SET YOUR­SELF FREE

THE ART OF LEARN­ING WHAT YOU ARE NOT MAY HOLD THE KEY TO DIS­COV­ER­ING WHAT YOU RE­ALLY ARE

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | COVER STORY - WORDS: AN­NIE CAUGHEY

For this Sun­shine Coast kid, raised in a fam­ily of mu­si­cians, the dream had al­ways been about mov­ing to Mel­bourne for the “hot-shot’’ ca­reer.

At the age of 27, he packed up his life and headed down south with his wife Heather. He thought he had fi­nally made it. How­ever, what he ac­tu­ally found was “a whole lot of things he’s not’’.

Gian Fa­mu­laro is a pop­u­lar lo­cal mu­si­cian, known for his crowd-pleas­ing cov­ers and mov­ing orig­i­nals.

Chances are you’ve seen at least one of his shows be­cause the singer-song­writer per­forms ev­ery­where, from as far north as Noosa to the south­ern tips of Caloun­dra. Af­ter a brief stint liv­ing in Mel­bourne for nine months, he re­cently re­turned to the hum­ble sandy shores of the Sun­shine Coast – a move which he said has made him “the hap­pi­est he’s ever been’’.

He’s found a new mind­set, a pro­found sense of free­dom and, most im­por­tantly, him­self.

“That’s where Mel­bourne was re­ally good. It was al­ways this dream and then once I tried to make it real, I re­alised it wasn’t what I wanted,” Gian said.

“The big­gest thing I learnt in Mel­bourne was a whole lot of things that I wasn’t.” Grow­ing up, there was noth­ing Gian knew bet­ter than mu­sic.

Hav­ing two mu­si­cians as par­ents, his home was a tour bus.

He spent 12 years on the road, trav­el­ling Aus­tralia with his fam­ily.

“Mum and Dad used to record al­bums in their liv­ing room and us kids would just be walk­ing around and singing,” Gian said.

“They had a pro­found ex­pe­ri­ence with God and they just wanted to go and tell ev­ery­body. Dad worked in a re­fin­ery, so he quit. They bought a bus, they did it up, and we just went wher­ever Dad felt we were needed.

“We’d go to pris­ons, schools or even the street and just play mu­sic.”

Once shack­led by the pres­sure of “al­ways need­ing to do bet­ter’’ and feel­ing de­fined by his mu­sic, Gian now be­lieves he’s dis­cov­ered the se­cret to suc­cess.

“When I was young, I used to write songs be­cause I wasn’t very good at talk­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, it would leave me in pain or frus­tra­tion be­cause I couldn’t say what I wanted to say,” Gian said.

“In the last two years, I stopped writ­ing songs be­cause I thought I had writ­ten too many, and I re­ally suf­fered for that.”

The com­pet­i­tive na­ture of Mel­bourne’s mu­sic in­dus­try proved to be one of Gian’s most sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges.

How­ever, noth­ing was more crip­pling than the fi­nan­cial and fam­ily strain he ex­pe­ri­enced as a re­sult of the re­lo­ca­tion.

He found him­self strug­gling through im­mense emo­tional tur­moil with­out the out­let he had al­ways re­lied on: his writ­ing.

“(It was) the re­al­ity of what I had been do­ing hadn’t been very func­tional. I think it was re­ally about try­ing to un­der­stand how I work as a per­son,” he said.

“It’s taken me this long to re­alise that mu­sic is al­most like a crush in the sense that, with­out it, life isn’t as mean­ing­ful for me. It’s ac­tu­ally a gift.

“I’m an artist not be­cause it makes you cool, but be­cause it’s truly, and I’m not kid­ding, just very ben­e­fi­cial for me emo­tion­ally, psy­cho­log­i­cally and spir­i­tu­ally.

“When I’m not do­ing it, it prob­a­bly causes me the most stress be­cause I get caught in my head.”

At the end of last year, Gian was weath­ered, his wife was strug­gling to set­tle into city life and he knew some­thing had to give.

“When you’re mar­ried, if they are un­happy, you’re un­happy,” Gian said.

“My wife hated Mel­bourne and for a whole lot of rea­sons I can re­ally un­der­stand.”

To­gether, the cou­ple de­cided to strip back their life. They wanted to re­turn to the ba­sics and the sim­ple lifestyle they had once loved.

While the “dream of Mel­bourne’’ didn’t turn out as he planned, the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence re­leased the binds that were once con­strict­ing his cre­ative flow.

“Now I don’t have to fo­cus on all the things I’m not. I can ac­tu­ally look at my­self and say ‘OK, well I am this, and I am that’ and I’m stoked about that,” Gian said.

“It’s the big­gest thing that’s af­fected the mu­sic be­cause I’m not be­ing in­flu­enced by any other mu­si­cian.

“I’m lit­er­ally just go­ing and writ­ing songs that I have fun mak­ing and it’s just en­joy­able.

“Since hav­ing that at­ti­tude, hon­estly, gigs

are bet­ter, peo­ple’s re­sponses are bet­ter, ev­ery­thing is bet­ter.”

Gian said he stepped away from the idea that mu­sic was all he could do. In­stead, he treated it for what it re­ally was – “an emo­tional out­let’’ – and im­me­di­ately there was a fer­vent ef­fect on the sound he was pro­duc­ing.

This new-found sense of self and as­so­ci­ated emo­tional ma­tu­rity has birthed a new realm of in­spi­ra­tion for Gian, who, for the first time in two years, has picked up his pen to start writ­ing again.

“I think mu­sic is a man­i­fes­ta­tion of my char­ac­ter which is hard if you think about it,” he said. “Rather than just work­ing on mu­sic, which is still hard, I al­ways think, if I can progress as a per­son and be­come a bet­ter per­son, then the mu­sic will al­ways get bet­ter.

“I needed to work on me. It took me a long time but I am com­fort­able with who I am now.”

In­spired to now progress his mu­sic or­gan­i­cally, Gian is learn­ing to ap­proach his art from many dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives – as an au­di­ence mem­ber, as a mu­si­cian and as a server of his lord.

How­ever, this isn’t the only change on the hori­zon. Af­ter re­turn­ing to the Coast, the fam­ily unit is stronger than ever and Gian and Heather are ex­pect­ing a new edi­tion to their fam­ily in April.

“I’ve started to see live mu­sic and sup­port other peo­ple, in­cor­po­rat­ing prac­tis­ing ev­ery sin­gle day, writ­ing ev­ery day and go­ing to see live mu­sic. It cre­ates a good cul­ture in my own life,” he said.

“From here on in, it’s about do­ing things prop­erly, tak­ing my time and not nec­es­sar­ily be­ing rash about things.

“I’m go­ing to back my­self and my mu­sic.” You can catch Gian this week­end, per­form­ing to­day at the Pere­gian Beach Ho­tel from 3-6pm and Cor­ner­stone Pub and Kitchen from 9.30-11.30pm. Or catch him to­mor­row in Caloun­dra at Kings Beach Bar from 5-8pm.

To find more of Gian’s shows fol­low him on Face­book at Face­book.com/of­fi­cial­gian­mu­sic or In­sta­gram @of­fi­cial­gian­mu­sic. Lis­ten to Gian’s mu­sic at: Spo­tify.com/of­fi­cial­gian­mu­sic

THE BIG­GEST THING I LEARNT IN MEL­BOURNE WAS A WHOLE LOT OF THINGS THAT I WASN’T.

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