Electronic, Indie, Pop
Missy Higgins, Sarah Blasko, Megan Washington, Lana Del Ray
City & Colour, John Mayer, Sia
Unearthed artists we like
Larissa McKay is a self-starting musician.
At the age of 15 she began playing the family piano by ear, taught herself chords and wrote her first song.
A few years later she was asked to join the ranks of a jazz/funk band, The Groove Syndicate. The band played at The Manly International Jazz Festival among other events and recorded an EP called Up Late. After fronting this seven piece ensemble, Larissa thought she could give her own songs a little life and began performing them around Sydney with drummer, Steve de Wilde. The pair won recording time and with the help of bassist, Andy Gray, they recorded larissa & the wild grey’s first EP, Soldier, in 2007.
Larissa began booking gigs for the band around Sydney, on both sides of the harbour, including The Hopetoun, The Excelsior, The Vanguard, The Supper Club, Manly Boatshed, residences at Newport Arms Hotel and The Novotel Hotel in Manly, and the Sydney Opera House’s Utzon Room.
Along the way guitar shreader, Pete Covington, joined the trio. His work features on the track called The Rain. In honing her craft at countless shows across Sydney, Larissa in early 2009 recorded her first solo EP Just the Wind, produced by Darren Percival. The EP has a stripped back, emotive vibe which showcases what makes Larissa McKay a successful artist – her warm and captivating voice and catchy, honest songwriting.
With the new EP hot in her hand, she took off the USA to perform seven shows, all booked independently. The selected solo shows - in New York City and Hollywood, showcased her lyrical soft-rock sound. Larissa's CV now includes an appearance at the notorious Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard, where the film stars go out to play, two shows at The Bitter End, New York City’s best known and longest-running live rock venue, in the heart of Greenwich Village. Arlene’s Grocery and The Living Room in the East Village, NY, and Room 5 in LA.
Her shows on the compact US tour sparked interest from agents in the UK, South Africa and USA, but one meeting proved more significant than the others. She met visiting English artist manager Keith Phillips, and packed up her keys and moved across the other side of the world. For nearly two years she called London home and played regularly in the capital.
During her time in the UK Larissa proudly supported fellow Australian’s Bertie Blackman and Sarah Blasko and has appeared on the same bill as up and coming acts Cloud Control, Hungry Kids Of Hungary, Bridezilla, Dappled Cities, Kav Temperley (Eskimo Joe) and Bluejuice.
In May 2010, she performed two shows at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, Europe’s biggest emerging artist festival, and was also invited by the festivals sponsors, Red Stripe, to perform a street gig near the sea front at the festival. She also at the Aussie BBQ at London's Cargo.
Towards the end of her time in London, she recorded an EP called ‘Songs That London Built’ and recorded two music videos which featured on RAGE Australia. One surreal and memorable night she found herself jamming with INXS.
Larissa returned to Sydney at the end of 2011 to perform at The Festival of the Sun and shortly after ran a crowd funding campaign to create her latest EP In the Clouds alongside producer, Yanto Browning. The EP was released late 2013 and the launch held in the beautiful William St. Studios.
The infectious first single Boat received airplay in Sydney and Melbourne – and ascended to #1 on Triple J’s Unearthed pop chart. Boat is a bouncy, cheerful tune written about a summer romance whilst sailing the Mediterranean. The second single off the EP titled In the Clouds is set for release July 2014 in conjunction with a music video filmed in an underground bunker on Sydney’s coastline.
Since her return to Sydney, Larissa has supported Mark Seymour (Hunters and Collectors), Renee Geyer and Boyeur as well as playing regular gigs and residencies across Sydney.
August 2014 saw Larissa jet back over to The States to perform a string of shows in L.A and San Francisco.
Larissa says, “I love everything about music. The therapeutic nature of songwriting, the buzz of being on stage, the incredibly talented and interesting people I’ve worked with and met along the way. But when it comes down to it, I just love being creative and productive. I feel very grateful that people get a kick out of listening to the songs I’ve created.”
Over Larissa’s bursting career she has written hundreds of songs, recorded many and sung backing vocals on Bryan Estepa's latest album, has written and performed a score for a short film called Huw, sung and appeared in the video for soul/funk band Kid Confucius and written various songs alongside electronic dance producers L D R U, Yahtzel, Nick Lynar, Akouo, Sam Roberts, Lem & Wej and Zac Casella.