There’s certainly something in the water in Byron Bay. Over the last couple of years we have seen an abundance of talent emerge from the home of Splendour In The Grass and Bluesfest and take over the world. Ziggy Alberts is adored in Canada and across Europe, Skegss are killing it in the States and Europe and Parkway Drive one of the biggest bands in the world in the metal scene with a co-headlining slot at this years’ Good Things. Now the next one to watch is the super talented sweetheart, Kyle Lionhart. From Byron Bay busker to Nashville recording artist, the lion is taking over the pride, but what we want to know is, what’s the magical ingredient we’re missing?
“There are so many musicians doing it here [in Byron Bay] and it pushes you to be better, it pushes you to write better, pushes you to play better which is really good. You need that outer source which is semi-competitive in a way but still loving, you need that push to be able to be bettering yourself with every song and pushing deeper and being more vulnerable and trying to connect more. It definitely helps me get in the studio and push me to play better, write better,” explains Lionhart.
“I’ve made some of my best friends here in Byron busking on the streets including Ziggy Alberts and Garrett Kato and Tay Oskee and we’ve always worked on each others’ records and helped each other with production and singing harmonies. Practically any song you hear off Ziggy or Garrett or Tay, you can probably hear my voice somewhere sitting in there doing harmonies in the background. It’s been a really creative community with those guys.”
While Lionhart has contributed to their records, he didn’t pull any of them in to help on his debut album, ‘Too Young’ released Friday 20 September. Instead, he jetted to Nashville to immerse himself in the culture while bringing a little bit of his coastal energy to the south.
“The whole record was recorded in Nashville! The walls, the roads, the buildings, everything is bleeding of music history. It’s a pretty inspiring place and also pretty daunting for a little Australian coastal boy going into a place like that as a songwriter because they have the best songwriters in the world being in those hubs, and you’re going there and calling yourself a songwriter, it can be quite daunting. But it was still very inspiring to be there and to be recording over in Nashville!”
To record a debut album in Nashville has certainly set the benchmark for Lionhart for albums to come and what an album it is. With the stunning ‘Sorry I’m gone’ feature Emily Reid and ‘Happy Now’ and ‘Holding On’, this will be an album to top.
“Totally! [Laughs] It’s really insane, I had this conversation with my manager and he’s just like, ‘how did we pull this off? We’ve got a debut album recorded in Nashville with a producer that you really wanted to work with. That just doesn’t happen’. Usually a couple of records down the track you get the producer you’ve always wanted and you record in the place you’ve always wanted to so yeah it’s like I’ve ticked two big bucket list items off my list and I’m kind of like ‘wow’.”
“I’m just so excited for people to listen to it now and just get out there and play the songs on the road which is always the more exciting part for performers.”
Lionhart will be taking the album, along with his vibrant catalogue of tunes and custom-built Fenech guitars on the road this October. You can catch him at The Corner Hotel, Melbourne on Saturday 19 October.
Written by Tammy Walters
Photo by Andre Cois