Interview By: Laurent Shervington
Like something out of a weird lucid dream or Make-A-Wish grant we were able to get the one and only Shannon Noll on the phone from his family home near Sydney to have a great old yarn.
Hey Shannon, how’s it going? What’s the weather like on your end?
Yeah good thanks mate, it’s beautiful today! About 30 degrees right now but it’s meant to be pretty ordinary for the rest of the week – I’m looking out the window with wandering eyes!
So tell me, what’s a day in the life of Shannon Noll?
I’ve recently had a heap on trying to get an album recorded and touring. We’re in pre-production now and we’ve also been doing some promo for the new single, it’s all happening.
Great, are you able to see your family a lot during your busier periods?
Yeah mate, the best part of what I’m doing is that I can do a lot of it from home, the studio I’m working out of is in Sydney so I can go there during the day and drive back home afterwards.
So last week you released your single Who I Am about 5 years since A Million Suns, what made you want to come back to the spotlight and make new music?
Mate I’ve never really stopped making music! I guess I’ve just been out of the spotlight in the last few years with moving down to a property just out of Melbourne. I got to spend some more time with my family and catch some footy but the first year down there I played about a hundred and eighty shows. I also had the chance to write a lot of songs with Jon Hume [Evermore] which will be coming out on the forthcoming album through True Warner. I guess I just had a bit more quiet time in the bush, which was really beautiful.
Nice! Where’s your favourite place to camp in the bush?
Mate I love the river! The Murray River is an absolutely wonderful place to go, I go down there and water ski a lot. I actually went down there for my 40th birthday the other week and it was great.
Got any camping tips?
The best thing is getting a great fire going when you’re allowed to. Nothing better!
Tell me a bit more about that new single Who I Am? I heard you were shooting the video for it over the weekend?
Yeah that’s right mate, we put the lyric video up about a week and a half ago which got about 650,000 views, which was great. We shot the live video for it this weekend gone at the Deni Ute Muster. We should get it back in the next few days and I’m really excited to see it – I think we got some incredible shots! The single itself is about being true to be yourself and not trying to be anyone else. It’s also about the resurgence I’ve found with the younger people recently, it’s paying homage to them as well. It’s really about getting back in the game and going as hard as you can.
Awesome! You’ve got own “Nollsie1” Ute on the single cover, what does the Great Australian Ute symbolise for you?
Oh mate I’ve had plenty of Utes in my life – I’ve even had a Black XR8 at one point – I’m a bit of V8 petrol head so why not y’know?
You’ve certainly gained a lot of internet fame in the last couple of years – what’s it like to have such a huge following of fans who grew up with your music and have since become re-engaged with it?
Yeah mate it’s awesome, it’s really overwhelming the support that’s come through in the last couple of years – it’s dead-set reinvigorated my career and given me a second chance at it. I’m really excited about the new following and I’m looking forward to putting some new music out while it’s still there and hopefully they’ll get into it.
Of course there’s been a lot of Internet jokes surrounding you and your Australian Idol days, do you have a favourite?
Yeah mate! I would have to say the tweet to Channel 7 where someone reported a robbery. They [Channel 7] asked the guy for some more details about the crime and the guy tweeted back a picture of me. I thought that was pretty hilarious!
Do you think fame is something you think you deal with well?
Yeah I really leave it at the front door when I get home, when I’m with my family I’m a husband and a father and when I’m onstage I’m a performer – it’s all about separating the two as much as I can.
Do feel a sense of responsibility to portray a positive image for fans?
Yeah I think so mate, I think the internet does give people the chance to be a lot more engaged with the artist, whereas years ago there was a lot more mystique surrounding singers and artists and bands. They had assumptions but no actual facts, these days it’s all about getting right up close and personal – sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not – it’s just how it is these days.
What a lot of people might not know about you is your incredible generosity towards charities throughout Australia – what role do you think charity plays in your life?
Aw mate, I think when you get to this stage and you’ve got the opportunity to give something back, I think donating time is the most special thing you can donate – you don’t get compensated for it or get a tax deductible donation – it’s a legitimately honest gesture I think which is a great thing to do.
You’ll be back over in Perth in November supporting Ronan Keating – are you excited for that show?
Yeah can’t wait! Really looking forward to it, I’ve met Ronan before in Sydney and he’s a lovely guy. Given a chance to do a show with him is very, very exciting.
Recently I’ve been able to some different songs to the live set list and have had more choice with what I can play. Now I can really fill the set up with songs that have been singles, which is really great!