwriting and definitely helped me to approach it in different, and better, ways. It also taught me how to listen to and love the lyrics in the music I heard from then on.
After the experience of that album, I was able to look deeper into amazing and cleverly written pop albums over the next three years, like Continuum by John Mayer, As Day Follows Night by Sarah Blasko, The Reminder by Feist, Life for Rent by Dido and more. Those years really embedded the love of music and writing into my structure, and began the amazing journey that music is still taking me on today. I’m very grateful for that album, and for my Dad’s love of good music.
AYLA’s second EP Let’s Talk Monday is out on Friday, 12th January, ahead of her East Coast tour for indie nightclub Rare Finds. Catch the dates below.
AYLA Let’s Talk Monday 2018 EP Tour Dates
Friday, 12th January 2018
w/ Royal & The Southern Echo, Asha Jefferies and DJ Tom Bloomfield
Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Tickets: Official Website
Friday, 19th January 2018
w/ Otious, Magnets and British India DJ’s
Penny Black, Melbourne
Saturday, 20th January 2018
w/ Aikonawena, The Longboys and Rare Finds DJ’s
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Tickets: Official Website