STAR RETURNS TO HIS ROOTS
ARIA award winner returns to MC festival
As the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival fast approaches, the region welcomes back a familiar face.
Raised in Yornup, Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd has since made a name for himself as television presenter, comedian, event MC, and more recently an ARIA award winner.
Wyatt makes his annual return to the region this week to be one of the MCs for the festival.
After spending much of his childhood in the region, Wyatt went to boarding school for Year 11 and 12.
“I would come down and pick cauliflowers every holidays to earn my pocket money,” he said.
“I picked all the different vegetables: potatoes, corn, broccoli, lettuce, carrots and even capsicum.
“I’ve always felt really lucky to have grown up down there and having family there, it means coming back all the time.
“It’s always just nice to always come back and connect to your roots.”
After Wyatt finished high school, his life could have gone in two — very different — directions, as he applied to university to become a scientist or as an actor.
His life’s direction was decided after a successful audition for the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
“It’s pretty fascinating to think about those moments where you have really big turning points and either one of those outcomes would have been really different,” Wyatt said.
He has had a successful career so far, with highlights including co-hosting Nickelodeon’s Camp Orange, Kid’s Choice Awards, working at Perth’s Mix 94.5 where he performed comedy songs on air, working at the ABC’s Tonightly With Tom Ballard and currently working at Channel Ten’s The Project.
Wyatt said his time at Nickelodeon was “a lot of fun” as well as a great experience and fantastic opportunity.
“It was incredible to be paid to entertain kids,” he said.
In a career full of highlights and making people laugh, one of Wyatt’s recent achievements was winning an 2018 ARIA for Best Comedy Release in co-writing the comedy song Sex Pest.
His journey to winning an ARIA began with his job at the Tonightly show, where he was initially hired as “audience warm up”, where it was his job to pump up the audience before the show.
Over the course of the season, he became a writer and performer on the show and co-wrote the songs for the show.
“One of the songs we wrote was about sexual harassment,” he said.
“We were talking about how it’s a weird thing to talk about.
“We wanted to do a really sexy song about a really serious issue.”
After writing the song and performing it and its video clip, Wyatt said they “kind of forgot about it” until they found out it was on the short list for the ARIA Best Comedy Release.
“We were really grateful to be recognised for music because we’re just a bunch of kids mucking around, making songs,” he said.
“And then we pick up the biggest music award in Australia.
“We made a song that gets people talking about a hugely important issue because a lot of the conversation about sexual harassment this last year has been about people of celebrity and people in the media.
“But it’s an everyday issue that faces everyday people.”
Among all this while living in Perth, and later Melbourne, Wyatt had been part of the Big Hoo Haa, a comedy improv show started in WA about 17 years ago, which he described as “an institution”.
“It’s so good at giving actors an opportunity to perform and earn a little bit of money, while in between other gigs,” he said.
“It’s been going for so long because it was so good.
“When I moved to Melbourne during my Nickelodeon time, I helped found the chapter in Melbourne.”
Big Hoo Haa was part of the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival for several years, of which Wyatt would participate.
In returning to MC the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival, Wyatt said he loved celebrating agriculture.
“Where we live has some of the best food production in Australia,” he said.
“You don’t realise how lucky you are to have such fresh fruit and vegetables until you move away.
“Manjimup is a very diverse place with a lot of things to offer.
“I hope there’s always cherries and I hope there’s always this festival.”
We were really grateful to be recognised for music because we’re just a bunch of kids mucking around, making songs.
From the paddocks of the Lower South West to the ARIA stage, Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd is a prime example of a local man doing well.