Shin­ing son

The Aus­tralian Idol win­ner has con­quered a dark child­hood, writes Nui Te Koha

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music -

STAN Walker per­forms a sym­bolic duet on his new al­bum. It is with his mother, April, and lyri­cally the song de­fines their jour­ney to this point.

The song, a Fleet­wood Mac cut ti­tled Song­bird, says: ‘‘ For you, there will be no more cry­ing. For you, the sun will be shin­ing.’’

Walker, 21, the most re­cent Aus­tralian Idol win­ner, says the song cap­tures every­thing he wants to tell April, who was a vic­tim of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. ‘‘ It’s al­most like a re­ward,’’ Walker says. ‘‘ It shows where we have been as a fam­ily. We come from such a rugged life. But it’s good to say, ‘ Man, look at where we are now’.’’

Walker has of­ten com­pared his up­bring­ing to the bru­tal New Zealand film Once Were War­riors. He says he grew up with al­co­hol, drugs, phys­i­cal and sex­ual abuse. But with each step in a mu­sic ca­reer that be­gan with his win in 2009, Walker has moved fur­ther from his past.

In­deed, his new al­bum Let The­mu­sic Play is about free­dom and cel­e­bra­tion.

‘‘ I wanted to have fun,’’ Walker says. ‘‘ Some­times I for­get to look at where I am and en­joy the mo­ment. I needed to cel­e­brate where I am. I’m 21 and I’ve made it this far.

‘‘ But I’ve al­ways felt if I stop, I might get left be­hind. This busi­ness is cut- throat.’’

His lat­est sin­gles, up­beat pop flavours Loud, Light It Up and Galaxy, cer­tainly sug­gest busi­ness meet­ings pitch­ing Walker, who has an as­ton­ish­ing soul voice, at the dance floor.

‘‘ You’ve got to be rel­e­vant for the times as well as ahead of the times,’’ Walker says. ‘‘ You’ve got to find the medium of do­ing both. When I per­form dance songs, I make sure I sing my butt off more than a bal­lad.’’

Al­ready, some have ac­cused Walker ( pic­tured) of sell­ing out. He replies: ‘‘ I chal­lenge any­body to sing those songs. They are dif­fi­cult. They have stretched my voice in a big way.

‘‘ As a singer, I am above the mu­sic, above the trend, above the style.

‘‘ I make sure to fo­cus on what I need to get out as a singer. Then the beat falls in be­hind. I have to main­tain who I am as a singer and get my soul out.’’

Yet, on a new song, Break Down These Walls, vo­cally Walker reaches for the un­known. ‘‘ It’s like my voice got into char­ac­ter,’’ he says.

‘‘ I don’t think I have a name for it but it’s an ex­ten­sion of me. Mu­sic un­locks parts I never knew I had. I be­come a per­former, a stage char­ac­ter, like an al­ter ego.’’

LET THE MU­SIC PLAY

is out now

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