ARTIST PROFILE | PRESTON SINGER LIZ STRINGER NEARLY LOST TO GERMANY

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by Ben Cameron

 

Maybe it’s linked to the recent premiership success of the AFL team she supports but critically acclaimed singer Liz Stringer say she’s a lot more chilled these days.

 

Just back from a two month, charting-new-territory tour of Canada, the Preston-living, Hawthorn-supporting Stringer is in a reflective mood when she talks to The Northsider. She says the four years between new album All The Bridges, and 2012’s Warm in The Darkness, have mellowed her.

 

“I think I’ve become a bit more philosophical, I’m 36 now, my priorities are probably changing a little bit,” she says.

 

“I’m probably a little less angry about stuff, more philosophical, I’m probably more contemplative. Thinking about the big picture, more than the tunnel vision you have in your 20s, with your head down.”

 

It could also be why she thinks All The Bridges is the most optimistic record of her quintet. Funded by a Pozible campaign (“It was an unexpectedly lovely experience… I really thought it was going to be a nightmare”), she says it’s no grand statement on life in 2016.

 

“There are no real themes, nothing really I was particularly trying to say,” she says of the album which came out on July 1.

 

“There’s a few stories in there, very little of it, if any, is autobiographical. It’s probably a little more hopeful, more upbeat than my other albums.”

 

Germany’s a really easy place to live. If I had been able to work more, I was on a restricted working visa, I might still be there.”

 

She says the two month Canadian tour was a “great teacher”; a tour where she not only broke her phone (“I was devastated… but I feel it was probably a timely reminder for me to slow down and absorb everything”) but new ground.

 

“It was a totally new territory for me. It’s kind of like starting again. Audiences don’t have anything to base you on. There’s a lot of freedom in that, but challenges in people getting to know you from scratch. Getting in front of people is the challenge.”

 

She says the generosity of some Canadian artists helped her book the entire east leg of the tour: “Canadian artists are very generous with their contacts”.

 

Stringer has had wanderlust for two decades. At 16, she first went to Germany on a student exchange, developing a lifelong love for a country which helped her “cut her performing teeth”. No surprises then that she also speaks German.

 

“I really wanted to stay,” she says. “Germany’s a really easy place to live. If I had been able to work more, I was on a restricted working visa, I might still be there.”

 

A muso’s life can open plenty of doors back home too.

 

“I really enjoy getting off the beaten track, exploring the country,” she says.

 

“Regional audiences, as a kind of blanket comment, are maybe a bit more receptive, they appreciate that people come and play in their town. People are so spoilt in the city. Playing music, you have a really ‘good in’ to a community. I wouldn’t have the same kind of access (without it).”

 

Liz Stringer plays Howler on September 17.

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