Lisa Richards – Waiting To Fly 

November 9, 2022 CD Reviews, News, Reviews 


Review by Chris Lambie 

Lisa Richards’ seventh album was aptly named I Got A Story. Her biography – both personal and professional – reads like a ready-made film script. This follow-up takes the story to a glorious place of evolving contentment.  Waiting To Fly (aka WTF) is a magnificent showcase of wise words, uplifting musicality and Richards’ captivating voice. She splashes fresh colours on inviting folk/roots melodies. 

Via ‘Iso’ live streams, guitar in hand, Richards invited fans to vote for songs (then works-in-progress) to include on the album. I struggled to count any out. Richards vows to ply her craft regardless of validation from “that little number on the screen.” Fluctuating ‘Likes’ and income won’t still her unique voice. Richards rallies others to likewise savour all that feeds their souls. ‘Gonna Be Fine’ encourages the sad and inert, as she once was: “Come on…get up out of bed/ Pull back the covers/ let some light into your head.” While referencing an oft-troubled history, self-produced WTF is about daring to dream. Optimism, discovering love, self-worth and little victories. 

Scenes are set with the free-form lyricism of Rickie Lee Jones. Neither trite nor grandiose, but fun and fulsome. On soulful single ‘Who Got The Key’, Richards channels Etta James, joined by guests on keyboards and Artem Koryapin (in Russia during recording). Vocals shimmer and soar across picture-perfect lyrics. A meld of Björk (‘Pebble In A Slingshot’) and Joni Mitchell (‘Anchor’). A pixie warrior ready to take on the world. ‘We Were Wild’ recalls a free-ranging childhood in FNQ, less idyllic than it sounds.  Before spending two decades in America, her teen life saw “mullets, perms, wrap around skirts and bongs in bags [snuck] into the cinema.” 

Now based on Ngunnawal country, Richards reached across the globe to enlist US-based percussionist Larry Salzman and Clint Wells on tremolo guitar for sweeping track ‘Gravity’. Elsewhere, various horn players infuse an alluring jazz/blues flavour. ‘Majesty’ celebrates inner beauty and potential; “You are the sun that burns in the sky/ Makes you want to cry/ Cause it’s so damn beautiful.” As is this album. A heavenly gift to the discerning listener.

Lisa aims for new highs with her latest album

by Helen Musa

DEFYING gravity is a byword for singer songwriter Lisa Richards. Not only is “Waiting to Fly” the title of her eighth album, borne out of repeated lockdowns and isolation, but her launch later this month will be a musical celebration of “taking flight” with her own songs and stories.

But defying gravity also has a darker side for Richards who, speaking of her youthful years of addiction to anything she could lay her hands on, says: “I had never had any dreams, or hopes, or goals except to get high and stay high until I died.”

If you listen to Richards’ voice, you’ll never forget it. Described by critics as “both ferocious and sweet”, it has a strange mixture of thinness and depth. When I catch up with her, I ask how she views it.

“It’s the only voice I’ve ever known so that I can only tell you where other people put me,” she says. 

“Some people compare me to Bjork or Joanna Newsom, but I see myself as singing a mongrel mix of folk, jazz and blues – a different voice.”

Richards’ troubled Townsville youth is well behind her. The daughter of a psychiatrist, she was introduced to antipsychotic drugs as a girl of four or five years old, given in the belief that if one medicated children, it would calm them down.


Canberra artist Lisa Richards set to soar with new album 

Jessica Cordwell 

November 21, 2022

Waiting for a better day, more pay, to lose weight or our next date, we all seem to be waiting for something. However, in her new album, Waiting to Fly, Lisa Richards encourages us all to stop putting things off and make the leap. She will be officially launching the record at The Street Theatre on Saturday 26 November. 

“It’s all of those things that I told myself I couldn’t do. You’ll never be able to sing, or you’ll never be able to produce yourself, or record your own album, that has turned out to be not true. So, I think the idea is, that it’s time to fly,” she says. 

Richards wrote, recorded, and produced the album from the studio she built in her own North Canberra home during the pandemic. She says it was due to funding from Arts ACT that she was able to learn the skills she needed, even if she doubted her ability to do so. 

“I learned to use Logic Pro X and record and produce, and I wrote a bunch of songs, and really it was just how I kept myself from going mad.” 

Soon, she had five completed songs, but the pandemic was still going on, so she wrote a few more and then another few. Much to her own disbelief, Richards had completed an album she produced herself, taking all the steps from hiring and organising musicians to singing and the finishing touches.

 Read complete article here