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Wednesday 08 October 2008


Indie music-meister Guy Blackman goes solo

Posted in: Music
By Matt Akersten - 22nd September 2008

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He's been a band member, music journalist and record label boss, and now this baby-faced gay indie performer has his own debut album out – and is on his way to NZ.

Currently based in Melbourne, Guy Blackman will play concerts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch this week, giving Kiwis a chance to experience his melodious piano and guitar songs of emotional honesty and revelation from his new album Adult Baby. He then flies off for concerts in America.

Considering his many years of experience working in many different aspects of the musical realm, I asked Blackman why he waited so long before bringing out a solo work.

"I've been working on his record since 2004 – it took a long time," he replies. "I picked away at it on weekends, whenever I had any time.

"I had a bit of a fear of completion – as it's my first album, I wanted it to be really good and wanted people to enjoy it. But I was scared that once it was finished I couldn't take anything back. So it sat around, slowly taking shape, because I wanted to be sure I wasn't just sticking something out that I'd regret later."

 

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Blackman's record label Chapter Music has launched a wide range of artists in genres including indie pop, post punk, country & western and folk. After so long promoting other people's albums, the passionate music-lover says turning the focus onto his own work was a very weird experience – so he decided to release Adult Baby on someone's else's label. The reaction has been positive so far, but like all emerging musicians these days, he's concerned the music industry has been devalued as listeners abandon the CD stores in favour of free internet downloading.

"I do worry that everything I've been doing since I was a teenager is slowly becoming redundant. I'm a music journalist, and there are staff cuts at newspapers, so they're not taking as much freelance writing, which is what I do. And it's a fact of life that fewer people are buying CDs now. So it's really hard for musicians to make a living. We have to find some new ways of making ends meet.

"People say you can make money out of playing live and selling merchandise now instead of selling CDs – but we haven't made any Guy Blackman T-Shirts yet," he laughs.

 

This week's concerts will be a welcome return to Blackman's homeland. He was born in Taupo and lived in Auckland for a while, before his family moved to Australia when he was six. "I remember kids crowding around me and teasing me at school, getting me to say 'fush and chups' with my accent. I couldn't hear the difference when I was a kid – I didn't think my voice was any different. But I don't have the accent any more – I say the Australian 'six' instead of the New Zealand 'sux'."

He and his boyfriend Ben are looking forward to his American tour as a chance for a shared holiday of sorts. "We're there for four weeks or so. Ben and I have never really travelled overseas together before. I'm doing a few shows, but keeping some time between dates so we can do some sight-seeing and enjoy ourselves," he smiles.

Blackman met his partner when he moved from Perth to Melbourne at the age of twenty – and his song Carlton North is about that time in their lives. "We had our 13-year anniversary the other week – it's been quite a long time. We were very young when we started seeing each other… and we're not quite so young any more."

The musician has kept his babyface though, looking much younger than his age of 34. And in keeping with the youthful theme, his album title Adult Baby is a reference to his re-birth as a solo artist. "I guess it's also about the fact that it's taken me so long to make my first record. I feel like a kid, but grown up at the same time. And I didn't want to have a very serious singer/songwritery intense and brooding title. I wanted something that made fun of myself a little."

 

The future seems exciting for Blackman. His songs have now added to iTunes music store – broadening his potential audience hugely – and he plans to continue touring. "I'm trying to put myself out in front of as many people as possible," he says.

"It's exciting to come to New Zealand and tour – I've played little one-off gigs before, but nothing outside of Auckland. It's going to be awesome."

 

Guy Blackman performs in Auckland this Thursday and Friday, then Wellington on Saturday and Christchurch on Sunday. Concert details and some of his songs are on his MySpace page, linked below. He sings Gayle on the video clip shown below.


Matt Akersten - 22nd September 2008