A lifetime ago, Anne-Lise earned her bona fide musician stripes from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. But even then, there was a restless singer’s soul beneath the serious persona of the professional cellist. After years of freelancing and teaching cello, the desire to “sing and be free” was overwhelming. With no reason to stay in Brisbane, and wanting a fresh start with a new musical life, Anne-Lise took the leap and moved to Sydney. “I’d always dreamed of being a jazz singer in a smokey dive. Sydney seemed like the place to do it” said Anne-Lise. The problem was, how to go about it.
Anne-Lise formed an original duo with Andy Manessis on guitar. The pair hit the newly popular acoustic circuit of the early 2000’s and were seen gigging weekly in the inner west of Sydney. As Andy moved back to his hometown of Perth after a serious bicycle accident, Anne-Lise moved on reluctantly to the next thing. There was a brief dalliance with her original band Ayelle in late 2004, which included Paul Wheeler (Billy Thorpe’s Sunbury Aztecs) on bass. The band was short lived but it was another good lesson on how to pick up and move on.
Her debut solo release, resulted from her reaction to the break up of that band. Anne-Lise realised that if she was to aspire to any of her musical dreams, she’d have to do it herself. I’m Alive [2006 EP], was an affirmation of arrival and determination to survive the music world.
A one woman production, The I’m Alive EP was entirely written, composed, arranged, performed, recorded and produced by Anne-Lise. “There are moments of brilliance and moments of cringe” reflects Anne-Lise. However, the hope is that the common themes of the human condition throughout appeals to a wider, shared experience, exploring tales of love, loneliness, the pursuit of dreams and the seduction of envy.
“Back Where She Began” and “Cold Cold City” from “I’m Alive” received airplay on independent radio stations worldwide.
In May 2008, Anne-Lise performed a ground breaking acoustic set of her original music by accompanying herself with her cello at Amanda Easton’s PopTarts, later supporting Sophie Serafino at the world famous venue, The Basement in October.
The next one-woman production, the album Planets Aligned, was released in late October 2009. “I learned a lot from the process of making and releasing I’m Alive. This abum has better production than I’m Alive, is slightly more experimental and I have brought my cello into the mix to complement my sentimental groove. I’ve also exorcised a lot of demons with this one…” said Anne-Lise.
Planets Aligned explores themes of personal reflection, dissecting relationships, shattered illusions and the resolution of such with the discovery of new lust, love and finally contentment.
An extended remix of “The Weather” which was originally found on the Planets Aligned album followed in 2011. Entitled “The Weather, Mad Mad Mad Remix”, it’s an uptempo club dance version of Anne-Lise’s most danceable track from Planets Aligned.
In February 2011, Anne-Lise was asked to join the dark edgy original lounge band, Machiniso. With Rich Machine on drums, Dave ‘Celestial’ Smith on vibraphone and Scott Leishman on bass. Machinso released ant EP featuring Anne-Lise on vocals, “In Lounge-O-Scope” [CD Baby] in December 2011.
In-Lounge-O-Scope is a stripped back quartet playing live in the studio. The strong vocals from songwriter Anne-Lise Larsen complement the panoramic sounds emitting from Dave Smith’s vibraphone. Captured to hard disk by Jeff Lee of Zen Studios, St Peters, Australia, it is crisp, punchy and soaked in the fine electric bass playing from the string master himself, Scott Leishman.
As an offshoot of Machiniso, Scott Leishman and Anne-Lise Larsen formed a guitar and vocal jazz pairing called the LL Duo. Their “Yes, let’s…” album which includes 10 jazz standards and two co-written originals, was released in December 2015 at Alpha Gallery in Newtown. The LL Duo recently performed at the 30th Anniversary Thredbo Jazz Festival. More about LL at www.llduo.info
Although there are no plans to release any new solo singing material in the near future, Anne-Lise is constantly working on projects including the LL Duo and her original cello music pursuits with her mysterious and oldest friend Laceface.