He’s the local musician who has been on the scene for quite some time now, delighting people with his unique tunes and upbeat energy. These days though, Karl “The Lyrical” Smith is more than a musician, he’s also a Podcaster and Gamer and on Sunday March 15th he’ll be hosting Pop & Play – a supercharged festival of eSports and music in a celebration of Asian pop culture – at HOTA (Home of the Arts).
We sat down for a chat with Karl about his career thus far and the transition from Karl Smith to The Lyrical.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve only been a Gold Coast local since 2018 but have fallen deeply in love with it very quickly. I have always had a beautiful relationship with the Coast through my music as well.
What do you love most about living here?
I mean, if having such easy access to some of the world’s greatest beaches isn’t enough of an answer, what about being part of the awesome musical and creative community that just keeps growing here?
Talk to us about your transition from Karl Smith to The Lyrical…
“The Lyrical” has been my “performance name” since before the busking days in Fortitude Valley, as far back as the early 2000’s. Back in our hip-hop crew days, a fellow rapper, Day Know, jokingly dubbed me “The Lyrical Shaman” once… and (most of) it stuck. I’ve been trying to live up to the expectations of the name ever since and I love the challenge.
You grew up in the Solomon Islands, how has your childhood impacted the music you make today?
So much of my original music (and even the covers I choose to play) is still influenced by early years in the islands. And not just the traditional music of the islands, but also, and arguably more so, the dated pop music and Disney songs we were exposed to well after the rest of the world was done with it haha!
What can we expect from your upcoming event at HOTA?
I will actually be hosting POP & PLAY! I’ll be running around and hopefully not making a fool of myself while getting absorbed by the colourful and entertaining events on display and guiding you all along for the ride!
You’re also a podcaster and a gamer, what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most?
I have always deeply loved gaming. It has inspired much of my life and has helped me through more than any other medium, be it music to books to movies. Gaming had always been the place I go to, not just to escape, but to rebuild. Next time we meet in person, just look at my arm tattoo and you might understand the journey a touch more…
From where do you find inspiration?
See above! Haha! But, as cliché as it is, everywhere. I’ll be reading a random book and come across a beautiful quote and run to my desk to turn the concept into a song. You just never know. I try to stay open to being inspired by anything.
What else is in the works for 2020?
I have several tours around Australia with my music as “The Lyrical” and looking to record more music. In the gaming world, I will be heading over to Comicon in San Diego in July for a sneaky personal peek to finally see and report back what that is all about. Callan (my Game Train Podcast co-host) and I also have a LOT more planned for our Twitch streaming and podcasting adventures in 2020 so watch this space!
What advice do you have for someone looking to create a career in the performance arts?
I am definitely not old or wise enough to give advice to anyone except to say that if I could, I would 100% do it all again. The seven years of busking, the slow burn with venues and the friendships and connections through both music and video game worlds. They have moulded me into a performer and person I am proud of. So I guess, do that?
Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Coffee spot: Jac + Eileen’s (Palm Beach) There is legit: No. Better. Coffee.
Cafe for breakfast: So many great spots around but I always just end up back at Jac & Eileen’s… they have books and everything!!
Restaurant for dinner: Burgster (Palm Beach)
How does your weekend usually look? I’m usually anywhere between Airlie Beach and Yamba doing a live show. And if not, I’m streaming on Twitch at home playing video games with a network of other legends and having a blast!