So I did a last minute cover gig on Saturday singing Posession and On The Road by Ethel Smyth. This was the final part of the Working Class Movement Library's Centenary celebration of Ethel Carnie Holdsworth (working class novelist, poet and - in this case - lyricist.)
I only caught the end of the discussion as my performance was the last of the day, but it really struck me how little we research lyricists. Well, me at least. We research the poetry we're singing and work out what it means for us, what it means for the composer (who we've no doubt also researched) and how those two meanings come together to produce a cohesive performance. But it's rare for me to put too much effort into researching the lyricist. So unless its someone with whom I'm already familiar, I might know nothing whatsoever!
Given this conference was all about the lyricist, I thought I'd do a little research. What I found was extraordinarily interesting, much of Carnie's work was highly influential in the Women's Rights movement and in promoting the work of the Working Class, particularly of women. This gave me a whole host of other ideas for my performance that I hadn't considered previously, and has certainly influenced how I will look at lyricists in the future.