Burning Bridges

Mirrors (Album)

This album has been a long time in the making. It contains songs written over the course of roughly a decade, most of which are about, and directly inspired by experiences from my life. I started the journey to recording this album in early 2019, initially working on some of the tracks with producer Bruce Pagunsan. Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts we both struggled to commit the time to the project, and it sat on the backburner until 2020. And if only I could have foreseen what 2020 had in store for us! In March, I found myself out of a job due to the steadily increasing threat of a global pandemic, and all of a sudden I had all the time in the world to throw myself into the album. 

Before a series of lockdowns began, I managed to squeeze in one session in person with Nick Mason, the album’s producer (and an incredibly talented singer, songwriter, and musician in his own right), and we put together the bones of the first track on the album – and my debut single – Burning Bridges, over the course of a day in his studio. 

The majority of the rest of the album was done remotely after that point, with me working in my home studio, and Nick in his, and a couple more in person sessions as we were allowed to under Melbourne’s fluctuating restrictions. Over the course of the production process we have sent hundreds of videos and audio files back and forth to each other for review and feedback as we workshopped arrangements and production decisions over video calls and countless hours of listening. 

Nick has an incredible ear for detail, and he absolutely abounds with creativity, breathing new life and exciting arrangements into tracks that I never imagined would get to where they are today. He’s also provided guidance, and a voice of reason on many occasions as I overthought miniscule details. I can’t put into words how grateful I am to Nick for being a true partner in the creation of this album, and the fulfillment of a dream I’ve had since I wrote those first songs in high school. I’m immensely proud of this album, and I hope you enjoy listening to it even a fraction as much as I enjoyed creating it.

You can listen to Mirrors in full here.

Burning Bridges

I wrote this song after making the difficult decision to end things with someone I’d been dating for a short while. At the time, I was still recovering from a pretty messy finish to a pretty messy previous relationship, and I just couldn’t imagine diving into a new relationship with anybody. She wanted more, and I wasn’t able to give her that. The idea of “burning bridges” came to me because I felt that I needed to isolate myself for a while to figure out how to move forward with my life. 

For many years, when I played Burning Bridges at gigs I would always open my set with it. This was because I wrote it sitting quite low in my vocal range, and it allowed me a natural way to warm up as I played. When I made the decision to work towards recording an album, I worked on some early versions of the tracks with my friend Bruce Pagunsan, a producer and former bandmate from years before. He believed in my voice enough to convince me that I could sing the chorus up a whole octave from where I’d originally written it, and bring a whole new energy and style to the track in doing so. The song has gone from being my “low vocals opener” to containing my highest recorded note on the whole album (as well as the lowest note in my lead vocals), and it really showcases my vocal range. It felt right to pay homage to it’s humble beginnings by having Burning Bridges be the opener to my album.

Here’s a clip of my demo recording of Burning Bridges – you can hear how drastically it’s changed

In The Winter

In The Winter tells a story of love through the changing seasons. I wrote it for an anniversary, and the production of the track is symbolic of a slowly growing relationship. It’ll take you along for the ride, building upon its roots and blossoming into a triumphant celebration, like running into the arms of your lover in the rain. It’s certainly the most “pop” song on my album, and I hope it will be stuck in your head for weeks after you hear it! 

I have some voice notes in my phone from when I wrote In The Winter, and I had the first half of the song done (verses and pre-choruses), but couldn’t figure out where it was leading, or how to capture the joy of the relationship. There’s a voice note of me the moment I came up with the chorus (as well as the “ohs”) – I’m in the storeroom of a supermarket that I was working in at the time, and you can hear the cardboard compactor going in the background. When the inspiration strikes, you’ve gotta catch it! 


Looking at the lyrics of this song, anybody would think it’s about a real love interest, but Gold actually had the most bizarre inception. In February of 2018 I was working at a drive through liquor store, and a customer used the phrase “good as gold” with me after I helped him. I hadn’t heard that phrase recently, and it stuck with me and I almost immediately came up with the melody of the hook. I went home and wrote the whole song from start to finish that night, purely based on that customer interaction. I’ll never know where he is to thank him, but I love the song that he inadvertently inspired! 

Gold has had a few iterations. I initially wrote it on my ukulele, but soon started working on a demo in my first proper DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that I’d bought earlier that month – Mixcraft 8. This opened my mind to a whole new world of music production, and I got carried away creating a Chvrches-inspired, synth heavy pop song. I had no idea how to produce anything back then, and while I had some good ideas, my execution was pretty poor: 

When I started working on the album with Nick Mason, my producer, he was able to see my vision of what the song could be, and executed it to perfection. He created the gorgeous synth leads from scratch, and crafted the upbeat 80s synth-pop vibe you hear now. Gold is somewhat of a stylistic outlier on the album, being one of two more “electronic” songs, but I love the diversity that it brings to the album, and the Pearl Lee sound.

Speak Up

This is my protest song for some of the many things that are wrong in the world. I actually started writing this song with another singer’s voice in mind, and no idea of what the song would become. The lyrics reflect both a desire to consciously change my own behaviour and awareness for the better, as well as a call to action for the listener. While some of the lyrics may happily be dated since I wrote them – “Speak up, for an end to Trump…” I see this as a call to speak up against the things that Trump, and people like him, stand for. Bigotry, wealth inequality, sexism – unfortunately the list goes on. But the election results have affirmed a hope that we as a people can and will speak up when things aren’t right. Change will come, but it takes time and it takes many voices to make it heard. 

Speaking of many voices, I’m delighted to feature two of my close friends on this track. Firstly Rachael Belot adds her incredible voice to mine to bring more power to the lyrics. Secondly the talented rapper Ramon Lozano wrote and performed the brilliant rap in Speak Up. His writing is so clever and so powerful, and it was such a pleasure to have him and Rach on the song. It felt so right to have some friends performing this one alongside me given the nature of the song – we need to stand together to help make a change. Huge thanks again to both Rachael and Ramon for helping make Speak Up what it is.


I first performed this song at a talent show at Don Bosco Camp, a recreational holiday camp that I attended as a young teenager, and later became a leader at. It was an incredibly supportive environment, and I received an overwhelmingly positive response to my performance. This experience instilled a pretty special relationship with this song, which is one of the two oldest songs on the album, along with City of Lights

I wrote Mirrors at age 16. It tackles the notion that we are our own biggest critic, and often the only thing holding us back is ourselves. The lyrics set up the idea of an antagonist but in reality it’s about the inner battles that we can have with ourselves about who we are. As such, it made a lot of sense for Mirrors to be the title of the album as well. 

Whilst I wrote it on piano, I always felt the blues-rock chord progression would be better suited to guitar, and Nick delivered in full. We decided to add in a key change to mix things up, and while the majority of key changes you hear in music step up to a higher key, Mirrors throws you for a loop and jumps DOWN instead. Keep an ear out for it in the bridge, where you’ll also hear my big scream note on the word “you”. I recorded this vocal take sitting down at my desk, just playing around with melody ideas to carry through the key change. I’ve got no idea where it came from and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to replicate it, but it felt special as soon as it came out.

By Your Side

I wrote the first version of By Your Side when I was 17. It had a different name then, and a completely different (and genuinely terrible) chorus. I was never happy with it, and it fell by the wayside. It crept back into my head about 8 years later in 2018 when I became aware of a songwriting competition through my work. The idea was to write a song around the theme of mental health and being there for somebody. I was able to keep a couple of the verse lines I’d written all those years ago, and added some new ones, as well as a much better chorus! I was also inspired to turn it into a duet, featuring my friend Rebecca Leslie. I worked with Bec at the time and she is an amazing singer in a cover band called The Cover Council. I submitted the song to the competition, but unfortunately didn’t win. The winning song was called “I’ll Be By Your Side” so I guess we were a few words short! Huge thanks to Bec for being an absolute professional in the studio and lending her voice to this duet. 

At its core, By Your Side is simply about supporting your loved ones through anything and I think it’s a really important message. I’ve struggled with mental health over the years, and it’s important to not be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Her Eyes Have Seen The End

This may be my favourite song on the album. As you might hear from the production and vocal arrangements, it’s very influenced by Arctic Monkeys, especially their 2012 album AM. This album was a colossal influence on my music tastes, and Her Eyes Have Seen The End is not just musically inspired, but also lyrically inspired from that album, specifically the song Arabella. To me, it’s about this fantastical woman, almost on another plane of existence. You worship this woman because it seems impossible that she could even exist. And, well, she doesn’t! I loved that concept, and Her Eyes is what came out when I put myself in those shoes and imagined a woman who could save or destroy; whose hold on you was unbreakable; who could make your world end just by looking at you. Maybe one day I’ll find that woman, but until then, I’ll just keep singing about her.

I also took lyrical inspiration from a Panic! at the Disco song called Sarah Smiles. In that song, Brendon Urie sings “You fooled me once with your eyes now honey / you fooled me twice with your lies and I say…” That rhyme of “eyes” and “lies” stuck with me, and was the reason for the subtle lyric change in the third pre-chorus of Her Eyes from “But mine already ended with her eyes” to “But mine already ended with her lies“. I originally called the song “Eyes/Eyes/Lies” – yet another Panic! at the Disco inspired choice (from their song Girls/Girls/Boys) however after finding that you can’t use a slash symbol in file names, thought it would be too inconvenient, so made the (much better, in hindsight) decision to call it Her Eyes Have Seen The End.

Her Eyes contains one of my favourite lyrics I’ve written too: “If she’s the church, I’d be the congregation / ’cause I can’t help but fall prey to all her tricks”. I love the double meaning of the word prey/pray here, as well as the sly dig at organised religion.

Tell Me How

Tell Me How captures the excitement, nerves, and wonder of diving into a new relationship. Indeed, this was the first new relationship I was able to dive into since the story told in Burning Bridges. I wrote it on ukulele but wanted to bring some jazzy vibes to the track, so Nick added 7ths to all the chords and came up with the beautiful smooth guitar you hear. I had fun adding a piano solo through the bridge as well – it fit the mood of the track so perfectly, and the addition of the piano to the guitar helps bring Tell Me How to a strong close. This is another stylistic outlier, and I love the contrast between it and Her Eyes being before it in the track listing. It helps highlight the versatility of my voice, my music taste, and my writing style.

City of Lights

Along with Mirrors, City of Lights is one of the two oldest tracks on the album, written when I was 16. I couldn’t tell you which of the two I wrote first, but City of Lights is the most special song on the album to me. It is the first song I ever performed solo on stage as a singer/songwriter, at a concert at my high school. I have a visceral memory of that night – I can picture myself sitting at that piano on stage in front of the audience for the first time as if it was yesterday. The feeling of having a crowd hanging on my words; the hot stage lights on me; my sweaty palms. The nerves disappearing, and losing myself in the moment as soon as I started playing. That night is the night I became a performer, and I will always remember it. 

The song itself is about consumerism; greed; corruption. The feeling of disconnect from a society that is stuck in a vicious, inescapable cycle. Pretty deep stuff for 16! I wrote the first line of the song while in the car at night. It’s not even about a city! We were traveling on the freeway past the town of Sunbury on the way home to Gisborne, and you could see the lights of the town. “City of Lights” sounds a bit better than “Suburban Town of Lights” though don’t you think? 

In 2014 I’d recorded and released (on Youtube) a version of this song with an old band I used to be in with Bruce Pagunsan, who I worked on a few early versions of album tracks with. I loved that version, but there was definitely room to update and take it in new directions. Working with Nick, we took some elements from that version like the groove in the bridge, and some of the vocal arranging that I’d done, and breathed new life into it to build the track you hear now. I love the exposed vocals that draw you in at the start, and the gradual build throughout the track to the stadium rock climax. Nick’s guitar solo in City of Lights is my favourite of his across the album, and there are several moments in this song that I just can’t get enough of. I’m so proud of what this song has become, but at its core it is the same song that a much younger Patrick Earley got on stage and performed solo in front of an audience for the first time at Sacred Heart College in Kyneton. 

Photo is of Patrick performing City of Lights at his high school. He's wearing his school uniform, sitting at a black upright piano, on stage in front of the audience.
Here's a photo of me performing City of Lights at my high school.

Floating Nowhere

Floating Nowhere is about being grateful for dreams of bigger things. As an artist, it’s frustrating to have to walk the line between pursuing your creative passions, and being able to support yourself financially. The lyrics talk about trying to grab hold of grand opportunities, but accepting reality at the same time – sometimes it’s an unfortunate case of having to work a career to support your passion, rather than being able to turn a passion into a career. This is a situation I’m all too familiar with, and the song came from a particularly difficult time I was having at work. I have often pushed myself to mental and physical exhaustion at work, and I have moments of thinking “what’s this all for?” Writing this song helped to centre me, and to generate a positive mindset with which to view a situation I’ve been unhappy in. 

Along with Gold, this is the other more “electronic” song on the album, and Nick did a phenomenal job with the arrangement and production, bringing massive energy and groove to a track which I used to worry was too “boring” for the album.

Anywhere With You

I’ve said a few times before that this might be the best song I’ve written so far. It’s simple, it’s sweet, and, without wanting to sound like I love myself, I even get goosebumps most times I listen to it. I think the concepts I’ve written about in Anywhere With You will be familiar to many people and it’s my hope that it resonates with listeners. 

Anywhere With You is a direct sequel to Burning Bridges, and while I wrote it with a lyrical reference to that song in the final line – “And I’ve burned all these bridges, but maybe I can find another way” – as the track came together I was inspired to take that idea a little further. With a slight adjustment to the melody of the chorus from Burning Bridges, I found that I could sing it in the background of the final chorus in Anywhere With You. The result is a triumphant and powerful climax to the song, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. It ties together the stories I’m telling with these two songs perfectly, and helps round out the album as we approach the final track.

Gold (Piano Version)

When I wrote about Gold I mentioned the multiple iterations of the song. It didn’t feel right to not include this piano version of Gold on the album, and I think it’s the perfect closing track. 

A few months after I wrote Gold, I was performing at a talent show and decided to play it as it was the most recent song I’d written. I’d written it on uke, made the synth pop demo, but only had a piano available at the show. With about 15 mins of rehearsing, I came up with this piano version. It’s much slower than the original, and I actually played it in a lower key than I’d originally written it (G Major rather than A Major – and the original is in G now as a result of that). I thought a call and response with the audience would work well to emulate the layers of vocals I had in the synth pop demo version, and it proved to be a success, creating a pretty magical moment when I was singing with the crowd. Since then, I’ve played Gold on the piano at most gigs, and love getting the crowd involved to sing along. As such, I took the opportunity to invite some talented friends to Crosstown Soundstudio in Preston and record their voices along with mine to give the track that magical “live” feeling. I’m so grateful to Emily Walter, Felicity Walter, Michael Walter, Peter Verhagen, Kristyn Adamopoulos, and my producer Nick Mason for singing with me and being a part of this song.