Touring the Australian east coast this month is Marty Simpson, top twelve finalist of Australian Idol, 2007. Marty will be performing at the Smithown Riverview Hotel on April 20. Focus talks to Marty about fame, fans and his favourite judge from Australian Idol, Dicko.
You just performed in Port Macquarie at the Tacking Point Tavern. Was the crowd good to you?>
Yeah, it was a cool crowd because we reached a lot of families there, and it was an all ages gig. It was cool to get a mixed bag of the older people and the younger kiddies. Those types of gigs are always fun!
> You grew up on the Central Coast at Forrester’s Beach. What was it like growing up there?
I grew up in the surf culture of the Central Coast with that beautiful beach lifestyle. I have always lived there and the friendships I have had all throughout the Central Coast have been great. On any coastal part of Australia it’s beautiful.
> What prompted you to try out for Idol?
It was a coincidence, I guess. I was on my way to a gig that night in Kings Cross and Mum was always hitting me up to try out. I was going through Kings Cross and I had heard it was the last try out. So I popped in and had a look … and it all started from there.
> Audiences described you as the most “laid back contestant” on Idol last year. But was it nerve wracking being in the Top 12 and performing to the judges each week?
Yes, even though I am laid back. If you are thrown in front of cameras, and you have a minute and a half to impress the judges and Australia, of course it’s going to be a very daunting experience.
The cool thing about that is, I have more confidence to step out on the stage and I am not beating myself up about it. The judges are really good – always happy to give advice and give constructive criticism backstage.
They are a lot nicer out back then you would expect, I guess. Dicko was my favourite judge, because we bonded from the beginning. We had a lot of man to man conversations, and he is a good man to get along with backstage.
> You are on tour now playing acoustic gigs along the Australian coastline. How is life on the road?
It’s great. A lot busier than my previous workoad! It’s so good to be going across so many beautiful places. It’s cool to know we have the opportunity to see so many nice places, and to know we are growing as musicians – it’s been a wonderful experience. We get up to a bit of mischief … but only sometimes!
> How are you enjoying the fame that comes with the entertainment industry?
I still feel like the same person, so I don’t really take it in. I get noticed a lot more, but at the end of the day I am the same person. I am getting more opportunities to play my music around, and we are getting better turnouts, so that’s the only thing that has really changed!
> Do you have any funny fan incidents?
There are a few funny random things! Yesterday we were checking the surf at one of the breaks in Torquay, and a bus load of girls stepped out and noticed it was me in the car. My manager didn’t drive off – she made me stay and have photos with every single one of them. It’s cool though!
Some of the fans have been coming to the shows consistently, which is one of the coolest things I have been noticing. The other day I was driving along and I heard someone playing my music in their car, and I tripped out! But it felt good.
> Your original music is described as “acoustic surfer rock”. What are the themes to your songs?
I guess my experiences of growing up around my area. A lot of people write about their own experiences, and that is what I also do. Experiences and my perspectives on life.
> Do you think it is important for Australian Idol contestants to write their own music?
I think a true artist can write their own music. With Australian Idol, you go into the competition as a good singer, but a true artist should have originality to offer Australia as well.
> Who are your music influences?
The Police were one of my favourite bands growing up; Sting was a huge influence. Dave Matthews Band have a great writing ability. Australian bands like the John Butler Trio, Xavier Rudd and The Beautiful Girls are very inspiring.
> What does the future hold for you and music … do you hope for longevity in this business?
Yeah, definitely. This year I’m putting everything I have into working, touring and getting an album out. I hope to just go at it, as hard as I can. And if I’m putting in 100%, I’ll definitely be sticking around as long as I can.
> You are playing in Smithtown on the 20th April, at the beautiful Riverview Pub. What can the audience expect to see at the gig?
We have played there before, so they’re going to get the same show … but better! We played to a crowd of 400 people, and if they come back, it’s going to be a great night!
> Thank you for your time Marty.