THE SMALL SPOTLIGHT – Lisa Kowalski

Lisa Kowalski is a young artist hailing from Paisley, and has spent the last four years performing locally and out the area. In that short space of time, she has managed to achieve so much and earn a reputation as one of her hometown’s brightest young prospects.

She’s already got a decent wealth of experience behind her, and at the age of 18, it is quite clear that the best is yet to come.

In the debut edition of The Small Spotlight, we take the time to chat with Lisa and find out more about her inspirations, her successes, her supporters, and what the future holds.


To kick off with a generic biographical question – what was it that sparked your interest in music in the first place?

  • I don’t think there’s anything particular that I can pinpoint. It’s just always something I’ve loved. I always thought there was something so magical and beautiful about being able to express every single emotion, tell every single story, confess every feeling through a 3 minute song. Music has gotten me through so much in life; loss, despair, happiness, anxiety, etc. It’s always been music that has been there for me. 
It’s no secret that Taylor Swift is a huge inspiration to yourself, but why is that?
  • I always just admired how she can take any situation and write such an eloquent, beautiful song about it. I believe that she’s one of the best writers in the mainstream pop charts right now because she has such an amazing talent for writing genius lyrics and putting them on incredible melodies the way no one else can. 
How did you first get involved in the local scene, and did you have any highlights early on?
  • I started going to open mics and busking when I was 14 and from there in I just kept writing and performing and as the years have gone on I’ve gained more experience and knowledge in the local industry which has lead to me getting more opportunities. Since I was so new to the music scene, the highlights in the early days were just the entire thing. The fact I could perform to people, gain fans, meet other like-minded people who had the same passion and drive as me. All of it was just an incredible, eye opening experience. 
You made your first significant mark with your Free Spirits EP. Describe the experience of making your debut record. What was going through your mind before it came out, and what was the feedback like once it was released? 2 years on, how do you feel your EP has held up?
  • It was definitely a journey, that’s one thing I can say about it. Before it came out there were many moments of doubt, worry, regret, excitement, pride, determination. But all of them were worth it because once it was released I got some amazing support and reviews. It was more of an artistic success than a commercial one though and there’s a long way to go with future releases.
Not long ago you were chosen as a representative for Paisley’s 2021 UK City Of Culture campaign. How did that come about, and what was your initial reaction to that request?
  • I’ve always loved being from Paisley. It has such a supportive community, so to represent the town is amazing because I couldn’t be prouder of where I come from and I owe so much to the town and the people in it so its great to give back. 
Although Paisley lost out in the end, the experience was undeniably still a huge one for you. Overall, what is it like, and is there any lasting memories that have stayed with you from that?
  • Recording the Hearts of Gold music video is an experience that would never have came about if it weren’t for the bid. And that is a video that will always be held close to my heart and in my fond memories as it highlights the way the town has really helped to lift me up and back me in my career. 
You’ve also been nominated for a number of awards and been part of several competitions over the last couple of years. Would you like to fill the readers in on what some of them were?
  • I was a finalist in the Salute Music UK competition, which led to me getting to headline King Tuts and gain funding for my next couple of projects which is incredible!    I also reached the finals of the Song Academy International Young Songwriter competition this year. My only outright win has been the Live and Unsigned Renfrewshire competition last year, which meant a lot. I was also voted in as a wildcard finalist for the Mayor Of London Gigs busking competition this summer, so it was awesome to be the only finalist to represent Scotland. I am currently hoping to get a place at the Pilton Party auditions next Spring, which is a way of getting on the radar of Michael Eavis and the Glastonbury selection team.
Between them all, how does it feel to be selected for these, and what is it like for you to have a dedicated group of supporters for you, especially at what is still an early stage of your career?
  • Its all about dreaming big and trying everything. If you shoot enough arrows, one might hit the target! I appreciate all the support I get but I’m still a small fish in a big sea!
You’re in the process of releasing your new single – I Do – give us a brief description of what the song is about, and how you think people will relate to it.
  • I Do is a song I wrote when I was in a difficult, toxic relationship, or more so towards the end of it. I loved someone and all I was getting back was “maybe” – maybe I’ll love you again, maybe I’ll want you, maybe it’s the end. This song was me saying that I won’t settle for maybe anymore. I wanted to know what was going on and stop being messed around so I said if they are going to decide they want me they need to stick with their answer. 
What’s the game plan for 2019 so far? Anything you’re able to give us a sneak peek of, or will we have to sit patiently for what you have in the works?
  • Some things are left better unsaid and some projects left unknown… for now at least!  I will definitely be looking to focus a bit more though and channel my efforts into things that will might a significant impact on my musical progress.
We’ve touched upon a number of your achievements, but what would you say is the one you are most proud of?
  • Getting invited to perform in NYC is definitely among the top. It’s so hard to choose as I’ve achieved so many things that I’m so grateful for but getting to go to New York to perform in some really special places is not something I’d ever have expected to happen when it did. It was such an unbelievably surreal experience that I’ll never forget. 
Aside from the obvious of making a living, do you have any long term goals that you would like to achieve in the future?
  • I’d love to release a debut album. I’ve got my debut EP out and a single coming out soon but I don’t have any plans for an album soon but it’s definitely something I’d love to achieve in the future. I’d also love to take my music to more places – more states in the US, more countries in Europe and perhaps cross a couple more continents off my list too! Also getting a dog is on the list too. 
Any other local musicians that you would like to give a shout out to that everybody should check out?
  • A lot of people will have heard of them but The Vegan Leather are awesome, such cool guys and their gigs are so much fun. Amazing music, amazing atmosphere and amazing people. I also love Pronto Mama, they have such a cool variety of sounds in all their music. 
And now to wrap up, we want to give you the opportunity to say a message to your biggest supporters. Any people in particular?
  • My mum will always be one of the main people to thank as she has helped me so much with getting started and believing me when not everyone else did. My boyfriend, Nikolai, is another person who’s been there for me through absolutely every bit of stress I’ve faced when doing music, whether it’s getting to gigs or dealing with anxiety he’s helped massively. Some other massive supporters have been Create Paisley, St Mirren FC, New Hellfire Club and Music Plus. 

Lisa Kowalski’s new single “I Do” is available on Wednesday 14th November.
lisa kowalski

Lisa will be playing at the following shows this week; tickets still available!

WEDNESDAY 31ST OCTOBER – TRON THEATRE, GLASGOW

CAROL

SATURDAY 3RD NOVEMBER – THE ADMIRAL BAR, GLASGOW

IAN PROWSE


Check out Lisa’s previous single, Hearts Of Gold!

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