When you listen to Amali Ward’s debut album Back in Time, you might think she’s a very serious person. The things she writes lyrics about definitely are.
But at a live show, you find out she’s a sassy chick with a wicked sense of humour. For example, ‘Break the Mirror’ is such a beautiful track – it made me catch my breath when I first heard it, with its poignant message about smashing personal insecurities that are based on looks.
But at FBI social last week, I almost sprayed my drink on the person next to me as a cheeky, grinning Ward said casually that the song was about her mate who thinks she’s such a “fat b****” whenever she eats burgers. And metrosexuals who are a bit too self-obsessed? They get a song too – ‘Prettier than Me’. Then there’s embarrassingly drunk guys who don’t know when to quit: their song is ‘Upside Down’.
This girl has managed to make smooth soul music out of the most ordinary events in life, that many can only make into cheesy synthetic pop songs.
Ward is the kind of performer that makes what she does look so easy. It probably is for her by now – she’s been working studiously on her music career since 2004, which is certainly paying off these days. The former Australian Idol finalist recently supported Seal in concert, and was also the winner of the John Lennon International Songwriting Contest (awarded by Yoko Ono herself) for her track ‘Knock You Out’, the first single from the new album. She’s just topped it off by taking out APRA’s prestigious Stephen Schwartz Songwriting Award.
‘Knock You Out’, unlike the aforementioned songs however, is not about anything laughable. It actually is one of the more serious songs, which boldly confronts issues of racism, sexism and discrimination in all its forms. Ward grew up in Tasmania, but being of part Sri Lankan descent, has experienced her fair share of racism.
Clearly though, onstage she’s only interested in having a bunch of fun. She didn’t mention any of these sombre themes. Once out of goofy stories about her songs, she teased her keyboardist Beau Golden about his new blue shirt. The affection between the band members is obvious – they share lots of laughs. Ward has infectious energy and she shared it generously with the whole room.
The band are a tight bunch, each one an excellent musical craftsman, complementing the slender songstress with her honey and chocolate vocals. Yes, Amali Ward is quite a sight and sound, ridiculously perfect in every way. Maybe it’s because of the contrast with her slightly scruffy, indie looking boy band. Her voice, style, awesome sense of humour, and of course the incredibly accomplished song writing together add up to one mother of a sexy performer.
Amali Ward and her full band are currently touring nationally to promote Back In Time, so take the chance to see this rising young talent while you can – it’s obvious she’s destined for the big time.