On the Couch with Lucy O’Brien

Lucy O'Brien Arts Review On the CouchWho is Lucy O’Brien?
I’m a composer, music director, singer and pianist from Melbourne. With two musicians for parents (a pianist and an opera singer) there was no avoiding a pathway in music… though I think my mum wishes I played my cello a bit more.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
There was a few years I gave up music in order to rebel – I did theatre and visual arts instead, yep, I’m a huge rebel. I sometimes wish I’d kept at my music seriously during those years, but instead I’ve studied Theatre Arts at tertiary level, which assists me greatly. I’d be working very differently now without those years under my belt!

Who inspires you and why?
I was very lucky to have participated in Gondwana Voices for several years, and I’m only beginning to now appreciate what a brilliant role model Lyn Williams was during that time. Seeing female conductors, music directors (and directors and arts practitioners and artistic directors) at a young age meant that I never questioned that I could pursue this path. I am constantly inspired by my collaborator, Andrew Strano, for his endless joy he brings to our tense, overtired moments.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I believe in song’s ability to heal, express and inspire. We want to be Bridget Jones screaming All By Myself when we’re lonely. I mean, we don’t want to be her, but we do want to have that song at that moment, to help purge those feelings! So, in my small way, I want to write the songs that people can use to heal, to laugh, to pour out the emotions that are holding us down.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I went to New Zealand with my family in 2012 – it was a crazy time of long car trips, us ‘children’ annoying our mother constantly with dumb jokes, singing along to Queen – and the scenery was so beautiful. We got to see the Mt. Cook glacier, and it was the bluest blue I have ever seen. I want to see mountains, Gandalf.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Ah… Gin Palace. My favourite (drinking) spot in the city. Except maybe my current third home of sorts, The Butterfly Club.

What are you currently reading?
My best friend gave me the script to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, which I saw in New York in 2014 and totally adored. He gave it to me to read in times where I was lacking inspiration and felt I had no more creativity in me.

What are you currently listening to?
Lots of things. As many different things as possible, because I’m in the middle of writing. And that is varying from A Little Night Music by Sondheim, to a pile of Backstreet Boys, TLC, to System of a Down… just anything and everything. Also sometimes I just need to listen to nothing at all! Also the podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno!

Happiness is?
Playing in the band for shows. Hearing my music on other people’s voices. Having slept. The cat that likes to sleep on my bed, even though she doesn’t belong to us. Laughing about very dumb jokes with my family and friends. Preferably with food involved! That time I saw Hamilton.

What does the future hold for you?
Well, I’ve been accepted into New York University’s Masters of Musical Theatre Writing, so I’ll hopefully be heading there for Fall semester, 2018. But I can barely see past the mounting of our production, Jack of Two Trades, in October! So ask me again after that, perhaps!

Lucy is the Composer of Jack of Two Trades – which will be presented in the Drama Theatre – Monash University: 19 – 22 October 2017. For more information, visit: www.mapa.monash.edu for details.

Image: Lucy O’Brien (supplied)