Wallis Bird is an acoustic singer songwriter from County Meath who is known for her spellbinding live shows and her effortless ability to change genres from one song to the next.
She has a unique guitar playing style that she was forced to develop after a horrific childhood accident.
She is left handed but lost five fingers on her left hand in an accident with a lawn mower.
She had four of her fingers sown back and started to play with an upside down right handed guitar.
She studied song writing at Ballyfermot Rock school in Dublin. She and bandmate Aoife O’Sullivan played several gigs in small venues and large festivals.
After leaving college, Bird moved to Germany where she continued to perform and met a number of musicians who would become members of her band.
In 2006 Bird released her first EP, Branches Untangle. A second EP, Moodsets followed in 2007 and later that year her debut album, Spoons, was released.
Bird’s song writing covers several styles
Bird was gaining a reputation for being able to produce an eclectic range of music. Her song writing covers many genres including folk, funk, blues and rock. She is able to have her audience hanging on her every word during gentle haunting ballads or worked up to a frenzy during upbeat sing-along anthems.
The following year, Bird toured the UK twice: first as a support act for Gabriel and then again to support Billy Bragg.
Her second album, New Boots, was released in 2009. It reached number 11 in the Irish charts. That year she was named the ‘Hope for 2009’ at the Irish Meteor Music Awards. She performed at several festivals across Europe.
She certainly lived up to her promise as the ‘Hope for 2009’ because in 2010 she was named ‘Best Irish Female Artist’ at that year’s Meteor Music Awards.
She released a limited edition acoustic album in 2011 called The Mistakes are Intentional. The CD came in a package that Bird stitched herself.
‘Wallis Bird’ album
Her third studio album was released in 2012. She decided it would be a self titled album to reflect the idea that it was the defining album of her career to date. ‘Wallis Bird’ was recorded in three very specific locations as she wanted to capture the unique atmosphere each place possesses.
Firstly she went to a broadcasting station in East Berlin where the Government used to broadcast communist propaganda. Secondly she went to an eerie isolated cottage on an Irish cliff edge during a torrential storm.
Finally she recorded some tracks in her own flat in Brixton, London during the UK riots of 2011. Bird was attempting to make sense of the chaos that surrounds us all. She said “I collected lyrics from conversations held with all types of people from the privileged to the broken, and scripted their songs to the backdrop of unusual rooms”
London rioters helped inspire the album
Her recording session was actually interrupted by the noise outside her flat during the rioting in London. Bird took the opportunity to capture the atmosphere of the town. She said “I began to hear an orchestration in the sirens and craziness … so I placed a microphone in the room, and let the noises write their song for me.”
The result was the song, Heartbeating City, one of several fascinating tracks on an album that Bird says “ended up taking on a life of its own”.
In 2012, Bird went on a four month European tour, performing several shows in Ireland, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Belgium.