Australian songbird’s inner child keeps calling her.
BY HAL BIENSTOCK
For most of her career, the singer-songwriter-actress Lenka
says she felt like a violinist in an orchestra, helping to make other people’s
projects come to life but secretly longing to be in control. After acting in a few independent movies (and
training with fellow Aussie Cate Blanchett), Lenka first burst on to the music
scene as the vocalist for the ambient-electro band The Decoder Ring.
“I don’t want to say it wasn’t my style of music,” she says.
“But the songs I was writing were more girly, upbeat pop that didn’t fit with
the male, shoegazer, electronic music they were making.”
On her self-titled debut, issued last fall by Epic, Lenka’s
free to be as girly as she wants, making music that combines classic Brill Building
pop with the quirkiness of Bjork and Regina Spektor. It’s a sound that has already earned her
spots on “Ugly Betty” and the Courtney Cox vehicle “Dirt.” It could pass for
bubblegum, until you listen to the
darkness that lurks within.
“I wasn’t happy when I wrote a lot of these songs, so I was
trying to cheer myself up,” says Lenka. “The theme of the record is that life
is a screwed-up thing, but there’s nothing you can do about it, so you may as
well enjoy it.”
Now, Lenka hopes her music can cheer up other people,
especially a certain little kid that may or may not exist.
“I went to a kinesiologist and she said all my problems were
caused by my inner five-year-old,” Lenka says. “So I’ve tried to see the world
in a fairly childlike way and hold on to this idea that a five-year-old inside
me is calling the shots and I have to keep her happy.”