From Dancing with the Stars to a national tour, this year has been a busy one for Shannon. This popular entertainer is constantly evolving his music…
You have a new album out …
Yes, it came out in November last year, and I think we have had 4 or 5 singles off it now. So, it has been out for a while, and it’s going good.
And this tour is to promote that album, is that correct?
Yes, it is. I had a tour booked earlier in the year, but then obviously Dancing with the Stars came up and we couldn’t do both. We postponed the tour until now, so that I could do the show.
You’ve been on the road since June. How’s it going so far?
It’s been going really good, actually, and it’s been really good to be back out there in front of the full band again. I’d been doing a lot of acoustic stuff before this, so it’s great to have the full band out there again.
What instruments is the band made up of?
We have two guitars, bass and drums.
So tell us about the new album – it’s your fifth one – was there any particular inspiration behind this one?
I had the opportunity to write with a few different people with this one … obviously teamed up with Benji Madden from Good Charlotte to write the lead single, Switch Me On and I wrote with Mark Macailvy as well and Brooke McClymont – so a bit of a mix!
That’s great – we love the McClymonts! They’ve visited a few times and were featured on one of our covers!
They are lovely girls; I just ran into them at Gympie a couple of weeks ago (laughs).
So the current tour brings you back to Port Macquarie to visit fans. What can the audience expect from this show?
Well mate, when I wrote this album I intentionally tried to structure it so that it would suit the live show, with a bit more tempo and pace with the timing of it. So it’s easier to dance to, it’s a bit more vibey, and they are a bit more party kind of songs. So there are all of the big ones that I have had out in the past, plus some of the new ones.
Tell us how you have changed and adapted to keep your music fresh?
I think you have always got to be open to learning new stuff and learning how to perfect your singing and put a show together better; it’s something that continues to evolve, and I think that if you don’t have that attitude towards it, you can get a bit stale and a dated. So we’re always trying to mix it up and see what we can do different, to make it more fun.
You performed this year on the TV series, Dancing with the Stars. After being in the spotlight with singing for so long, what was it like to be dancing?
Yeah … well, if you can call what I did dancing (laughs)!
It was heaps of fun and completely different to anything I had ever done before, and it was really difficult to retrain your body to move completely differently to how it has your whole life! It was a great experience, a lot of fun and well worth doing.
So, it was a good challenge?
Is there anything on the horizon for next year like that to challenge you?
Not as yet, no. We have a few ideas for some projects that we want to do at the end of this year or beginning of next year … so we’re trying to plan ahead a little bit. I think that’s important – to have a 12 month plan in place.
With the TV show and the tour and new album, how are you balancing family life?
It’s been pretty hard, you know. I got to see some of the boys’ first couple of footy games this year, and I missed the rest of the season just about – that’s always difficult, and you miss out on that stuff. But you know, I have been able to come home on the Mondays and Tuesdays and have a few days at home, so at least I get that chance …
Locally we have a healthy music scene, with lots of ambitious artists and bands. What would be your advice to them to help launch their careers?
I think the main thing is you have to get out and play; the more you can play, the better you get at it. And also, to write – write as many songs as you can, because the writing is a skill you can hone, and the more you practice, the better you’ll get and the closer you’ll then get to writing that song that could be the big break for you.
You have a few singles from the new album nominated for an award, is that correct?
Yeah, yeah it is. The lead single Switch Me On has been nominated for Rock Release of the Year by APRA – which is a great honour, as APRA is a great organisation and to be put in that category is awesome. It is great to get that recognition, ‘cause I really enjoyed writing that song, and it does rock pretty hard.
Is that the song that will get the locals up and dancing when you get here?
Yeah, I think so. It is just so much fun to play and it’s really pumping, so I think everyone will enjoy it.
Do you have any other bands that will open for you on this tour?
We have an acoustic support everywhere we go, and we try to mix it up a bit. We had a young bloke called Mark Wilkinson, who has opened the last 8 or 10 shows, and he’s a really good young singer. We try and pick people up along the way, you know.
It’s a great opportunity for them to play for you and get some stage time …
Yeah, 100% for sure.
Thanks Shannon. See you when you get here!
No worries – looking forward to seeing everyone and playing there.