Dar­ren Per­ci­val is en­joy­ing time at home be­fore his tour di­ary fills up, writes Lisa Simmons

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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