Following a fruitful song writing session in LA last year, on-the-rise Gold Coast artist Lily Papas has just released her new single, a belter of a tune which goes by the name of ‘Jackson’.
It follows on from her impressive debut release of 2019, ‘Wild’, which well and truly put her on the radar of those with an ear for classy, mature pop smarts.
We’re reviewing ‘Jackson’ in our upcoming New Music column, and we also managed a chat with Lily to discuss the new number and how it came about, as well as her plans post COVID-19 and what she’s about when she’s not in her musical zone.
Congratulations on your new single, ‘Jackson’. When I first saw the track name I was wondering if it was going to be a cover of the Johnny/June Carter-Cash song (also splendidly covered by Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra). And while it turns out to be your own composition, Johnny Cash does indeed get featured in the lyrics. I’m very interested to hear the inspiration for the track and how it came together as your next single?
Thank you so much! It feels so good to finally have another song out after the release of my first track, ‘Wild’ back in October last year. It’s funny you mention that, I was wondering how many people would actually pick up on some of the references in there. Growing up, Johnny Cash was such a huge musical inspiration and influence for me. To cut a long story short, when I was writing ‘Jackson’ I actually used Cash’s Jackson as a basis for the storyline in my song, in particular the line “I’m going to Jackson, I’m gonna mess around”. At the time I was going through some issues in my own relationship, trying to move past some hurt and mistrust that had happened at the very beginning. I think the chorus kind of sums that up perfectly; “If I let this go, could you be the one I dream of?” It’s about letting go of the past in order to move forward and create a future. And because Cash was such a huge influence, I decided to record a cover of the Johnny Cash and June Carter version of Jackson, which will be coming out in early July, so stay tuned!
I understand that you were recording in LA last year and there may be an album in the pipeline?
Yeah that was a pretty surreal experience. I was in LA on a writing trip and that’s when I first met Phil Simmonds (my co-writer and producer on ‘Jackson’). We actually wrote ‘Jackson’ back then and I came back to my team I told them “I HAVE To work with this man, he just gets me!” When I came back to LA to produce my songs with him, we were only meant to record a handful of tracks but we just clicked so well that we ended up doing about 15 songs in two weeks. So yeah, there may be something in the works for later this year, but it just depends on how everything plays out with COVID-19.
How have the impacts of COVID-19 affected you as a musician and what have you done to adapt to the circumstance until things return to normal?
It’s actually impacted me a lot more than I first thought it was going to. I think as a musician you spend your entire life practising and perfecting your art to showcase to people and not being able to get out and perform has taken quite a toll on me, as I’m sure it has on all performers. But I just keep thinking to myself, I’m happy, I’m healthy and there have been so many more people around the world who have been directly impacted by COVID-19. People who have lost their lives, people who have lost family members, lost jobs and my heart goes out to all of those people, so I have to consider myself very lucky that I am still able to do what I love and just find other ways to help get my music out there and be creative at home. Writing new music has been one of those outlets for me so I guess I’ll have plenty of material to release for many years to come!
Outside of music what else inspires you or keeps you occupied?
Outside of my music I’m actually also a vet nurse and still working part time. For my whole life I’ve only ever had two passions, music and animals, so it’s really great that I get to be part of both of those worlds.
The smashing new single from Lily Papas, ‘Jackson’, has just come out through Neon Records / Universal Music Australia. Check it out here.