2006 Australian Idol winner Damien Leith is back with his brand new album, Remember June, a CD already has the industry buzzing. I caught up with Damien today to chat about the album which he calls “a labour of love,” his new novel, and why he’s itching to get on the road.
I heard you say that creating Remember June is the proudest you’ve been since winning Idol. What is it about this album that’s really excited you?
I think really the biggest thing about this album is that right from the onset, I had a concept that I wanted to work off, and everything I did towards making the album, towards writing it, stuck entirely to that concept all the way through. So the whole album hasn’t been swayed either way by thinking “I might need this sort of song” or “I might need that sort of song.” It’s just an album which I personally really wanted to make. Thanks to Sony I got to do that. It’s kind of a labour of love in a way, this album.
Your new single “To Get To You” has a bit of a pop-rock feel, which is something we haven’t really heard from you before. Is that indicative of the other songs we’ll hear on Remember June?
It is. You know, the album’s got a story from start to end. It’s got an intro and it’s got an outro. And to have a story, it’s definitely allowed us to have more up-tempo stuff on the album. But at the same time, I’ve still got some slower songs. But I think overall the sound of the album is big; it’s a big epic or anthemy sort of sound throughout the entire album. So even if it’s a slow song, it’s a big slow song.
So it [“To Get You To”] gives you a taste of the album, but there are some really intimate songs on there which I think are even stronger. They’re probably the stronger songs.
It was produced by Stuart Crichton, who’s worked with the Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue, and so many other big names. What was he like to work with?
He was fantastic. There’s a couple of co-writes with him as well. We did the song “Forgive, Forget” with him and a mate of his, Blair [McKichan] from the UK. He’s not only an amazing producer but he’s an incredible writer as well.
We’ve become really good friends as a result of it as well. We’ve continued to write more and more songs together. He’s just a genius. I can’t get over how quickly he works. He makes a decision and he goes for it. There’s no second-guessing. He just goes for it. I was in awe of the way he works.
It’s been three years since you won Australian Idol. How do you feel about that experience looking back?
To be perfectly honest, for one thing it seems like a long, long time away. The last few years have been so busy with so many different things going on that it seems like a long, long time ago. But I have to say I have no regrets about my time on Idol. Without it I wouldn’t be talking to you today. I would never have broken through.
I think at that stage I was at a turning point in my life where I had to decide: family commitments and work and all the rest, or am I going to give this one more shot. I’d been chasing it for years and years and years, it had been all the usual stuff of demos and gigging here, there, and everywhere for years and years.
It’s not 100% profit-driving, and it does have a negativity associated with it as well, but overall I’m grateful for having been involved.
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