Interview: Lenka embraces culture shock and her new chapter in life (playing World Cafe Live tonight)
“I do sometimes get a little culture shock,” Aussie sugar-pop artist Lenka Kripac explains about her current tour for her newest album. “For example, recently in China, it took me a day or two to adjust to the slightly pushy, urgent nature…there. But once you get used to it, you see the beauty and specialness of all peoples and I love learning about each culture’s idiosyncrasies.”
Starting off as an actress and fronting the band Decoder Ring in her teenaged years, Lenka realized in her early 20s that music gave her a little something more than just the thrill of performing on a stage. “I was acting in a play in Sydney where I had to sing a song and I realized I was enjoying the singing more than the acting!” With that, she jumped into her solo music career, and moved from Sydney, to Los Angeles, to Brooklyn, making a name from her twinkling-upbeat, electroacoustic sound and breathy vocals.
Having a creative eye, as well as a creative ear, Lenka has made much use of her natural artfulness and education. “I have a bachelor of fine arts majoring in sculpture actually,” she writes in an email. “I like to make my own videos and am very involved with all visual aspects of my project (along with my husband/art director, James Gulliver Hancock).”
She goes on to explain that Hancock came up with the imaginative concerpt for the recent “Nothing Here But Love” video – where the performer sang while clothed, literally, in the turf and trees and houses of a small village – but Lenka normally has a lot of visual experiments she wants to try, and finds her music videos to be the perfect platform. Using many different influences in her work, she seems to always create a zesty, captivating performance that leaves her “sugarbombs” wanting more.
Just releasing her album, Shadows, this past June, you can hear the slight, almost dream-like transformation her music has made; inspired by her entrance into motherhood. “Becoming a parent was a pretty epic experience for me,” she mentions. “I found myself reflecting on the past as a new chapter began and the themes in the album reflect that. I wanted to make something dreamy and lulling to soothe my baby and myself.” Lenka mentions that reproducing the same vibe on the stage has made a “really special and gorgeous” show. “For this tour I have live strings and the mood has been just beautiful.” Continuing her tour through October, Lenka will travel from the United States around Europe and back to her homeland in Australia.
Once her tour is over, Lenka doesn’t have too specific of plans to keep herself busy. “I’d just like to keep experimenting and trying new ways to make uplifting music.” But the free time may be happily invited as she gets her hands dirty back home. “Life-wise, I’d like to get a good veggie garden going and enjoy my little boy.”