#28 of 200 images that have made the IYL Showcase shortlist. We’ll be posting 2 images/day in the run up to the London Showcase (October 23rd) when the final 20 images will be announced and presented as chosen by the showcase jury..
O’ Little Sister is an absolute darling. Surrounded by fairy lights, this curly-haired beauty is playing the guitar in a video portrait she just released in collaboration with Danny McShane. Below, she talks about movies with big hearts, a (very short-lived) desire to be a netballer, and seeing her little sister for the very first time.
where are you from?
I’ve always found this question hard to answer, my family was always moving growing up so I don’t feel like I’m from any particular place. Home was always where the family was as opposed to a house. In the last couple of years my parents settled in Redcliffe which is north of Brisbane (right near the water), and I realised this was the first place that really felt like home to me, which was pretty amazing.
where do you want to be?
On a European beach somewhere, with a notebook and pen in the pocket of a giant jacket, while feeling the cold wind on my face.
when you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I never really knew. When I was 9 I remember the teacher asking the class to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up… I had no idea, so I copied the girl next to me, which was to be a netballer. Pretty glad I didn’t follow that through haha. I started writing songs (partly to get through being bullied) when I was thirteen, and overtime that passion for writing grew and grew until I realised I got bored doing work that wasn’t music related.
when did you first start getting into music?
Music was always a large part of Johnson Family life, but one of the very first albums I remember listening to was the Beatles 67’ album ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ - I asked my dad for his good headphones, sat down next to the CD player (which seemed massive to me as a child) and read the lyrics as they were sung. I’m not going to lie, I still pretend I’m the girl they’re singing about in 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ *Swoon*.
how would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard any of your songs?
The kind of hushed music you listen to past midnight when you can’t get to sleep, or can’t stop your thoughts going in circles.
who/what inspires you?
My Parents, they are my solid foundation.
Poems, sonnets and psalms, by John Keats, Shakespeare, and King David.
Movies with big hearts.
if you could be the opening act for any artist in the world, who would you want it to be?
Oooooooooooo, let me think… I feel like it’s a tie between Coldplay, and Jon Foreman (lead singer from Switchfoot, he does his own folk solo goodness and it’s gorgeous).
what has been the most surreal moment of your life this far?
(Okay I actually got a bit teary when I answered this one ) I was 12, my whole family walked into the hospital room, and I could see my mother sleeping so peacefully. My eyes were searching everywhere for my new little sister, but the crib was empty. So I walked up to kiss my mother on the cheek, and there she was! Nestled in, so small, so beautiful! I was so surprised and struck so suddenly by so many waves. Definitely surreal.
are there any embarrassing songs in your music library?
I recently burnt a CD for my best friend.. so right now there are a lot.. Vanessa Carlton’s 'A thousand miles’ is still cool right?
who are your favourite artists?
It changes a lot, but at the moment I would say, Meredith (my best friend who is a beautiful songwriter), Jon Foreman, Coldplay, Gregory and the Hawk, Passenger, my parents, Lydia Cole, Luke Thompson, Alan Boyle, and Kings Of Convenience.
outside of music, what do you like to do?
I just bought myself a bike for the first time since I was a kid, so I’m pretty excited to go on some cool adventures.
Might take a notebook to doodle, and a book to read with me ;)
what was your favourite/least favourite thing about living in that house?
When I used to wake up in the morning, with my bed pushed up against the window, the dappled sun would warm my blankets and rest on my face, and morning birds would come and sing right up close to the window - easily my favourite thing.
Living there during big storms could be a bit scary though, apart of me was always praying a giant tree wouldn’t crash through the house - I love a big storm, but that thought made me a bit anxious.
now that you’ve moved out of the house, what comes next? what are you up to?
Moving onto other things has been equally daunting and exhilerating at the same time. I’ve got some songs that I’d really love to record hopefully this year, and a lot of other ideas that my brain can’t seem to let go of haha. After recording I’d love to do some travelling, I’m thinking New Zealand and Europe? I’m open to what happens, after all, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans (thank you John Lennon).
*all photographs by Danny McShane