This is the fourth and last part of my interview with Queensland musician Chad Shuttleworth, who is a finalist in this year’s Toyota Star Maker. If you’re heading to Tamworth this year, check out Chad’s Facebook page regularly, as he’ll be posting details of gigs during the festival.
In terms of those goals, what happens now for Star Maker, because you’re a finalist. So what actually happens? I’ve never been to the finals.
You’ve never been? Are you coming this year?
I’m undecided …
How can I sell it to you so that you come? I’ll make you an offer: if I end up winning Star Maker, you can be the first person to interview me. How’s that?
[Laughs] Sounds good! Well, I think you have a very good chance so I’ll get my tape recorder ready.
Thank you! Thank you very much.
I think there is a good chance – I remember that when I saw you play on Peel Street I thought, ‘That guy’s going to be huge’.
Well, it is that thing of … it’s an intangible thing. The ‘X factor’, for want of a better term. But when someone loves what they do – and as you said, if you love what you do then people see you enjoying yourself and they have a good time – it’s really true. There are actually very few performers, I find, who genuinely look like they’re having a good time – but there seems to be a higher proportion of them in country music.
And that’s one of the reasons why Tamworth is such a great festival – everyone’s happy.
All the performers are happy, the audience is happy. That ability to connect, in a country with a fairly large population with a lot going on in their lives, with a lot on their minds, they do seek those two hours, as you said, to forget about it, but what they’re looking for is that connection. And it’s great if it comes through the music but it’s even better when it comes through the performer who’s playing the music.
For sure … I’m still thinking about how we can get you down there.
[Laughs] In the past when I’ve been on the Sunshine Coast [where Chad lives] I’ve looked up to see if you’re playing but the timing has never worked out.
I’m just horrible at letting people know about gigs … Nah, I’m not. Sometimes it’s just spur-of-the-moment stuff on the coast, actually.
There wouldn’t be too many venues there, I guess?
There’s about forty live-music venues on the coast, but when we talk live music we’re talking restaurants that only have, like, a piano guy, so that’s about five or six of them knocked out – so you’re right, there’s probably not that many live band and solo venues, but there is quite a few. But it is still a blessing to live up here. I was living in Tamworth for five months – did you know this?
Yes, I read it in your bio!
I was in Tamworth for five months and I was touring around there, getting my ‘gigging legs’ together. That was an amazing experience as well. I lived out on a farm, out on Ryan Simpson’s nana’s farm out of town, then I was just travelling – I think I racked up 1800 kms in a weekend for three gigs. I think the longest, biggest gig – and that was the one I came home – was travelling up to Lightning Ridge, back to Tamworth, up to Narrabri and then home to the Sunny Coast. That was 2200 kms.
That’s a lot of driving.
That’s kind of the reason why I can now just come home and go, ‘An hour away? That’s nothing! Don’t worry about that – let’s get into it!’ Drive home and drive back. It’s made me a much stronger performer and also a lot more tour ready, which was one of the biggest reasons I was sent down there.
I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about playing remote and regional communities, but a lot of the indigenous communities love country music and it doesn’t seem like a lot of musicians get out there. So if you’re prepared to drive … I don’t know how you would set it up.
I’m always interested in going to those places. Out at Anakie there were a few indigenous students, and a little bit further out, and they were so enthusiastic about music – and they have it in them. I’d be more than happy – and more than honoured – to go out and play for those guys. So if there are any places that you think of, let me know because I’d love to go.
So one last question: where can people see you play at the Tamworth Country Music Festival?
There may be some secrets shows …
So people should check your website?
I will update people on Facebook. But there’s two walk-up shows at the Aero Club on the last Friday and Saturday, I believe that’s the 27th and 28th of January. There’s going to be some amazing artists getting up and having a play, but it’s also open to everyone. We all just love music. So I’m hosting that one and it goes from 6 p.m. till 10.
And the Star Maker is what date?
The 22nd. The finals are in the morning and then the grand final’s in the afternoon.
So you’re pretty much there for the whole festival.
Yes! But I think I get to freelance and go and have some fun, and go and enjoy it and catch up with some old mates. Just check out the Facebook – there’s going to be some shows announced on there during the festival. So it will probably be daily that I’ll be updating that.
If I make it I’ll let you know, because I’ll hit you up for an interview there.
Yeah, absolutely. And I’ve said and I’m contractually obligated now to fulfil my obligations to you.