Teen achieves his dream
IN THREE years, Jack Vidgen has gone from living rough on a Queensland beach to rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s biggest stars.
The teen singing sensation, who became a household name after winning the reality TV contest Australia’s Got Talent last year, has sung in Las Vegas, will try his luck in China and Japan, and has just released his second album.
Vidgen says his dream to become a star kept him going while he lived out of a car with his mother, when the family was too poor to pay rent.
He says of his time living rough on Ellis Beach north of Cairns: ‘‘ When we were in that situation it didn’t seem possible I could ever achieve this.
‘‘ It seemed very far away. This dream is something I always wanted.
‘‘ What’s happened has been amazing.’’
Vidgen, 15, released his gold- selling debut album, Yes I Am, just eight months ago.
His second, Inspire, is set to be just as successful.
Despite his voice breaking between recording the two albums, he is confident fans will embrace his new sound.
‘‘ Because my voice has changed, it sounds completely different to what it did before. But I think my fans will love it.
‘‘ It’s very inspirational and very uplifting. I hope it helps people who have been through a rough time.’’
Vidgen, who has met international stars including John Travolta, Jon Voight and Kevin Spacey, says he had a rough time growing up. Apart from the poverty, he didn’t have many friends at school and has found fame tough.
‘‘ Most of my friends I have are through music,’’ he says. ‘‘ I only really had one friend at school. In fact, I see more people now than I did [ then].’’
He says he has also found being in the public eye challenging.
‘‘ There is a lot of pressure to keep yourself looking good.
‘‘ I do it for me, but they say to me here [ at record label Sony] you need to do it.
‘‘ I do go to the gym – that’s about doing it for me as well as for what I do.
‘‘ It helps with my breathing for singing and helps me get focused.
‘‘ Exercise helps me keep strong and keep healthy.
‘‘ I have a personal trainer and go to the park as well.
‘‘ I try to be fashion- conscious. For my photo shoots and album shoots I have a stylist.’’
Although Vidgen may not have as many screaming fans as British boy band One Direction, he has his share of admirers.
‘‘ Oh my goodness. Like every guy, I would love what they [ One Direction] have, but it is intimidating. On my first tour, I did in- store appearances. At one point there were 6000 people in the shopping centre.
‘‘ I do have a few screaming girls. I love seeing all their messages on Twitter.
‘‘ If I am ever not feeling the best, I look at those.’’
Vidgen says he has a wide- ranging fan base from toddlers to seniors.
‘‘ They start off at three- year- old girls and they cover my tunes on Youtube and then you see the oldies. I’m surprised about how many older people are on the internet. I don’t get that many people crying. I don’t know why they cry but they say they love me, which is great,’’ he says.
With a national tour just kicking off, Vidgen is hoping to conquer China and Japan.
He is in talks to appear on one of China’s biggest TV shows and will sing at a festival in Nagoya, in Japan, attended by hundreds of thousands of people.
‘‘ It’s like a dream come true,’’ he says. ‘‘ I’m so excited about it and can’t wait.’’
FASHION- CONSCIOUS: Australia’s Got Talent finalist Jack Vidgen.