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What impact did bringing Compassion to life and seeing it resonate so deeply with audiences have on you and how has it informed your work as an artist since?
Compassion has been a deeply moving project for Nigel and myself and the resonance it has had with audiences to date has exceeded our wildest expectations. I remember after its premiere both Nigel and I commented that neither of us had felt that kind of response from any work we had previously presented in our respective careers. I feel that we tapped into something powerfully universal. On a personal level it has given me a greater trust in my intuition and the confidence to feel comfortable within an orchestral setting.

There seems to be a running thread of deep meaning and connection with much of the work you do. What is your process for deciding what your next project is? Is it a very conscious weighing up of factors or something more instinctual?
It always starts from a feeling, from being genuinely moved by something. That spark provides the momentum to start putting the pieces of the songwriting puzzle together, which can be a lengthy and consuming process. Whether it be feeling uplifted by the more beautiful aspects of humanity or examining the complexity of relationships, I’m interested in striving for a certain transcendence through their expression in art.

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Lior and Nigel Westlake perform Compassion at WOMADelaide, 2021

You have explored many different artistic genres; having written music for theatre, TV, symphonies, and pop to name a few! Are you always hungry for new experiences artistically? What interests you about exploring new mediums of music?
It is more about collaboration than specifically seeking out new mediums. For the first decade of my career I focused on writing songs on my own. As time rolled on I started to feel that I had said a lot of what I had set out to say in my earlier albums, and became more interested in what others could draw out of me and vice versa. The choice in diversifying has largely been a result of finding people that I felt compelled to work with who happened to be immersed in various mediums.

Compassion has been performed all around the world and despite it being 9 years after its debut, it continues to attract audiences. Why do you think people are so drawn to it?
It's hard to sum up in a few words and it is still partly unknown. I think that Nigel and I struck a rare synergy where we brought our respective expertise to the table and joined them in a fairly seamless way to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Nigel’s orchestration work in Compassion is breath taking. I must have heard it hundreds of times and still discover new elements within it. He poured his heart and soul into the orchestration and I believe it to be on par with some of the great orchestral works. There is also of course the aspect of tapping into something ancient, sacred and universal through the language and texts used.

I think the trait of compassion is the most beautiful and defining aspect of what it is to be human and this work attempts to channel that.

You have been a mentor for young songwriters over the years. What is the best advice you think young artists need to hear?
The thing about being a songwriter is that no two journeys are alike. Everyone will have their own weird and wonderful path to becoming a songwriter. At the end of the day all I can really tell them is to work hard and to remember to enjoy the road. If you feel like you can’t not do it, then you should do it! Confused?

And lastly, we would love to know what is your morning routine?
Coffee, walk the dog, wonder what I’m doing with my life, and then get to work.

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1200X800 Image Only No Text V2 June 19

See Lior perform A Night of Compassion with the MSO.

Thursday 29 September, 7:30pm at Melbourne Town Hall.

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