VOICE STAR PROMISES COAST SHOW
Darren Percival is enjoying time at home before his tour diary fills up, writes Lisa Simmons
K ARISE Eden may have won Channel 9’s blockbuster television talent show The Voice, but fans have not seen the last of runner-up Darren Percival.
Over the past fortnight, the Sunshine Coast father of two, who has performed for years on the festival circuit as Mr Percival, has had some big gigs.
He sang the national anthem to rugby league fans packed to the rafters for the State of Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. It was broadcast into more than four million homes in city and country Australia.
On Sunday, he joined The Voice contestants at Crown Casino Melbourne at a charity benefit for the Reach Foundation. The same night, fans saw him perform on Nine’s hit Sunday series
Domestic Blitz as part of an episode filmed some weeks ago.
Tomorrow , he releases his new longplayer, Happy Home.
The album is a chronicle of songs performed by Percival on The Voice. Percival went back into the studio to rerecord some songs including Jealous
Guy. There’s also one song fans have never heard. Like the album title, it’s called Happy Home.
The track was penned by Percival and his Thirsty Merc buddy Rai Thistlethwayte as an ode to life at the family home after Percival, his wife Amanda, daughter Willow, 1, and son Cash, 2, moved from interstate to a new house at Coolum six months ago.
‘‘Ray’s an old mate of mine. We hang out together, we see each other’s gigs,’’ Percival says.
‘‘I suppose you could say I’m a fan of his – and he’s a fan of mine. So one afternoon, we’re hanging out and and thought we’d have a go and try to get some ideas out about my happy little house. Happy Home is what we wrote.’’
Percival has performed for two decades as a session musician.
In 2006, he opened the Australian tour for Russell Crowe’s old band, The Ordinary Fear Of God.
Percival launched his solo act six years ago, gigging at pubs and festivals including the Woodford Folk Festival and Splendour in the Grass.
‘‘I feel lucky and very grateful. I’ve been in the industry a long time, performed alongside and learned from some great mentors – Mahalia Barnes and her dad (Jimmy Barnes) among them,’’ Percival says.
‘‘ The Voice was just this great big positive experience. Everyone’s performances filtered out across Australia – they were watched in homes on television and on downloads.
‘‘I can’t believe how many people stop me in the street and want to say, ‘Hello, happy to meet you’.’’
‘‘There have been so many blessings, so much to be grateful for.’’
Sources say Keith Urban asked Percival to join him on his Australian tour, which lands in Brisbane at the end of January, but this is unconfirmed.
One irony of newfound fame – Percival hasn’t spent as much time as he might like in his new home.
‘‘I am working hard . . . but I don’t want that to come out sounding like I’m in any way unhappy about it,’’ he says.
‘‘There are moments – my wife and I are somewhere – in the kitchen, perhaps, making a cuppa – and she’ll look at me, or I’ll look at her and one of us will say ‘This life, it’s pretty good’. Then we laugh. It’s funny. I’ve have worked hard these past six years. I’ll keep working hard. And I want to make a great life for my kids, I’m focused on that – and on being a great dad.
‘‘I got back to Queensland on the weekend (two weekends ago). I had a couple of days at home. I’ve been enjoying sandpit and trampoline time with the kids.’’
Percival intends to enjoy it while he can. His tour diary is filling up as he plans to hit the road for gigs later in the year. They include a gig on the Coast in October and a show at the Woodford Folk Festival at the end of the year.
‘‘When I know more, I’ll let you know but tell everyone I’ll be on the Gold Coast in October and they can expect a few surprises,’’ he says.
‘‘I have a band with me now to work with me on the road.’’
Darren Percival’s Happy Home is released tomorrow.