A TRUE BELIEVER
Laura Izibor talks about why Philip Lynott was such an inspiration to her and the recording of her second album.
“I was in the middle of recording my second album last month when I became aware of a lot of Philip Lynott stuff going on. We had a few hours to spare and I thought I’d love to have a go at ‘Don’t Believe A Word’. It’s easily my favourite Phil Lynott song and when I talked to my band they were well up for doing it too.
I already knew the words straight off, and, amazingly, they all knew the song too. So we got into it very quickly and did a slower version of it than the Thin Lizzy version that kind of turns it into a sad song, with a touch of loneliness in it. I think the first time I heard it was on Thin Lizzy’s Live And Dangerous album. The night we recorded the song I watched an incredible live version of it on-line.
“It was a hard decision to pick just one Philo song out of all the great stuff he wrote, but what intrigued me about recording ‘Don’t Believe A Word’ was that it’s such a ‘bad boy’ song, I’d never heard a girl singing that song before, and I thought that flipping it would bring a different perspective. So I’m really pleased with the way it’s turned out.
“Philo was a massive presence to me in my early days. Before him there was no other black Irish artist who made anything like that kind of impact in Ireland and abroad. He was even more important to me growing up as a black kid in Dublin. Here was a successful rock musician who was black and a total individual and loved by so many people in Ireland and all over the world, and he lived only twenty minutes away from where I lived! And then there were the records and the songs. Everything he did was a hook, the guitar fills, the bass lines, the drum fills, the melodies, the lyrical phrases. Of course, girls swooned over him. He was a real inspiration to so many people on so many levels. So many saw him and wanted to have a go at that bass and wanted to be him, and I’m really proud to have come for the same city as he did. He was out of this world, a born rock star and even when he wasn’t performing he would still draw your attention. People like him have an inner poise and maybe a spirituality that comes through the music too. He had a very magical, magnetic personality.
“I was too young to meet him, but if I had I probably would have behaved just like a corny fan! I would like to have told him that ‘you being you means more to me than you’ll ever know’. If I was asked to name my five favourite Philo tracks, as well as this one I’d have to go for ‘Dancin’ In The Moonlight’, ‘I’m Still In Love With You’, ‘Jailbreak’ and ‘Whiskey In The Jar’. Album-wise, I reckon Live And Dangerous is probably the best live album ever. Once you fall in love with it it’s hard to connect with anything else in the same way. It’s really just like being there, feeing the excitement of the audience and the live energy in the music. It’s mixed so well too.
“Regarding my own music, I’m really pleased with the way things are shaping up for my second album. I think it’ll be a little more personal and authentic than the first one, and more live too. Some of the tracks will be more stripped back, maybe just the voice and piano or guitar. I’ve recorded a lot of it in Kensaltown Recording Studios in west London. It’s an incredible studio. So I might do all the album there, with maybe one or two tracks in LA. I haven’t been using a vocal booth, we just sit around in the room and track it together. It’s almost therapeutic! Maybe later I’ll go back and redo my vocals on my own. This process has been a real buzz for me. Before this everything tended to be more thought out with the producer, but there’s a great sense of freedom this time. Maybe also I’ve become more self-confident and don’t really care so much about what other people think. Don’t forget, I was very young when I did the first album and the whole thing was new to me. I was 16/17 then, but I’m now 23 and I don’t give a shite what people think! I want to write and make music I like.
“I was originally going to call the album Roots, but others got there before me, so the current title is Over The Wall because there was a place I used to go in my childhood with my mates and we called it ‘over the wall’, and a lot of it is about me going back to my roots. But knowing me, don’t be too surprised if I change it! It’ll be all new songs as thing stands, but I like to keep myself open to the possibility of doing a cover or two, who knows. In fact, ‘Don’t Believe A Word’ has worked out so well that I wouldn’t actually rule it out of being on the new album. But we’ll have to see about that!”