Buzz magnet Alex Lahey was one of the most talked-about artists at the recent BIGSOUND conference in Brisbane and naturally some of that talk amounted to comparisons between the 24-year-old Melbourne singer-songwriter and homegrown star Courtney Barnett.
Sure, both Lahey and Barnett are young, Melbourne-based singer-songwriters known for their wry and observational lyricism, or as Lahey herself puts it in an interview with Yahoo, “We’re both Australian women with brown hair who play Telecasters.”
But as far as Lahey’s concerned, it’s not only lazy but also sexist to compare the two. “I’m just not convinced that those comparisons would be happening if I was a guy. It’s just silly and easy,” Lahey told AAP. “I think it’s easy to lump girls in with each other and it’s just stupid.”
“I’m a huge fan of Courtney I think she’s one of the best songwriters in the world and her values and what she stands for are beautiful and brilliant, so I’m humbled to be compared to that. But I don’t think that it’s accurate, especially from a musical perspective, we play very different types of music.”
In fact, as Lahey told AAP, the guitar is not even her primary instrument. The songwriter studied saxophone at uni and works as a session saxophonist. She picked up a guitar at 13 and began teaching herself, writing songs because other people’s were too hard to learn.
“If I have half the career Courtney has now I will be very, very happy,” Lahey added. Having won triple j’s Unearthed prize as well as the Josh Pyke partnership and mentorship, Lahey’s certainly on her way to seeing the kind of success that Barnett has.