Media and Communications
Melbourne musicians Alyssa Agius and Georga Byrnes are two young Catholics ready to take the Christian and secular music world by storm with their upcoming debut single ‘Set Fire’.
Pictured: Alyssa Agius (left) and Georga Byrne (right)
The pair who currently tour Melbourne's live music circuit formed their friendship serendipitously through meetings and events.
‘My brother Thomas is the drummer in my band introduced us, as he had gone to a Youth Day with Alyssa,’ explains Georga who sings with her band Soul Chic and has a background in Jazz music and dancing.
‘But then it wasn’t until 4 or 5 years later that we just kept seeing each other at these events,’ continued Alyssa who plays with her band Un-Limited which she started with her husband Daniel at age 17.
It was a phone call that Georga received from Ormond Parish Priest Fr Paul Newton which led to the two pairing up as friends in faith.
‘He asked if I could start singing at church and I was like ‘ooh I can’t do that on my own,’ she says. ‘I thought "who could play keys?" and then I thought ‘Alyssa!’ I rang Alyssa and we had our first rehearsal. We’d go in, worship and then we’d have dinner. We formed a really close friendship.’
The track ‘Set Fire’ was written in 2018, initially as a submission for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF).
‘I saw that the Australian Catholic Youth Festival was looking for a theme song based on ‘joy’. So I said let’s go and write a song,’ explains Alyssa.
‘We just started writing together and it came out quite quickly. Fr Rob (Galea) created a video of what he wanted the song to be about,’ said Georga of the songwriting process.
‘He said, "it’s got to be about joy and that joy you’d be having when times are tough and God is going to get you through and with joy we can be a light to the world" so we watched his video in order to get the substance of the lyrical content and inspiration.’
‘We went to Mass, we had dinner and the song just kind of just fizzled out in half an hour, it was just incredible,’ adds Alyssa.
The song was subsequently shortlisted and came second place which inspired the pair to take the song to a new level. ‘Not winning was the best thing that could happen because it kind of forced us to get it produced properly,’ explains Alyssa.
‘Set Fire’ attracted attention and because of their efforts were invited to perform with Catholic singer songwriter Genevieve Bryant.
‘It just ignited our passion, our faith,’ says Georga.
‘It’s just incredible where God’s taken it,’ Alyssa adds.
After performing at the ACYF, the two were asked to take part in more Gen Bryant performances. In the meantime, Alyssa had a burning desire to produce the track, so she approached renowned producer Luke Batterbury (who has worked with Darryl Braithwaite and Jason Singh from Taxiride) in the hopes that he might be interested in working on the track. Her initiative was well received.
‘He’s a Christian as well,’ says Georga, ‘and he was interested in making a popping Christian track with a real message of Jesus and hope, but one with a pop sensibility. He absolutely put his heart into it and came up with this musical track and he really took it to a new level.’
An energetic film clip was produced to accompany the tune. ‘The video was produced by Luke and the guys from One Heart Studios. They are beautiful Christian guys that put their heart into it,’ says Alyssa.
‘Set Fire’ is due for release on Tuesday 15 January, exactly one week before they join Fr Rob Galea as back-up singers at World Youth Day Panama.
Alyssa describes the single as a way of bridging the gap between Christian and secular music.
‘It’s really fresh and I think it will appeal to people who are not only just in the Christian market but the mainstream market as well. And it definitely has that underlying message of faith.’
The new Catholic pop track ‘Set Fire’ can be downloaded from iTunes, Spotify and all major online music outlets.