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    Interview + Album review: Songs from the soul

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    QueenTiger
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    Interview + Album review: Songs from the soul

    Post by QueenTiger on Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:54 pm

    source: http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/warcry/default.asp?contentID=1595

    Songs from the soul


    Australian Idol Stan Walker gives Warcry an inside look at his new album.

    Stan Walker says life has been 'non-stop' since he won last year's Australian Idol competition. And there's no sign of that changing any time soon, with the release this week of his new album From the Inside Out.

    It's a fitting album name because the extroverted 19-year-old says each of the 13 songs says something about what he feels and believes. As the title track, which he co-wrote, declares: 'What you see is what you get…this is who I am.

    'I'm that type of person, you either love me or hate me,' Walker says. 'In this industry, especially, people want to change you, want to make you look like this or that, and expect you to be good at everything. Inside Out is me just telling people that I know who I am, this is what God has created, take it or leave it.

    'I haven't changed; I've just got an awesome new job, my dream job.'

    His 'awesome new job' is as a recording artist with Sony Music. His 2009 debut album Introducing Stan Walker went platinum, peaking at number three on the Australian Albums Chart. His Idol winner's single 'Black Box' also received platinum status, reaching number two on the ARIA chats.

    Stan might not have changed in the aftermath of the popular television series, but his lifestyle certainly has. Catching the bus to work in a clothes shop in Coolangatta (Qld) is now just a distant memory.

    'Life's non-stop,' he admits. 'There's a lot of pressure with the way you look, your weight, your hair and stuff like that. No sleep, early mornings, late nights, singing, interviews, photos, everything full-on. Sometimes I don't get it. I've got to just pray about it and, when I can, rest. But it's all good, all good.'

    Walker sees From the Inside Out as important in terms of redefining how people view him.

    'This is my first step as an artist, of me and my own songs—it's coming out of me and what I've got,' he explains.

    'I really just want to establish my sound with differ­ent styles of music. There's pop in there, soul, R&B, pop rock and hip-hop. These are all different styles, but my sound is evident in everything. With the lyrics, I wanted people to get a glimpse inside my world and really feel what I'm feeling.'

    The album features duets with UK singer Pixie Lott and New Zealand rapper Young Sid, and includes 'Choose You', a pop anthem written for him by Aussie singer/songwriter Cassie Davis, which Walker describes as 'a wicked pop song mixed with a little old skool R&B'.

    'I wanted to make an album of songs, with real lyrics about how we all feel sometimes.

    'There's a lot of manufactured songs with nasty lyrics, but I wanted to talk about real love, real situations that people could really connect to,' he says.

    He names 'Love Graffiti' as a favourite track for that reason, valuing the positive way it portrays love.

    'A lot of songs talk about love, but really it's lust. "Love Graffiti" lyrics are so awesome. I'd never ever heard a song like that—"I'll write your name across the sky/write love graffiti", it's an awesome way to explain how you love somebody.'

    The album's first single, 'Unbroken', released in May, has already gone gold. Walker recalls reading the lyrics to that song and thinking, 'This is my story'—words such as: 'It's like you're showing me where happiness lives/And all I have the strength to do is turn to you/ With every empty space I'm miss­ing pieces only you can replace'.

    'When I heard this track I was like, "Oh man, this is my song and it is telling my story". I love how it takes you on a journey from being broken, being in pieces, being messed up and then someone reaches in to save you and pull you back together. For me it was God.'

    On his fast-track to fame, he admits he's had to push himself to continually learn new techniques, stretch his vocal range and press on through fatigue. One important lesson he's learnt is that talent alone is not enough to succeed in the competitive music industry.

    'A lot of people think you can just get by with talent. There's a lot of talented people out there, but people fall over every day,' he observes.

    'It's actually the hard work that you put in, and integrity and character, that will sustain you. You've got to have a foundation and backbone to support what you've got.'

    Walker's foundation is God, his support as he finds his feet in the whirlwind of a cut-throat industry, media scrutiny and success.

    'As a Christian, I just keep on growing and learning. God's taken me through a journey in life for a while now, so now I know who I am and what he has called me to be, especially with the industry that I'm in. You've got to be on your guard all the time and you've got to be fresh; that's what I've been learning lately, to be refreshed for God.'

    Walker's life journey includes a difficult childhood in New Zealand. He has spoken frankly about being brought up around gangs, how his mother decided to break the cycle with a new start for herself and her children in Australia, and how their experience of God changed their lives. Those times have given him an empathy with people—especially young people—who are doing it tough.

    'I really want to represent Polynesian people, Aboriginal people, and other groups of people who have to deal with the same kind of issues in their communities, as well as those young Australians who may be finding things a little more difficult than others,' he says.

    'It's not about where you're from, it's about who you are—my goal is to show people that through the struggle there is definitely a brighter future on the other side.'

    He also has words of encouragement for Christians.

    'I always say the same thing but it is what I live off—don't be ashamed, make a stand.

    'Don't be a person who misses opportunities. Do what you've got to do, and remember who God has called you to be. Never forget that; just stay accountable and stay fresh.'


    Faye Michelson and Drew Taylor


    Review

    From The Inside Out
    Stan Walker

    From the moment that Stan started to shine on Australian Idol, we knew he was destined for the spotlight. With the 'required' Aussie Idol album out of the way, Stan is now able to let loose an album that shows more of himself, his talent and what's important to him. From The Inside Out—Stan's new album—does all that, and more!

    Looking to hit as widely as possible across styles, the album serves up a fusion of synth pop, rock, soul and R&B across 13 big tracks. And Stan doesn't hold back on any of them. The lyrics are gutsy and fresh, declaring his faith, his views on the world around him, and opening up about some of the tough times he's faced.

    If the title (and opening) track, 'Inside Out', doesn't prep you for Stan's chart potential, then the infectious songs 'Choose You' and 'Love Graffiti' will for sure. Pushing deeper, 'Unbroken', 'Stand Up' and the stunning duet 'The One' pack a punch lyrically, while smoother tracks such as 'Homesick' and 'Chandelier', and the big rap number 'Stuck in a Box', show off different styles and balance the mix.

    If you're already a fan of Stan, or love the whole urban contemporary scene, then From The Inside Out is going to impress. Stan's voice has never sounded better, and the combination of faith and flavour is force to be reckoned with.

    A great 'second' album that gets better with each listen!
    Drew Taylor





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