Natalie Gauci took out the Australian Idol competition way back in 2007, burning brightly during the competition but seemingly fading from view almost as quickly. With a new EP under her belt and an upcoming tour Natalie’s ready to emerge from the shadows and win over Australia all over again. I caught up with Natalie recently to chat about her time on the talent quest, her new music, and the Aussie shows to come.
Most music fans would remember you from Australian Idol in 2007. A lot of time has passed since then and now. Why’s it taken so long for us to hear your original material?
Yes I have been under the radar for a few years and I’m now ready to pop out my shell. I’ve been working hard on writing and recording my music and also finding the right home for it and that takes time. After Idol I had to find my true identity. Idol gave me the platform to now achieve what I’ve always wanted to achieve which is to record and write my own music and travel with it all over the world. It also gave the confidence to be who I am today.
How do you look back on your time with the show?
I look back and cry because I get so emotional. I forget how amazing it was, how many people were so supportive of me and my performances and how I gave it my all, I gave it everything I had. It reminds me of where I came from and what is important to me, not just with music but with my family and friends and my fans.
You got a lot of criticism when your Idol single and album were released because they didn’t match the chart success of the winners that came before. How did you deal with that?
It doesn’t bother me at all. Times change and record sales were just getting worse overall. Critics can say what they like really but it doesn’t affect me. I just make sure I do the best I can with what I’ve got.
Part of your prize was a record deal with Sony, yet you left them before releasing anything other than the prerequisite Winner’s Journey album. Why did you feel the label wasn’t the right fit for you?
I had been wanting to release “Best of Me” ever since I won Idol. I wrote it after the Winner’s Journey tour and always dreamed of recorded it with my soul band. The direction I was heading in didn’t feel right. My instinct was telling me to do what was in my heart and “Best of Me” was in my heart at that time.
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I’d all but assumed we’d heard the last of 2007 Australian Idol winner Natalie Gauci, but it seems she’s still kicking around. She released her EP I’m Ready last year, and in case you missed it she’s preparing to release a new single from it, “Best of Me.”
Whether it really delivers the best of Natalie, I’m not sure. But it’s got some powerful vocals and strong lyrics, so we’re certainly more than halfway there. It should generate a bit of buzz as it’ll feature in the new Aussie rom-com Big Mamma’s Boy. Natalie also makes a cameo in the flick, so keep your eyes peeled!
Natalie will hit the road next month to promote the single at the following shows.
23 June 2011 – Brisbane Jazz Club, Brisbane
24 June 2011 – El Rocco, Kings Cross
25 June 2011 – Coogee Diggers, Coogee
26 June 2011 – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla
30 June 2011 – The Promethean, Adelaide
3 July 2011 – Bennett’s Lane, Melbourne
Image used with permission from Revolutions per Minute
Often Australian Idol brings us bright new stars, who seem to fade from view almost as quickly as they appear. One artist determined not to be just a flash in the pan is Casey Barnes, who is carving out a credible career as a singer-songwriter. I caught up with Casey this morning to chat about his new EP Red Lion Motel, his experience on Australian Idol, and his surprising European club hit.
You’ve just released your new EP Red Lion Motel. What can you tell me about it?
It’s a five-track EP and I wanted to do something that was a little bit different. I’ve recorded a couple of albums in the past which have had more of that processed pop-rock vibe, and I wanted to release something a little bit raw and acoustic and real, so that’s what we came up with when we wrote this EP. But it’s all personal experiences, and each song’s a little bit different, but it’s come up really well.
What made you decide to take that back-to-basics approach on this one?
I think I just wanted it to go in a deliberate, different direction. I’d recorded a couple of albums previously and I was really happy with those, but a lot of my career has been spent playing solo, acoustic gigs. And I think I wanted to go back to acoustic, real rock, because there’s so much stuff out there that’s that processed sound. Anyone can be put in a studio and sound good. And I just wanted to do something that sounded like every instrument was recorded live, which it was, and that was just that real, acoustic sound. So that’s sort of why we decided to go in that direction.
Most Aussies probably know you from your time on Australian Idol last year. How do you feel about that experience looking back?
I think overall it was a great experience, and I got a lot out of it as a performer and especially the exposure from the show that it gives you. People obviously get to know who you are a lot more than when you’re slogging your guts out in pubs every week, trying to do it on your own. I think overall it was a positive experience. Some of it I didn’t really like. I would have liked to have been able to perform my own songs, because as you see every week you’re up there performing somebody else’s songs. And knowing that I’m a singer-songwriter and I’ve got my own material, it’d be great if there was an opportunity to play your own stuff out there. But I think overall it was definitely a worthwhile experience.
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Casey Barnes didn’t quite find his feet during his stint on the last series of Australian Idol, but there was something incredibly likable about this guy. So I was thrilled to see Casey pop up on Video Hits yesterday with the film clip for his new single “I Promise.” While I found him a bit imitative on his show, here he’s found his own voice. This is just the sort of mellow guitar driven music that I love, and I can’t wait to hear more of it. The track comes from Casey’s EP Red Lion Motel, which is available now through iTunes and Casey Barnes’ website.
You might remember Matt Corby as the reluctant sex symbol of Australia Idol Season 5. Losing out on the main prize seemed to be a blessing for Matt, who’s spent time away from the spotlight to hone his craft and create some incredible songs.
One such track is “Lighthome,” a live version of which is currently available as a free download at Matt’s website. If you like what you hear make sure you check out Matt on his first national tour this June and July.
Following those shows, Matt will join Mumford and Sons as support on their sold out Sydney shows. I’ve got myself some tickets to the Tuesday night gig, and am thrilled at Matt’s inclusion on the bill.
Here are all the places you can catch Mr Matt Corby in the coming months.
30 June 2010 – Brass Monkey, Cronulla
1 July 2010 – Raval, Sydney
2 July 2010 – Heritage Hotel, Wollongong
3 July 2010 – Northern Star Hotel, Newcastle
8 July 2010 – The Toff in Town, Melbourne
9 July 2010 – National Hotel, Geelong
10 July 2010 – Baby Black Café, Bacchus Marsh
15 July 2010 – The Troubadour, Brisbane
16 July 2010 – Bon Amici Cafe, Toowoomba
17 July 2010 – Hard Rock Café, Surfers Paradise
22 July 2010 – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River
23 July 2010 – Ellington Jazz Club, Perth
24 July 2010 – Norfolk Basement, Fremantle
3 August 2010 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (supporting Mumford and Sons)
4 August 2010 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (supporting Mumford and Sons)
Image source: The Harbour Agency
Some of Australia’s top entertainers will travel to the country town of Young for a charity show later this month.
Cherish Live will help raise funds for a renal unit at Young Hospital. Currently people requiring kidney dialysis must travel to Canberra three times a week for the treatment, a four-hour return trip which takes its toll on the already sick patients.
Evermore, Thirsty Merc, and Australian Idol graduates Luke Dickens, Roshani Priddis, and Teale Jakubenko will headline the charity show.
This is a really great cause, so I hope anyone who’s even close to Young gets out there and supports it.
Tickets are available online for $80 plus the booking fee.
Channel Ten has back flipped on its commitment to Australian Idol, announcing that it plans to “rest” the talent show for 2010. This news is contrary to earlier reports that another series would definitely go ahead this year.
“TEN is going to rest Australian Idol for 2010. They will make a decision towards the end of 2010 as to whether it will return in 2011,” an unnamed source told The Daily Telegraph. “They have asked Fremantle for ideas on how to relaunch in 2011.”
I’d like to be optimistic about the show’s future, but I won’t hold my breath. CTV made the decision to “rest” its Canadian Idol in 2009, and we’re yet to hear of its resurrection. As a long time supporter of the show, I’d love to see it revived but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
It does make me wonder why the series has failed to make the impact here that it did in the United States. There it rates through the roof, and its stars go on to win Grammy Awards and starring spots on Broadway. Here only a handful of the graduates achieve chart success, and they’re rarely celebrated at our ARIAs. And the ratings have dipped ever since season two, despite showcasing some incredible talent.
Whatever the future holds for Australian Idol, I’m definitely going to miss it in 2010.
Image source: Sarah Baker @ Flickr
Anne Robertson burst onto the music scene in 2005 when she made the finals of Australian Idol. These days she’s strutting her stuff as one quarter of new girl group Sultry Sally. I caught up with Anne today to chat about her latest musical endeavour, her big family, and what she really thinks of the Young Divas!
All the members of Sultry Sally are such talented singers and musicians in their own right. How did you girls come together?
We came together through an open audition process. Hundreds of girls applied but it ended up being myself, Nat, Nicky, and Sera.
Why did you decide to audition for a part in the group?
I have been singing non-stop since I left Idol. I’d been doing some gigs, and working part-time, and working with other bands and things like that. I just wanted another experience, working with another group of talented singers, especially a girl group. The one goal is my singing, and that’s my main passion, so I just wanted to do something different and work with other talented people.
What’s the best thing about being part of a girl group?
I think the best part is that we can all come together and use our creativity and also our writing skills and just make new music. I know we have covers – most of our songs are covers – but rewriting them and just really creating them in our own way, and in our own vibe, that’s the greatest thing I think. And plus we’re girls, so we like to hang out and shop!
You’ve just released a cover of the Crystal Waters song “Gypsy Woman.” Were you a fan of the original?
Yeah I was, I was a fan of the original. And that was the great thing about it. We chose four great dance songs that everyone would know [for the single], and we just changed them up and put our little bit into it and it turned out great.
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Last night I had the pleasure of catching Chris Murphy at Lizotte’s. The last time I saw this affable singer songwriter he was singing head-to-head with the likes of Damien Leith, Dean Geyer, and Bobby Flynn. The stripped back setting of this Central Coast icon is a world away from the Australian Idol stage, and it allowed Chris to shine.
The first thing that struck me about Chris is just how funny he really is. We saw glimpses of this during his reality TV journey, but without anyone to rein him in Chris was hilarious. In fact, I’m not sure he actually got through a whole song without throwing in a couple of jokes.
Rather than distract, Chris’ hysterical banter broke down the traditional walls between singer and audience, and made you feel like you were a part of the concert experience.
But it wasn’t just about fun and games. When you strip away the humor, Chris still has the power to entertain. He’s simply that good. While performing his original songs or encouraging a cover version sing-along, he always had the audience in the palm of his hand. Chris didn’t restrict his cover repertoire to the songs he made famous during Idol, but treated us to unexpected gems like Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” and The Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight.” But of course, he closed the show with his Idol touchdown track “Evie.”
It’s so refreshing to see an artist like Chris, a man who has come out the other side of reality TV fame thankful for everything it has given him. In fact, he shared with us a song he’s written as a potential winner’s single. It’s got the right amount of inspiration without ever becoming cheesy, but only time will tell whether it’s the next “Angels Brought Me Here.”
In the meantime, I encourage you to see Chris when he’s in your neck of the woods. If you loved what he did on Idol, you’ll lap it up. And if you’re an Australian Idol skeptic, he just might convince you to think differently.
Image source: own photo
Who’s the most influential artist to come out of Australian Idol? Is it Shannon Noll, whose skills saw him working with some of America’s best songwriters on his new album? What about Anthony Callea, who’s earning rave reviews for his work in musical theatre? Well, if you believe this year’s Australian Idol finalists, the one that’s made the greatest impact is Bobby Flynn.
He may not have set the charts alight or packed out an entertainment centre, but last year’s seventh place-getter inspired more Idols this year than any other.
“I believe he completely changed Aussie Idol,” said Matt Corby. “He changed the rules,” added Jacob Butler.
That Bobby could do so much during his relatively short time in the competition is a testimony to his talent. It’s something I was lucky enough to witness for myself last night at Lizotte’s. This intimate little venue in Kincumber is a world away from the massive Idol stage, but that’s a very good thing.
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