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Devorah’s ‘Wrong Time’ is a visceral examination of loss, slavery and devotion

We sat down with singer-songwriter Devorah to discuss Wrong Time, her gritty examination of loss, devotion and ownership.

 

 

Described as “the tiny church with cathedral pipes” who weaves “stories like the masters”, we sat down with Australian/Israeli singer-songwriter Anita Lester aka Devorah to discuss ‘Wrong Time’, a piece that articulates the brutal surprise of loss felt from a place of romantic comfort.

 

“This short lifetime, needs a lifeline, before you go.

It must have been the wrong time.”

***

 

Anita, you once wrote that “From the beginning of time, art, music and word has been a source of truth”, what truth are you looking to expose with Wrong Time?

I once heard a vague translation of what makes art great – it was something along the lines of “the best art is deep truth that follows three subjects in one: storytelling, slavery and devotion.”

This can be translated into any creative context in my judgment, and in my experience, I do it without much thought (not that it makes me some kind of genius), but we are all bowing to something, slaves to something and in some kind of story, so why not express it through art?

With ‘Wrong Time’, I focused on a distilled and tiny thought around your love leaving you for another – to be loved is what we all want, and to be left is one of the greatest fears, so there for me, like many others, was incentive enough to lay the ground for collective mourning.

 

It’s this fucking chip on the shoulder of any artist. To be like Da Vinci, Bob Dylan, Mozart, Picasso. We all want to be wunderkind and we all want to find the right path whilst we still feel that innate sense of adventure and freedom.

 

You’ve previously said that “Religion is brought to life by music and art” and when you’re stuck, you find the closest church for inspiration. Can you define the connection religion has with your work?

This is a core point of reference and subject. However, it’s not about anything monotheistic. Even though I’m Jewish, I don’t actively subscribe to one idea of God, but the thing that will forever overwhelm me is this blind devotion to God that is portrayed through different altars.

There is total and complete truth in the art that these people make for the purpose of service and prayer, and we as people who are constantly striving to be part of a collective and held through the unknown – will naturally be drawn to religion.

It’s such a vast subject, but in short, I think I love religious and spiritual art because right or wrong, it is the greatest act of service outside one’s own agenda (if done correctly).

 

 

Your previous work “MAN” was an introspection of masculinity dedicated to your late father. How was working on that project with your brother (Director Yoav Lester) in your spiritual home of Israel?

It was a pilgrimage that my brother and I had always wanted to do. We are just one year apart and were raised like twins after my sister was born 18 months after. He and I are so alike in the way we feel about our ghosts and purpose, so releasing the song was a beautiful excuse to collaborate.

My father has a forest planted in his memory in northern Israel, and I was born in the middle and lived in the South. We know we wanted to honour him but also tell the collective story. That walk from South to North (which is accurately depicted in the clip) is somewhat Biblical and archetypal.

‘MAN’ is somewhat confused too – because I was intending to use the word man as God would have, yet the organic interpretation had it’s own life too.

 

 

You’ve said that you want to celebrate what it means to be in your thirties and still starting, can you elaborate on that?

It’s this fucking chip on the shoulder of any artist. To be like Da Vinci, Bob Dylan, Mozart, Picasso. We all want to be wunderkind and we all want to find the right path whilst we still feel that innate sense of adventure and freedom.

Responsibility grows every day that passes, but so does experience, perspective and our understanding of ourselves. I am still so young, but I also in some regards have passed this ideal age for success – for societal ideas I despise and just can’t understand in relation to content.

I can’t deny sex and its power. I can’t deny that youthful promise allows us our own projections towards escape, but the stories and truth we express also have this merit that is sometimes buried under age.

I’m not just starting, but I’m still starting again. There should be no shame. Everyone’s story is different.

 

 

 

Can you take us through the process of creating Wrong Time?

I wrote Wrong Time in London in an emotional haze – it poured out in about 20 minutes. I thought it was a bit of a throwaway because of its simplicity but really loved singing it.

One sunny day I went to meet my friend Woody in the park and he asked me to play it after I’d mentioned it. I’d never had such a reaction to a song, and later that week he’d invited me to a boat party (where some of my heroes were) he made me play it again…with the same reaction.

I felt annoyingly validated by people who were masters of their own craft validating mine, but after a traumatising four years or so around music, it was exactly what I needed (I’ll footnote that by mentioning I now have embraced simplicity and don’t rely on the opinions of others for validation).

It was partially recorded in a shack on the NSW South Coast called Congo National Park by Lawrence Greenwood (ex-Whitley), given additional stringed love by Xavier Dunn and completed by the Riley Brothers, Benjamin and Nick.

It didn’t mean to have so many involvements either, but again, its distilled end result was sometimes hard to find. It’s had a longer gestation process than I expected, but I believe things fall as they are meant to and it really feels like the Right Time (*winky face*).

At the end of the day, it’s the seed to this new iteration. I have no unrealistic expectations, but only hope that it resonates and allows some listeners a place to come to pray together at the altar of longing.

 

You can find more of Anita’s work at:

Devorah.net

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