Trouble in Mind

Lisa Engel

Presented by Lisa Engel


A visceral celebration of music

About the concert

Trouble In Mind is a thoughtful and compassionate exploration of the lives of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse. In the show, Lisa Engel, a psychologist as well as a performer, investigates the substance abuse and internal struggles that made their lives so difficult. Despite all their challenges, these four artists made an enormous contribution to Jazz and Blues music.

Interspersed in the show are some of the best-loved songs from the 1930s and 40s that became famous signature songs for these artists. Lisa’s rich contralto voice does them justice along with the brilliant accompaniment of Mark Fitzgibbon on piano, Paddy Fitzgerald on Bass and Alex Spicer on drums. Woven into the biographies of these artists are potted histories of race relations, the influence of the media and the double-edged sword of fame, providing a contextual backdrop to the songs.

COVID Safety

Melbourne Recital Centre is committed to the safety of our artists, staff and patrons. As we reopen, a range of public health, hygiene and physical distancing measures will be in place. Click here to learn more.


Lisa Engel voice


Jimmie Cox
Nobody knows you when you’re down and out

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child

Richard Jones
Trouble in Mind

Richard Rodgers
My Funny Valentine

Simone & Marks
All of me

Grainger & Robbins
Tain’t nobody’s business if I do

Billie Holiday
Don’t Explain

Kahn & Donaldson
My baby just cares for me

Heyward & Gershwin

Lewis Allen
Strange fruit

Richard Rodgers
Little Girl Blue

Walter Cross

Winehouse & Ronson
Back to Black

Gershwin & Gershwin
Someone to watch over me

Amy Winehouse

Cole & Mills
Straighten up and fly right

Bessie Smith
It’s a Long Old Road


This production is part of the following series: