Shannon Noll chats new music with the AU at the 2016 Deni Ute Muster

While at the 2016 Deni Ute Muster, Mallory sat down with bonafide Australian icon Shannon Noll to chat new music, including new single “Who I Am”, his visit to the Ute Muster this year and more.

Congratulations on the new single, “Who I Am”. I heard it on the radio this morning and it’s so upbeat, catchy and a real stick-it-to-the-man song.

It’s just a bit of a fun song. The message is you don’t have to live by anyone else’s code – be happy with yourself and take it or leave it sort of thing. You can just be yourself – that’s all you can ever really be. All signs look good. I couldn’t have been happier with it. So, fingers crossed.

The song has already gotten a really strong response. Are you surprised by all the attention it’s received so far?

No mate, I don’t take anything for granted. I don’t try and expect anything either so I’m just chuffed about it. And [I’m] really, really stoked so whatever happens from then on, happens. The support’s been amazing; I just hope it continues.

It’s great to see the support I’ve got with the video I put up announcing I was coming here – I got twice as many likes on Instagram than I’ve ever had, so hopefully people are happy that I’m here!

And you’re filming the music video here at the Deni Ute Muster – is that correct?

Yeah, I thought about it and with the lyric, I’ve got a brand new black Ute” so I thought, ‘What better place to do it than at Deni?’, given it’s a Ute festival. Obviously, as well, the launch of a single, what better place to do it then at a place where you’ve got 25,000 people? [I’ve] never performed it before, except in the studio.

I’m pretty nervous but I’m pretty excited [as well]. The boys have got a drone and stuff like that. I’m filming a lot of behind the scenes stuff as well. We’ve got a few things on location around the place.

Then onto an album for release next year – how far into making it are you?

The boys are in pre-production at the moment. As soon as I get back [from Deni], I’ll be back in the studio cutting vocals and all of that sort of stuff. It’s all written, we’ve just got to produce it.

Did you do much writing for the album?

I co-wrote everything with different blokes. [I didn’t co-write previous albums] so much over the years, I’d probably co-write 60% of it and you might get a few songs that were pitched – but this one’s completely co-written by me. It’s probably my first real one, if you know what I mean.

When I first met with the guys at Warner [they said], ‘We want you to write about who you are, where you come from and what you’re about,’ so I took that into account. Then, [with] all the online stuff with the memes and all that, I sort of thought, ‘Well, a lot of people in the crowd here can familiarise themselves with where I come from and who I am,’ – I think that’s a really strong part about it. Once I started writing along those lines, a lot of stuff came out about it – being proud about who I am and where I come from. Just because you grew up in the country doesn’t mean you have to write country music; a lot of it’s fairly rocky but a lot of it is built around the story line of growing up in the bush and country people.

What genre would you classify the album as, then?

I’ve struggled a lot in the past with people thinking my sound’s dated – and [with] my older stuff that I’ve put out before, you could probably say that. A lot of the stuff, the sound, just isn’t getting played these days. We steered away from that and tried to take [influences] from songs today that are current – hence the tempo with a lot of them. We’ve moulded it to what’s more current now.

So “Who I Am” is a good example of the tempo and style of what the album shall be?

Yeah, it is. The second single, I’m really stoked with too and it’s along similar lines. It’s very Australian-driven, if you know what I mean.

I read a quote from you, where you said, “If I wasn’t performing here I’d be attending.” What did you mean by that?

Well, that’s why I’m so excited to be playing here. I’ve got a wagon, not the Ute, but I’ve got the swag and all that sort of stuff, so if I was still living on a farm I’d be really busting my butt to get [here]. I wanted to check out some of the circle work.

It’s been 13 years since you were on Australian Idol. Does it feel like maybe now you’re just coming into your own?

I do, very much so. A lot of things happen and it’s a huge learning curve. This time around, knowing what I know now, it’s a really exciting time. I lived in Melbourne for a couple of years and I did a lot of touring when I was down there, but there was nothing in terms of releases or anything like that. I got a chance to go and watch the boys play footy and things like that, so it was great because it really rejuvenated me a bit. Really pumped and excited!

I’ve got a great label and good management as well now. Having really good people around you makes a hell of a difference in this business – everyone wants to be with you while the whip’s still cracking, but when it’s not, everyone sort of disappears. I’ve got a really good feeling about it.

Are you still in touch with anyone from the show?

Yeah, Guy [Sebastian] and I still keep in contact. We had a bit of a text-a-thon the other night when the Crows were playing the Swans. But everyone’s so busy – if he’s in town, I’m not and if I’m in town, he’s not. When we do, it’s like we haven’t spent any time apart at all, which I think is a example of true mateship.

Using a title of one of your songs, how would you describe the Deni Ute Muster?

I suppose it’ll probably have to be “Drive”. Driving around in circles … I suppose that’d be the one.

“Who I Am” is out now.


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