For M.E. Baird, there is no separation between life and art nor his various mediums and methodologies. He is constantly twisting and ricocheting from one art form to the other exploring the symbiotic relationships between them in a perpetual search for 'truth'.
M.E. Baird (Matthew Ede Baird) is an acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter, musician, visual artist and former academic. Originally from Melbourne, he has lived in many places since. He currently calls the Northern New South Wales home.
MUSIC & SONG
There is a haunting quality to M.E. Baird’s music, a type of gothic blues noir that permeates the songs. Baird knows how to successfully balance the beauty and the despair on Time and as a result, this is an album that should fit nicely in the record collections of fans of songwriters such as Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Will Oldham." ★★★★ The Music (Australia)
"Deeply evocative, M.E. Baird is driven by emotion. Whether in the carefully crafted lyrics or the music itself, emotion drips from everywhere, it trickles down walls and pools on the floor. It aches and hurts...and it’s beautiful." ★★★★ Rhythms Magazine, Australia.
M.E. Baird's songwriting draws upon lived experiences most of which, are well beyond the ordinary. M.E. Baird brings a visually rich quality to his songs transforming each one into cinematic vignettes full of drama, humility and emotion. His live performances have been described as nothing short of compelling with his lush sonic minimalism, lamenting vocal style and singular stage presence. His most recent offering entitled Time has already received 4-star reviews and global recognition. Over his career, M.E. Baird has written, recorded and co-produced five full-length albums and various Ep's. He has also contributed tracks to film and television productions and has composed original music for various film and screen-based projects.
M.E. Baird's music career began in the early '90s as part of the inner Melbourne, folk, rock and grunge scene. During this period he wrote and recorded one album and an Ep with his then folk-rock trio Zen For Head as well as solo shows and playing the guitar on other peoples recordings. However, from 1999 - 2006, M.E. Baird dispanded music to travel to Europe, the UK and Northern Africa. He then settled in Sydney to pursue a career in art and design including teaching and lecturing at various universities and art schools. However, he eventually saw the light and returned to Melbourne and his true love of songwriting under the musical moniker of Lionel Lee releasing 'Vexed Intentions' (2008) followed by his critically acclaimed folk/pop offering Mysteries of the heart; Vagaries of the mind (2010).
'VEXED INTENTIONS' & 'MYSTERIES OF THE HEART; VAGARIES OF THE MIND'...2006-2010
M.E. Baird's returned to making music after a seven-year hiatus. Under his then musical monikers of 'Lionel Lee' and Lionel Lee's Curse, he wrote and recorded a solo acoustic Ep entitled Vexed Intentions followed by the eleven-track long-player Mysteries of the heart; Vagaries of the mind (2010) The album was hailed as a critical success and supported by well-received live shows and was runner up for best folk album of 2010 by the Entertainment Guide, (EG) The AGE newspaper, Melbourne.
'FALL'...THE DEFINING PERIOD 2012-2016
M.E. Baird's eight-track solo album and fourth long-player, entitled FALL (2016) was the album that almost wasn't but endured to become a defining moment in M.E. Baird's musical journey and career. The release of Fall his first truly solo album under his own name (albeit just his initials) hailed in a new beginning for M.E. Baird and confirmed his presence as an outstanding songwriter, musician and performer. However, the album was to represent a period of great loss, grief and hardship for M.E Baird. Leading up to the writing and recording of the album he was to lose his Nephew Jeremy who at eighteen months his junior was like a brother to him and sadly died as the victim of a horrific and brutal murder. A short time after his mother passed on too early-onset Alzheimers and cancer followed by an uncle and aunt who were close mentors and constant inspiration. More loss was to come when not long after the recording was completed. He was then to endure the deaths of his Sister and Father in quick succession. All in all, six family members passing in three years. The impact of the losses and grief coupled with years of struggling with depression and anxiety eventually took a toll on M.E. Baird. This meant the release of the album would have to be put on hold, perhaps indefinitely. However, against all odds Fall was formally released in August 2016 two years after its recording. Overall, the album has been recognised as a fine testament to M.E. Baird's skills as a solo musician, songwriter, performer and the enduring commitment he has to his music and songwriting. However, the album despite being a critical success was considered too dark by many in the Australian music industry and therefore didn't get the live airing it deserved. This was to be another heavy blow to M.E. Baird, making it very difficult for him to continue. However, he was not going to be defeated. In the winter of 2017, he began writing tracks for what would become Time his 5th full-length album.
'TIME'...THE SONGS THAT ARE THE DANCE OF TIME 2017 - 2019
M.E. Baird's most current release entitled TIME is a lyrical and sonic journey through age, experience and a testament to the passing of ‘time’. The tracks on TIME individually explore varied subtexts ranging from belonging, coming of age, corruption, migration, fortune, misfortune, contempt, loneliness and the joy of being alone. The album has received glowing four-star reviews, airplay and global recognition.
All tacks for the album were written in the winter of 2017 and recording of the album began in the following winter. The album was recorded at Wild Mountain Sound Studio, Brisbane located amongst the sublime beauty of Mt Nebo’s Eucalyptus forests. The album was produced by producer/musician, Jamie Trevaskis. Jamie and M.E. Baird had mused for some time about recording a new album together, with Jamie playing a leading and creative role in the co-production of the album. When recording began it became instantly clear that Jamie, as a collaborator was able to transport the songs sonically into a universe far beyond the ordinary. It was important for the song's narrative to tell Jamie Trevaskis where the song/story needed to go sonically. Where a song needed to be tough, it had to be threatening, where it needed to be honest, it needed to be candid, where there was tenderness, it must be achingly forgiving and where there’s was anger, it’s uncompromised. It was creatively vital that the album not pander to any genre, audience or expectations, of course, there are some hat-tipping and influences evident; it would be arrogant to pretend otherwise. Both Jamie and M.E. Baird wanted to show that it is an album born of maturity, rigour, determination, and patience. With this album, there was a return to how M.E. Baird made records in the past. All tracks were recorded to analogue tape, predominantly live and with very little overdubs. This was done not for nostalgic reasons but for a more ‘authentic’ audio representation. It also places more emphasis on musicianship rather than software know-how and digital trickery.
Music is M.E. Baird's first true love, however, he has always had a passion for art and specifically drawing from a very young age. M.E. Baird's primarily works with graphite and ink on paper and utilises a painstaking and laborious process that can see some larger pieces taking weeks to complete. The initial reading of M.E. Baird's work is that they are landscapes but they are more like 'memory and emotion maps'. For M.E. Baird there is definitely a symbiotic relationship between his songwriting, music and visual art.
M.E. Baird initially studied fine arts at Frankston Technical College and later Landscape Architecture at RMIT, Melbourne. He is a former academic and has also held various teaching and lecturing roles in art, design and creative theory at various art schools and universities in Victoria and New South Wales. He has also worked as a designer, stylist and creative director in the film and television world. M.E. Baird no longers works in academia but does occasionally upon request offer workshops on creative thinking and creative processes for art and design.
Click here to view artworks by M.E. Baird
Click here to find out more about workshops by M.E. Baird