Lit­tle Bird, big heart

Ap­proach­ing 30 has Wal­lis Bird ‘want­ing to nest’, but she still plans to tear the house down at her up­com­ing shows, she tells Tony Clay­ton-lea

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

THE VERY FIRST thought is this: how can some­one so small carry such a large gui­tar case? One hour later and you re­alise that Wal­lis Bird has, through­out her life, been car­ry­ing bag­gage far heav­ier than big pro­tec­tive cas­ings for mu­si­cal in­stru­ments.

Yet Bird seems an adept, prac­ti­cal sort, even though she con­fesses to feel­ing the need to “chop and change” things in her life on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. “It runs through my psy­che,” she re­luc­tantly ad­mits over a rea­son­ably early morn­ing cup of tea in a tucked-away Ital­ian cafe in Dublin. She is en route to catch a late morn­ing flight to London, fol­low­ing her sup­port slot with Ro­drigo y Gabriela at Dublin’s Olympia, so she’s half clock-watch­ing, half re­lax­ing.

“I’m ter­ri­ble at hold­ing onto things – peo­ple, friends. We have in­tense pe­ri­ods of where we see each other ev­ery day for two weeks and then we may never see each other again. In­tense re­la­tion­ships and then they’re gone, so mov­ing around seeps into ev­ery­thing I do.”

She ad­mits that such char­ac­ter traits can play se­ri­ous fun’n’games with her per­sonal life, but com­ing up to the grand old age of 30 is, she says, in­still­ing into her “a sense of want­ing to nest, of hav­ing some­where nice to come home to. Prior to feel­ing like this, how­ever, I didn’t re­ally care – I just left ev­ery­body be­hind to pur­sue what I wanted to do.”

To date, Bird has pur­sued life and her mu­sic and what she wanted with no small level of smarts and style; there’s a runt-of-the-lit­ter look about her, for sure, but there’s also a strong pulse of achieve­ment and self-as­ser­tion pound­ing out a beat you can al­most hear.

She says she can’t re­call a time when she didn’t want to do mu­sic. “I was given a gui­tar as a baby and I as­sumed it was a toy, al­ways tak­ing it with me as a kind of com­forter. I re­mem­ber writ­ing songs in the gar­den and singing them to my­self, and feel­ing some sort of power or some kind of in­stant process hap­pen­ing.”

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