I will never forget the moment when I saw Wallis Bird performing live for the first time. Ten years ago, I met her at the band camp in Hammelburg in the middle of nowhere in Bavaria. Back then, I helped organizing the band camp working for Popakademie as an assistant. Popakademie had invited musicians and music business students from nine European pop schools to work in the band camp together during three days. The project was called Mu:zone Europe and was masterminded by my friend Andrea Hartmann.
On arrival day, a busload full of drunken Irish musicians stumbled into the band camp residence, immediately turning our stay into a three-days-experience none of us will ever forget. After a heavy night of boozing, the musicians, future managers and coaches assembled in the main hall where the artists showcased some of their songs. Wallis took the stage eventually and performed “Blossoms in the Street.” We all just stared at her with our mouths wide open. She had us cheering and jumping around excitedly watching her performance full of energy and lust for life.
After the gig, all the music business students kept swarming around Wallis like randy dogs, trying to get her to sign contracts. This was part of a business game – but they were after her for real. She also met Peter Putz and Maxxi Schenkel who, together with their team, are well-known in the music business today for their serious and upright way of making business. Peter was starting up his Karakter artist management business already. They were able to talk to Wallis that night and interest her in working with them. It was the beginning of a legendary collaboration.
Wallis came over to Germany to study at Popakademie for a while together with some other students from the Dublin based Ballyfermot College of Further Education, including Paul Kenny, the drummer of Konstantin Gropper’s Get Well Soon (among others). I remember one night in Mannheim when Wallis, Paul and I went out for adrink. We ended up in some fancy Mannheim Coctail bar and they kicked us out of there after a while because we were misbehaving. We hadn’t finished our drinks and took them with us. Crossing some bridge I looked at my glass filled with Campari Orange and the next thing I saw was my mobile phone swimming in it. Wallis and Paul later claimed that I tried to lick it clean afterwards. Then Wallis crashed into a shopping window with my mountain bike without actually destroying it (the window). I slept over at Wallis’ and Paul’s messy flat and we woke up the next day featuring massive hangovers. Then we went to Popakademie because the two of them had to take some sort of exam that day. Their exams landed on my desk afterwards and I revised and marked them. They did great.
A lot of good things happened back then. A bunch of great folks found each other and they are still out there making great records. Today, Wallis has released her fourth album “Architect.” I wish her and her team all the best; they are good people and great friends.