There’s nothing quite like a pocket rocket to get your attention, just ask Lenka.
Her song Follow was featured on a television episode of Dirt, during a scene in which Courtney Cox pleasures herself with a vibrator.
“That was my first TV pickup,” the ex-frontwoman for pop project Decoder Ring laughs. “The whole show I was waiting for it and then it came on and I howled. I never expected that. I thought it was great.”
Since then, the Australian actress turned singer-songwriter has been touring the world in support of her self-titled solo debut, from which songs such as The Show, Trouble Is A Friend and Live Like You’re Dying make ubiquitous television appearances. Small wonder why. The album’s bouncy arrangements of pianos, vibraphones and glockenspiels belie the darker experimental electronic ambience of Decoder Ring — perfect for primetime TV while standing out in its own right.
“It’s much more sweet and poppy,” says Lenka (born Lenka Kripac in 1978), now based in Los Angeles. “Decoder Ring was never exactly what I wanted to do, they were just sort of a happy accident and I loved doing it when I was with them. But I always had this desire to do singer-songwriter, vocally driven folk music which was very different from them.”
Lenka comes by her folky artistic bent honestly. Mom and Dad were hippies, and Lenka spent the first few years of her life in the Australian outback. At seven, the family moved to Sydney (she admits to bouts of claustrophobia due to city life), where she studied at the Australian Theatre for Young People under Cate Blanchett.
Lenka says the two haven’t kept in touch, though Blanchett was disappointed to hear she was turning to music full-time.
“She was amazing. We all loved her. She definitely passed onto us a love of the craft,” she said of the actress. “I’m not surprised that she’s done as well as she has.”
Lenka’s currently hashing out plans for a second album. The tone will be darker, she speculates, as she may use tracks she judged too grim for the initial release.
In the meantime you can get your Lenka fix from Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty and 90210, one of her personal favourites as a ’90s kid (the first series, she specifies.)
“The new one’s just trying too hard to be sexy,” she laughs. “The old one had moral lessons like an after-school special. It was like Degrassi, which has a huge cult following in Australia. They’re so bad that they’re good.”