Interview: Iva Lamkum

JJ McConnachie

JJ McConnachie is a writer, book and movie lover, and a technology geek.

The hugely talented Iva Lamkum is set to release her debut album Black Eagle on August 24th.

A songs-as-storybook collection of half a decade day-to-day experiences, Black Eagle consists of a series of deeply personal, yet universally relatable meditations on family, hard-work, internal conflict, the loved and the loveless.

Drawing stylistically on elements of roots reggae, folk, rock, funk, indie and beyond, the album repositions Iva, an artist oft viewed under a neo soul light, within a borderless musical world.

Chelsey talks with Iva, just before she embarks on her first national tour to celebrate.

You’ve released a EP that received some great reviews, and now you’ve released your debut album. How much work has gone into getting you to where you are now?

We had to be open-minded this time so the hours spent in the studio were doubled, had to read music books to develop my craft and we invested our own pocket money to make the black Eagle Project worked. We sacrificed a lot of our time away from friends and families to develop this album.

Were you interested in music as a child, or was it something developed as you got older?

I listened to a lot of music and wrote lyrics as a hobby but I had other goals. Then I became good friends with a bunch of Wellington musicians who wanted to work with me 7 years ago so I decided then to change goals and plans. No regrets.

Is your family musical?

They tried and unfortunately it failed in the gene. I decided to go alone on this one. Funny.

Tell us about some musicians that have inspired you.

My family grew up listening to Reggae, Old school Soul/Funk & 90s Hip Hop music like Prince, Otis Redding, Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Outkast & Bob Marley which have always inspired me to write music. I started exploring Indie & Rock music like Radiohead and Red Hot Chilli Peppers on my last year of High School, and it gave me elements and an open mind in how I write my music today.

You’ve performed quite a bit in New Zealand already, including the Auckland festival back in 2009, and La De Da late last year. How do you feel about having your own New Zealand tour?

Probably nervous because we’re performing one city to another and a lot has changed over the years with our music so hoping the new fans will be excited to come see one artist on one stage and hope the long-time fans with be fulfilled with the unexpected.

Do you get nervous before performances? Do you have any tips for surviving stage fright?

I used to get nervous during the first shows I ever did because I would only think about myself and how people will react to my music and if I remembered that I need to pick up my guitar on the next song. But over time I developed my craft, my songs etc. by rehearsing it over and over until it came natural to me, so when you’re on stage you easily pull the crowd into your music because they believe you know what are you are doing. It’s all about the audience.

What can people expect to see at your show?

It’s going be epic. We’re taking it to the next level.

You’ve already worked with the likes of New Zealand’s Sola Rosa. Are there any other artists that you would love to work with?

Shapeshifter and Liam Finn

What is the hardest thing about being a musician in New Zealand?

Living a double life because unfortunately the passion of music doesn’t pay my rent right now.

What’s the best thing a fan has said to you?

“You will change lives with your music like you have changed mine.” I was in tears.

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  • Wice says
    I'm not great when it comes to knowing who's hot and not on the music scene. For those others like me, and for those who might be fans, here is Iva peforming in her latest youtube video.

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