If you have been tuned into Channel Ten’s ‘Australian Idol’, you would have noticed James Johnston, Wingham’s homegrown talented musician. James drops in to tell us about his journey so far.
> You’re back home after a whirlwind few months. What’s it like to be here for a few days?
Great! To be honest, coming back home and to my local community gives me a good feeling; I miss the country life. The city is bearable; I am taking a while to get used to it.
> Support within the region has been outstanding. Are you surprised?
I have been blown away by the response. It has been fantastic! So many have turned out to support me, it is unbelievable.
> What were your expectations when you started on Australian Idol?
When I started, it was to win. But I would have been happy to make the top 12. When you are there it is tough going, so I am happy to be where I am now.
> How hard it is it to prepare for a show?
It is a lot of work through the week; we have vocal and music workshops. The arrangements are all mine, so I work with the Music Director to try to get it right.
> Are the choice of songs your own in the nominated genre?
Yes, they are. I talk to my parents, compere Andrew G and some friends. The Producers have some say, but it has to be from a commercial viewpoint.
> Who is your favourite judge?
Marcia Hines. She is helpful, up front, honest and not too critical. She has a different point of view, being an established artist, and understands what we endure.
> You have a new mentor each week. Who has been the most helpful?
They all have been good. But Harry Connick Jnr and Liza Minnelli were outstanding.
Liza is down to earth. She taught me how to act through a song and to find something I had been lacking – she taught me to find emotion when I sing.
With Harry Connick Jnr, I found I could relate to everything he said. It may be because I have a simialr style, but he taught me a lot about delivery and understanding every song.
> How have you improved since being on Australian Idol?
My skills are better. My voice from practicing every day is stronger. My vocal range is better, so yes, I have improved greatly.
> Each show begins with the agony of who stays and leaves. How does this period affect everyone?
It is a nervous time. Waiting to know is awful. I was in the bottom three once, and it was one of the worst periods of my life. Staying makes you more determined to give your best performance.
> Last year when we spoke you were heading to Newcastle to expand your knowledge. Has this helped?
It taught me a few things. It was my first experience of moving out of home, so learning to be self sufficient was one thing. It was life experience. I also worked with a big band, which taught me many new avenues of music and performing. Without both, I would not have made Australian Idol.
> You were working on a new album late last year and releasing a new single. How has that progressed?
The album is on hold, but the single ‘Falling’ has been released and is receiving some airplay.
> Now you have made the final cut on Australian Idol, it will obviously boost your career. Have there been any offers?
Under the rules of Idol, we are contracted to them until the final show. So, no.
> Now you are in the final six. Most who have made this stage all move ahead and make a niche in Australian music. Where would you like to be in five years?
A recording artist with songs on the music charts. Also, I would like to be performing a combination of acoustic, jazz and funk.
> Finally, as we count down to the final show, you are in the market as fourth favourite to win. Do you agree?
We are all equal; you are only as good as your last performance. We all get on well; we support each other. There is no tension, so whoever wins will be the best.
> James Johnston, thanks and good luck.