Lucy Iffla

Image 1 of 6

Tunes by Lucy Iffla



It’s been said that the way Brazilian author Paulo Coelho plays with words in his books sounds like music, and for the last 3 years, vocalist and songwriter Lucy Iffla has been collecting his novels from second-hand bookshops around Western Australia (WA), the themes inspiring the songs on her debut album ‘You Are Home’ to be released on 3 November 2023.

Co-written and performed alongside the who’s who of Perth jazz including Matthew Gudgeon (guitar/vocals), Harry Mitchell (piano/keys), Alistair Peel (double bass), Ricki Malet (trumpet), and Ben Vanderwal (drums/vocals); it’s an accomplished album that positions Lucy as fully-fledged songwriter and recording artist – you’ll hear her in a whole new light!

At 25 years old, Lucy’s timeless voice has always been well beyond her years. She’s been performing jazz standards and the music of Ella Fitzgerald for over a decade, captivating jazz audiences in clubs and at festivals, spent 5 years singing with the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra, as well as appearing on albums by Daniel Susnjar and Mace Francis Plus 11.

Graduating with the award for Best Bachelor Recitalist at WAAPA, she’s worked alongside esteemed national and international artists such as Dave Pietro, Jay Anderson and Tom Scott in Paris, New York and Japan, received nominations in the National Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Awards top 10 and in the WA Music Awards for ‘Best Vocalist’ and was awarded the 2023 Perth Jazz Society Recording Opportunity.

Lucy’s development as songwriter and musician has been greatly influenced by the creative collaborations on this album – musicians she’s been performing with for 3 years now.

“I met Ben, Harry and Rick during my time at WAAPA (WA Academy of Performing Arts) as their student,” she says. “I was always in awe of their talent and genuineness and dreamed of performing alongside them. Our relationships slowly developed from colleagues to friends, but I’ll always respect and appreciate the feeling of ‘student’ and ‘teacher’, as they have so much wisdom to share. To have these musicians weave their emotion and personality in my album is truly unreal,” she says.

While Lucy cites Ella Fitzgerald as her greatest inspiration “I started listening to her at 14 years old and I aurally transcribed every solo, chorus soli, melody, outro and intro to each song on her 1955 studio album ‘Lullabies of Birdland’”. It wasn’t until entering WAAPA, that Lucy found new inspirations from local artists like Allira Wilson, Sarah Ramsey, Rick Webster and Victoria Newton.

“After graduating, I wouldn’t say I was running away from jazz… but I felt the urge to go back to what I knew – artists like James Taylor who made me love the lyrics and story told by simpler melodies in comparison to most jazz standards I’ve heard. Although I’m drawn to swing, I value the straight harmony and rhythm you find in folk arrangements. It’s quite beautiful to rearrange a folk song with some spicy jazz chords and rhythms… and it can work so well juxtaposed with a refined folk melody.

“With the melody straighter, the lyrics ring through,” hence Lucy’s obsession with the ideas found in Paulo Coelho’s books such as The Alchemist, Eleven Minutes and The Fifth Mountain - their themes broadly inspiring many of the songs on the album.

“The way Paulo writes about a character’s mystical experience gives me a feeling of connectedness,” she says. “I’d reread a paragraph or sentence maybe 2-3 times until I fully understood its meaning, and it drew me to finish each book no matter how long it took.”

The album’s opening track ‘The World Is Full’ was written sitting on an old couch on the balcony of Lucy’s first apartment after reading The Fifth Mountain. “His words were like poems and every page held gorgeous phrases,” Lucy says.

The soft and slow ballad ‘Only Words’ was inspired by The Zahir, which is also the title of track #6: “About the protagonists enlightening and challenging journey to find his partner who vanished unexpectedly.” 

The lyrics of the melodic ‘Million Dollar Seat’ is one of Lucy’s favourites on the album and is inspired by The Devil and Miss Prym. Lucy wrote this song “Sitting on my lounge room floor during a facetime call with my partner.”

‘Speaking Another Language’ is one of the few tracks on that albums that had no initial connection with Paulo’s works and was an outlet for emotion after a romantic tiff, along with title track ‘You Are Home’ – “A song about how home for me is grounding. I wanted the song to feel warm, welcoming, and weightless – like how my family makes me feel,” she says 

The recording of closing track ‘Something That Speaks To You’ is in its 7th incarnation, each version taking on a different sound each time. “I’ve loved how this song can transform and it wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible talents of the band, especially Ben Vanderwal who co-produced the record with me. This one is about taking a moment to register how you feel, instead of reacting.”

‘You Are Home’ by Lucy Iffla will be released digitally and on CD on 3 November 2023.