Every year the music students at North Metropolitan TAFE put together and release a compilation CD showcasing the talent and diversity of the performance students, with 2017 being the second in Richmond Street Records’ Dissolved series. Bob Gordon checks in with one of the featured students, singer/songwriter, Anthony Lloyd.
Music called to Anthony Lloyd as a youngster, but he almost didn’t hear it at first.
It played in the household as he grew up and he even learnt guitar in primary school. And he was singing… always singing. Mid-teen disinterest kicked in, however, and he stopped playing guitar for seemingly no other reason than well, just stopping.
Some three years later, with school behind him, he picked up the guitar once again – playing led to singing again and singing led to writing, which led to gigging. This time there would be no stopping.
“Ever since I was about 18 I kinda new exactly what I wanted to do,” Lloyd says now. And he’s doing it.
Indeed, it’s a musical life. Lloyd is studying for an Advanced Diploma in Music Performance at North Metropolitan TAFE and works in a record shop. Both are perfect forums for musical cherrypicking. So much to hear… and so much to be inspired by.
“I’ve always loved soul music and I’ve always loved a great voice,” Lloyd explains. “I started listening to people like James Morrison and Paulo Nutini and soul/pop artists, and it kind of brought me back to my roots of Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, stuff like that.
“I love singer/songwriters but especially if they’re soulful singers. People like Jeff Buckley bringing soul and jazz influences into his own. I’ve always been blown away by that with him. That’s probably inspired me to try a lot of other types of music as well.”
Lloyd’s early attempts at songwriting met with the expected mixed results, but determination and an open mind saw his choices (and chops) excel and extend. He’s also learnt that he writes better songs when he needs to and not when he has to.
“I’m one of those people where it’s like I’m either all in or it’s nothing,” Lloyd says. “So I’m always listening to a huge amount of music and in terms of my songwriting evolution it’s all about doing lots of it and doing as much as possible, really. Just trying to get everything out.
“Most of my songs, to me, are quite sad. The only time when I get - in my opinion - my quality stuff out is when I’m going through something at that moment. The emotions kick in and the songs kind of spill out when it’s like that. A huge part of my songwriting is that typical thing of going through something and using it as an outlet.”
Lloyd’s forthcoming debut EP was written in a three-month period of going through something and getting through it. If there’s laments, however, they’re not merely lamentable. There’s a spirit inside the songs that mark Lloyd – who writes on guitar and piano - as an alluring songwriter.
Featured on the Dissolved 2017 compilation CD, the song 95 is, for example, is “a story about someone in my family, but I’ve channelled it as though I’m the one going through it. It’s more of a pop/soul kind of tune compared to the others.”
Those others include a moment of clarity called I Don’t Care Anymore –. “it’s about me being forced to deal with someone. One day I woke up and thought ‘I really can’t do this anymore’. That’s quite a good feeling, really.” It’s somewhat sadder, piano-led and vocally driven.
While Lloyd describes Always On My Mind as “a venting song,” it’s belied by its acoustic, laidback nature. Reality, meanwhile, is a reaction to the climbing tide of extremist events happening around the globe. “What’s going on with this world?” Lloyd seems to be asking before adding, “Get used to it because it’s not going to be changing.”
It’s all wrapped in a soul/pop fusion that has as many possibilities as it does sensibilities. His EP is nearing release and Lloyd knows that it all begins again from there.
“The main thing I hope is for people to understand it like I do,” he notes. “That it gets taken for what it is, rather than what it could potentially be made out to be.
“I want people to listen to the words and therefore hear the songs and the stories.”
With performances from Tom King, Jo Rivas and The Citizens, Sunday Nights, Hasmatt Music, Adarsha, The Trash Doves, The Stank Boiz and K Ridge, Dissolved 2017 is launched at Badlands Bar on Thursday, November 23. Entry is $5 on the door (free for North Metropolitan TAFE music students). Doors open at 7pm. More at www.facebook.com/events/211288906080434/