TEN years can be a long time in any profession, just ask Australian singer-songwriter – and former Australian Idol winner – Damien Leith.
Bursting on to the Australian music scene in 2006 thanks to his near-perfect weekly performances on the hit reality show, Damien has enjoyed a stellar career since winning Idol, and will celebrate a decade in the business through ‘The Winner’s Journey – 10th Anniversary Tour.’
The tour will see Damien perform intimate and acoustic shows across the country, with the tour to not only include a look back at the singer-songwriter’s music, but also feature rare songs and untold stories.
“It’s actually a weird feeling to be hitting the road to celebrate my 10th anniversary,” Damien said. “Basically the tour represents 10 years since I won Australian Idol, celebrating the best of the eight albums I have recorded in that time.
“The performances themselves will be focused on story-telling, which is something you can do really well in an acoustic setting.”
With the tour already under way, Damien will arrive at Mildura Arts Centre on Friday, October 14.
“While 10 years is a long time to have been on the road, this will actually be the first time I have ever had the chance to perform in Mildura,” he said. “Mildura is a place that I have always wanted to visit, but over the years the town has always managed to miss out.
“For this 10th anniversary tour I wanted to go to places I had never been before, and I really paid attention to people out there who were asking me to come here or go there.”
An artist who has enjoyed a varied career as an author, cabaret performer and singer-songwriter, Damien said it was a career featuring numerous highlights.
“There’s been so many great memories,” he said. “From releasing my first ever album, to performing nationally on stage in front of wonderful audiences.
“There’s been eight albums, two novels, one play and loads of concerts, not to mention on a personal level three gorgeous little kids who I adore.
“I sometimes need to pinch myself when I look back over it all.
“I’ve worked with some incredible people in that time also, from musicians to personal idols like Joe Melson, Sharon Corr, my family back in Ireland and Barbara Orbison to name a few. The biggest highlight is that I’m getting to do the one thing I always dreamed of doing, performing.”
Damien described his 10-year music journey as “a whirlwind.”
“The first couple of years after Idol just flew by,” he said. “Once everything did settle down I sat down and made a plan of where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do, and to say the last 10 years had been fantastic would be an understatement.
“I’ve had so many opportunities, and had great things happen to me.”
Describing the Australian music industry as “a crazy business,” Damien said he spent the first two years of his post-Idol career learning to adapt.
“I was lucky in the sense that I was a little older post-Idol,” he said. “I was 30-years-old, and had worked with record companies before, and was somewhat familiar with the industry.”
Damien said that fans would be happy to learn that he would revisit songs from his debut album, The Winner’s Journey, as part of the anniversary tour.
“I hardly ever play those songs any more, which is a shame because they are great songs,” he said. “The plan is to perform what the audience wants to hear, with Nessun Dorma always highly requested.”
Recently, Damien has been on the road with his ROY – A Tribute to Roy Orbison tour, which has seen him perform sell-out shows celebrating Roy Orbison’s 80th birthday and music.
“Roy is one of my all-time favourites, and I have a really strong connection to his music,” he said. “The show received such a massive response, and while it was only a short run, it attracted large audiences.
“I think audiences appreciated that I wasn’t trying to impersonate Roy, I was purely performing my version of his fantastic songs.”
Damien will return to the studio following his 10th Anniversary tour to work on his new album.
“I’m recording that new album at my home studio, Studio 4, which I built to help up-and-coming artists,” he said. “I’m feeling really good about the album, we’re coming up with some unique concepts and it just sounds great.
“Working from home is also a great feeling, and I certainly feel like I’m putting everything into this new album.”
Tickets for Damien’s The Winner’s Journey – 10th Anniversary Tour are on sale now, and are available online at www.milduraartscentre.com.au, or by contacting 5018 8330.