I suspect that Liv Austen isn’t just a wonderful artist but a wonderful person too. Her debut album A Moment of Your Time is, in some respects, a revelation. The Norwegian-born singer has fused country, pop and rock together to produce an appealing sound. But it is in the lyrics that we find this album to be a real gem.
Within the first few minutes of listening to this album, it becomes clear that Liv Austen is a leading lady. Having given up acting to pursue a career in music, she may not be eligible for Best Actress but, on this showing, she would win Most Inspiring Female hands down. I say this because her portrayal of the no nonsense (‘Miss Nobody’), strong and independent (‘The Next Time’) woman who is not going to take any s**t from men is the perfect counter-narrative to the culture that has been, and continues to be, challenged by the #MeToo movement.
I love the message that comes from ‘Don’t Regret a Single One’, in which Austen reflects on the men that have come and gone in her life, and from whom she has learnt something every time. Unlike the perhaps-typical male attitude to simply move on to the next person without so much as a second thought for the one they’ve just left, Austen treats her male counterparts as human beings, recognising that her interactions with them, however hurtful in the end, still contain invaluable experience from which wisdom can be gleaned.
‘Window Shopping’ follows on in a similar vein. Here, Austen sticks two fingers up to a culture that would have looks and beauty mean more than character and personality. “Don’t care if you’re fit, just if we fit” nicely sums up the dominant theme of the song, which offers a refreshing perspective on what is really important when it comes to dating and relationships.
It seems that Austen has had her fair share of hurt when it comes to romance. ‘Whole Heart’, ‘Detour’ and ‘Part Time Sweetheart’ are all reflections on her experience, but they are far from wallowing in self-pity. Instead, over electric guitar, Austen delivers an ultimatum to any would-be suitors, doing so in luscious, heartfelt, and harmonic tones respectively. There may be a little heartache here, but certainly not regret; just reflections on heartbreak and a determination to take the positives out of each and every situation. Empowering is the word that comes to mind.
A Moment of Your Time requires just that. Taking some time out to listen to this album may leave you a changed person. Austen is a woman who knows herself. She takes her experiences and reflects honestly on them, positively challenging a certain cultural attitude in the process. This makes her an ideal role model for (young) women. But those who hold to a certain image of masculinity would do well to listen too. This is what makes Liv Austen positively inspiring. And I think what makes her such a wonderful person too.
Originally written for Building Our Own Nashville in October 2018.
Featured Image (C) Liv Austen