Irish-Australian singer-songwriter Damien Leith is stepping back in time with his latest single Time Machine. The contemplative track sees Damien return to his acoustic songwriting roots, and is the first track from his forthcoming album, slated for release mid-2022. Time Machine envisions the quintessential sliding doors moment in life, considering what could have been if something had been done differently. Featuring sweepingly romantic strings, gracefully weaved with Damien’s soaring vocals and the beautiful harmonies of Emma Greenhill, it is a track that captivates the soul. The single marks a new chapter for Damien, the chance to get back to the essence of songwriting and reflect on what is important in life.
Throughout Damien’s career, he has always placed importance on creativity and songwriting. In 2017, he won a Golden Guitar for Song Of The Year for his co-write with Travis Collins on Call Me Crazy. He also has multiple other awards to his name, including ARIAs, MTV Australia Video Music Awards and Helpmann Awards. Damien felt the time was now right to return to where his heart was, in an acoustic style of storytelling.
“This style of music has always been my favourite,” he says. “I’m an acoustic singer-songwriter at heart. When I released my Roy Orbison album, I never expected it to do as well as it did, and in many ways, its success took me away from my first passion of songwriting. Suddenly, everyone wanted me to sing Roy songs or other covers, and releasing my own music took a backseat. With COVID sweeping the world, and concerts being cancelled left, right and centre, it gave me time to reflect and dive back into songwriting.”
Time Machine was recorded in three different locations, each helping bring together the sound that Damien envisioned for the track. “I used my home studio for vocals, Eric Aranda recorded guitars and mixed the song at DBC Studios in Sydney, and Emma Greenhill arranged and played strings at her studio in the Blue Mountains,” he says. “Emma liked the song so much, that she decided to record some harmonies too. I have performed with Emma for many years, but this was the first time I’d heard her sing. I loved the harmonies and had to feature them on the track.”
While Time Machine was written pre-COVID 2021 lockdowns, the concept of the track has taken on a greater meaning in recent months. It isn’t just about the one that got away, or the way something could have been, but about the loss of time with loved ones. The initial idea for the song started differently and evolved as Damien finished the track. “I was driving one afternoon and started thinking how cool It would be to have a time machine, the things you could change in your life, or see again,” he says. “I love the movie Back To The Future, so I immediately started singing lines to do with Doc Brown and Marty McFly. I played the first draft to my wife, Eileen, and we got chatting about the idea of a Time Machine. We talked about how life had changed so much, and how years have flown by, and of the many moments that have come and gone. We started to jot down new lines, quite contemplative and much deeper. We loved the idea of sliding doors, and of the many different paths that someone can take.”
Incorporating family into the track was an important part of the songwritng process for Damien. So, when it came to picking the artwork for the single, Damien also wanted to keep that connection. “My older brother Paul is an incredible photographer,” he says. “I loved a photo he took during a trip to Iceland; the photo has a sense of mystery about it, and I felt it fitted the overall theme of the song. I also loved the family connection of the photo.”
For Damien, the song also proved introspective and gave him a chance to consider his own existence. He says personally, he wouldn’t change a thing about his life. “I think there are definitely crossroads in our lives and when we look back at them, we see how they defined us and made us who we are,” he says. “This song is about looking back over time, about the doors that we didn’t walk through and about what may have happened is we chose differently. Even my life here in Australia, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be living in Australia and doing what I do, so many steps along the way led me to this point. What if I had chosen a different path?”
Damien Leith first captured the hearts of the Australian public in the 2006 reality television show Australian Idol. Since then, he has enjoyed platinum selling albums and even as an Australian Commercial Radio Award (ACRA). In addition to his incredible musical successes, he has also hosted and co-hosted multiple television shows, penned two novels, and continues to co-host a popular breakfast radio show.
Damien Leith’s single Time Machine is released on Friday 19th November 2021. For more information, please visit www.damienleith.com