Spend a couple of minutes speaking with young singer-songwriter Aleyce Simmonds about her forthcoming album release, Believe, and you’ll find yourself swept up and sharing the nervous excitement.
There’s no doubt in the matter. Hers is a true labour of love. And quite apt, she’s a full believer in the majesty and power of song.
To be released on September 12, Believe is the follow-up to Aleyce’s stunning Pieces Of Me debut, which earned her much praise within Australian country music circles.
As its title suggested, it was full of insights into the soul of a young lady, comfortable sharing her most intimate inner workings via her lyrics.
Listeners can expect similar ingredients applied this second time around.
“A lot of heart and a lot of soul and a lot of heartbreak and a lot of happiness,’’ Aleyce offered. “I believe that everything happens for a reason in life and that we have to go through some really bad things to appreciate the goods things.
“I’ve actually had a really rough six years health wise - in and out of surgery - and break-ups and all that sort of thing … stuff everyone goes through. What I wanted to get across with this album was we all go through these times but we’re all okay … don’t let it get on top of you because at the end of the day we can dream with our eyes wide open and speak with the words unspoken and we can believe that things are going to get better and they will.”
Aleyce is the first to admit that there is an element of bravery involved in being so honest via her music.
“I sometimes think that I’m not brave enough to put the music out that I do because I feel like I’m not brave enough to be as honest as I am,” she said. “But I feel that’s the thing that people like most about it.
“The last record was a little more down and I guess melancholic, where as this one has ups and downs and I want people to laugh with it, I want people to cry with it and I want people to feel inspired. It is scary to put yourself out there but the rewards are so great.”
Aleyce said that there was no greater gift than to be told by a listener that they could relate to her music.
“It makes me feel as though this is what I’m meant to do,” she said. “It makes everything worth it. Putting an album out and having people feel things and have these beautiful reactions makes you go, ‘oh my gosh this is why I’m here, this is why I was put on the planet’.”
Aleyce will offer fans a rare chance to sample new tracks from Believe this Thursday night at The Mars Hill Café in Parramatta.
She will be joined on the night by Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Lachlan Bryan, who is also preparing to release an album with his band The Wildes.
“It will just be both of us with our acoustic guitars,” said Aleyce. “It brings the song back to its natural form I suppose. It’s how we wrote these songs and there’s something really magical about a songwriter just singing their songs exactly the way they wrote it without all of the bells and whistles and the production.
“It’s sort of like a mini album showcase for both of us. We’ve both got albums coming out and we’re both really excited about it. I’ve heard his and it’s incredible. We’ll both be singing our new songs and collaborating at the same time. We’ve asked on Facebook for anyone with requests to come forward as well, so we’re a little scared as well.”
Aleyce said she looked forward to performing with Lachlan, and agreed the pair had formed a solid musical bond in recent times.
“Our music is completely different to each other,” she said. “His music is more alt country. It’s a mix between Guy Clark and Johnny Cash even, and I would even say someone like Paul Simon – an incredibly intelligent songwriter.
“I’m more straight down the line country, but our music just seems to really blend together and our backing vocals seem to work well together … he sang on my record. People have been saying we’ve got an Emmylou [Harris] and Graham Parsons thing going and that’s really good to hear.”
Aleyce said she enjoyed the idea of playing at the Café, which boasts an extremely intimate atmosphere.
“I live in Parramatta now too so I’m hoping I can build up a bit of a local following and possibly do regular gigs there,” she said.” We like the idea of doing a gig where it says, ‘where thinkers drink’ because we both like a wine or two.”
The Mars Hill Café is located in Church Street, Parramatta. The show will start at 7.30pm.