Self-made Northern NSW singer-songwriter Ziggy Alberts is one of this country’s most admired performers, building an ever-swelling following over the past decade off the back of his burgeoning indie-folk sounds and rapturous live performances, honed from his formative days spent busking on the streets of Byron Bay.
Having been home-schooled until the age of thirteen and involving his family in many aspects of his career, his trajectory has been somewhat defined by his unique upbringing.
Following on from the breakthrough success of his 2018 album ‘Laps Around The Sun’, earlier this year he put out his fifth album, the critically acclaimed ‘Searching For Freedom’, once again released on his self-founded label, Commonfolk Records.
But music is just one side of the creative equation when it comes to Ziggy’s talents, having recently also set up his own publishing company, Commonfolk Publishing, and putting out his very first literary work, a collection of self-penned poetry entitled ‘Brainwaves’, a clever reference to both the cerebral aspect of his writing and his deep love of the ocean.
The work is a meditative and reflective expose into Ziggy’s experiences, emotions and inner thoughts, gleaned from both home life as well as his time on the touring and travel trail. Ziggy’s poetry, encapsulated within the framework of modern day living, touches upon themes such as stillness, purpose, trust and the time-honoured theme of love, conveyed in his own frank and unique style, while at the same time also being deeply relatable.
While standing separate to his music and song lyrics, he’s recently blended his literary and musical worlds by coinciding his latest regional shows with an intimate series of book launch events.
We recently got Ziggy to share a few thoughts on his new literary journey.
What inspired you to set up your own publishing house, Commonfolk Publishing? And how did you go about getting it off the ground?
I was very lucky that we had already established our independent family record label (Commonfolk Records) over the last three years prior to this project. The team was largely in place and this was an exciting new venture, applying the same ethos and skillsets that we are all passionate about!
I understand that you were a published writer before you were even a musician!? Have you gone back and used any of your poems/writing as part of your song writing process or do you treat them as separate entities?
From about the age of thirteen, I wrote on and off for different surf magazines and freelance journalism was definitely a passion of mine. Music took over my life in 2011 when I first picked up a guitar. Sometimes my poetry and lyrics overlap, but for the most part there is a healthy separation between the two!
You probably get asked about your musical influences a lot, but are there also any authors or literary works that have been a particular inspiration or influence on your writing?
Yes there is – my favourite author ever is Richard Bach (Illusions, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull). I quite enjoy Tim Winton for his Australian style of writing. I also very much enjoy Yung Pueblo – he is an amazing poet.
Outside of your current book are there any other writing projects that you are working on with the view to publish down the track? And do you have any other writers that you are looking to publish?
There are some more writing projects in the works, and the long game is to include other authors in our publishing house!
What role has your unique upbringing played in allowing you to develop into the well-rounded creative performer and person that you are today?
I don’t know about well-rounded (ha-ha) but my upbringing played a massive part in my preparedness to do things differently, and I think allowed me to “be me”.
From a music perspective how is the rest of 2021 shaping up for you?
I’ve just played a bunch of awesome sold-out shows, and want to keep sharing my new album ‘Searching For Freedom’.
Ziggy Alberts first self-published book of poetry, ‘Brainwaves’, is available now via his Commonfolk Publishing imprint. Keep an eye on his personal website, ziggyalberts.com, for all the latest on his upcoming tour and performance dates.
IMAGE: Janneke Storm