Jack Vidgen Inspire Interview
Jack Vidgen - the young man with the voice that invites superlatives - is back. He hasn't been away, really. He earned the title of 2011 Australia's Got Talent (AGT) winner in August, released his debut album "Yes I am" a mere two weeks later, and has been singing his way into hearts since.
And now, the 15 year old - whose maturity belies his tender years - is releasing his second album, titled Inspire. On it, he sings classics like 'Imagine', 'True Colours', and 'Man In The Mirror', giving them all a "gospel, soulful feel."
Auditioning the very first time for AGT at age 12, he came away older and wiser and blew the judges' socks off the next year, still only age 13. By the time the cameras rolled Jack was only 14, and when he belted out his showstopping rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing", the audience - and judges - were all mouths agape, and promptly rose to their feet. Brian McFadden even planted a kiss on Jack's cheek, so moved he was by what he - and eventually a global audience - had just witnessed.
One wonders: with many of his songs focusing on love, just how does this young soul know how to deliver such powerful ballads?
"I think I've experienced love - because I know there are different kinds of love. I relate to my experiences in life, or just what I'm feeling when I sing those songs. I don't sing a song without it meaning something to me, or adding my own interpretation to them."
Initially working with opera singer turned vocal coach Margi Coen - "she taught me how to develop the power in my voice, and the technique" - Jack enlisted renowned vocal coach Erana Clark, pre-AGT.
"That really helped me, because the soul/R 'n' B style is what I love now; Erana has helped me develop those techniques."
One would expect a possibly impressionable young man to be swept up by the hype and media attention. But not Jack.
Indeed, for him, the initial whirlwind in 2011 made him feel "very much a part of the industry - I felt very professional. Like, okay cool, I am doing this; this is my career now and this is what happens now.
"The process of the show was so exciting, yes. But once I actually got to the studio and all the media went away for a bit, and I was doing what I love - which was singing - it was just about my voice and the recording studio. That was the time I loved the most."
"When I'm singing a song I forget about everything, and I just focus on the lyrics and what I'm singing about. And that's the time when I can just zone out - the song is all that matters."
In fact, Jack is so enamoured with the recording studio process and getting the chance to sing the songs to an audience that "the whole celebrity thing is what comes with it is okay
But the music is really the best part," he says.
And what a batch of songs Jack has pulled together. With such a stellar compilation album, Jack had a hard task ahead of choosing the songs that most spoke to him, but he clearly did this with flair: timeless, moving classics with an enduring message like 'Imagine', 'What a Wonderful World', 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', and 'What The World Needs Now', he has included some modern songs like 'Lean On Me' and 'Higher Ground', as well as 'Man In The Mirror', which, says the wise young man, speaks to him in so many ways.
"'Man In The Mirror' is a song about being true to yourself and what you believe in, and doing what your heart desires," says Jack. "This is the kind of message I am always the most interested in, especially to inspire my young fans."
Another song that moves Jack is "I Was Here", originally sung by Beyonce. "It's about wanting the world to know that you were here, and leaving a footprint from your existence. The first line is "I want to leave my footprint on the sand of time", so it's about people knowing what you've done and making a difference because of it. And that's the closing track on the album, so I think it's a great ending to it and really confirms the whole message.
The distance education-schooled young man says he's "a lot more social now than when I was at school" and has the same "special bunch of friends"; one thing he doesn't miss is the notion that "guys should only be into football", although he was very much supported at school.
"And that's what I'm hoping I can help other kids my age with - to just be themselves. If they love music and singing, I want them to know they can do it."
The advice the older-than-his-years Jack has received from musical peers is to "just stick to what you believe in, and try not to be persuaded by what other people want; just focus on what you want and what your fans want."
No surprise, then, that another of Jack's favourite tracks on his new album is the Cyndi Lauper classic 'True Colours'. "It goes back to that whole message for kids and young guys; if what their heart desires is to sing, this song provides a great message for them. This message is important across all ages and generations, too. And that's what a classic song can do. People can be so much more vulnerable to what people say about them these days, so songs like this offer a good, hopeful message."
A standout track on the album is the Bill Withers classic 'Lean on Me' (later covered in the 1980s by Club Nouveau), which is delivered in true, emotion-charged, Jack fashion. It is his first single release from album number two, and a song he feels truly sums up his desire to inspire: "I hope people will listen to it and feel inspired to help others in their times of need."
And as usual, the young Jack Vidgen leaves us with the kind of wisdom typical of someone a decade older. But then, Jack is far from typical. Inspire
Sony Music Australia is pleased to announce the release of the highly anticipated second album Inspire from Jack Vidgen.
It has only been eight months since Jack released his Gold selling debut album Yes I am and now his second album, Inspire - is a true joy.
The changes are clear - his voice is several notches deeper after finally breaking ("when that happened I was glad the transition only lasted a week"), the timbre now sits comfortably in line with someone who has turned 15. Yes, a maturity well beyond his years, and still only 15.
But his voice remains unmistakable Jack Vidgen: soaring through the high notes with ease, the ability to move to tears with his delivery, and exuding a confidence that belies his age.
Since he first astonished the Australian public with his heart-wrenching rendition of Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing at age 14 and taking out the crown of Australia's Got Talent, which has had in excess of 1.5 million views worldwide on You Tube, his name has been followed by hugely flattering superlatives. In October 2011, he received standing ovations when he travelled to United States to be a part of the America's Got Talent live shows at Caesars Palace. Jack also wowed the crowds in LA, New York and Houston at the G'day USA Gala Events last year.
Now Jack is set to release his second Inspire the words of praise are set to be taken to a whole new level.
Jack was passionate about the song's that made the cut, the message of his second album, and what he wanted to get across.
"I really wanted to do another album since the start of this year, but I didn't quite know what kind of album I wanted to do. Then I came up with the idea that I wanted to have an album of songs which are inspirational and uplifting, and have a soulful and gospel feel to it. Even if the songs originally didn't have that feel, I wanted to add that to them - whether that was through the music or with my vocals. Because that's the sort of style I really love."
For someone who sees Aretha Franklin as one of the all-time greats, even including her track Think on his first album, it makes complete sense that this is the direction he should want to go.
For Jack's devoted fans, there is no doubt they will grow to know and love his renditions of the timeless classics on Inspire.
But what of his new slew of fans certain to join in the adoration of this gifted young man's voice? What does he hope they will get from this album?
"I hope that if people are going through a rough time and listen to my album it will help them through. That's another reason I wanted to make this album: for people who are going through rough times. I hope it moves them when they listen to it.
"I think people will feel uplifted and happier and will feel something when they listen to it.
His memorable, moving dulcet tones will see to that. Inspire Tracklisting
1. Man In The Mirror
2.What A Wonderful World
3.Lean On Me
4.Bridge Over Troubled Water
5.What The World Needs Now
7. I'll Be There
9.You're The Inspiration
12. I Was Here
To celebrate the release of his new album Jack will embark on a run of tour dates: Tour Dates
Friday 25th May: Kingsford, The Juniors www.thejuniors.com.au
Friday 1st June: Campbelltown, Campbelltown RSL Club www.campbelltownrsl.com.au
Saturday 2nd June: Castle Hill, Castle Hill RSL Club www.castlehillrsl.com.au
Friday 15th June: Penrith, The Evan Theatre-Penrith Panthers www.penrith.panthers.com.au
Saturday 23rd June: Harbord, Harbord Diggers Club www.harborddiggers.com.au
Friday 29th June: Woden Act, Canberra Southern Cross Club www.cscc.com.au
Friday 6th July: Dapto, Dapto Leagues Club www.daptoleagues.com.au
Saturday 7th July: Reversby, Revesby Workers Club www.rwc.org.au
Saturday 14th July: Rooty Hill, Rooty Hill RSL Club www.rootyhillrsl.com.au
Interview with Jack VidgenQuestion:
How does it feel to be 15 years of age and be one of the biggest music artists in Australia right now? Jack Vidgen
: It's a lot of fun doing what I do. It is fantastic that I get to do what I love, which is singing and being a recording artist, thanks to Australia's Got Talent. Question:
If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be? Jack Vidgen
: It depends; I love Australian Idol and would love to do something with Stan Walker, which would be cool because I like his voice. Internationally my dream duet would be with Aretha Franklin or Beyonce! Question:
What are you listen to on your iPod most right now? Jack Vidgen
: All sorts of music, including recently released songs. I like the new Florence and the Machine song that is currently on the radio. Question:
When writing your own songs, where do you draw inspiration? Jack Vidgen
: I wrote two of the songs on my first album and I draw inspiration from different areas of my life. I wrote Fly, from my first album, and it is about growing up and not fitting in but wanting to prove everybody wrong. Question:
What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist? Jack Vidgen
: I get to do amazing things including singing at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in October of last year which was really cool. This January I travelled to LA, New York and Houston to sing at events called G'day USA which was really great. I have been able to do many amazing things, in Australia as well, in front of large audiences. Question:
How did it feel to hear your song played all over the airwaves? Jack Vidgen
: It's amazing to hear one of my songs on the radio. When I first heard a song such as Yes I Am on the radio I couldn't believe it! Question:
You describe the sound on your new album as "Soulful and Gospel" is this your favourite style of music? Jack Vidgen
: Yes! Soulful and Gospel is my favourite style of music as I love to sing it. When I am performing Soulful and Gospel music I have so much fun and really enjoy performing. This album is a very inspirational album as the title Inspire suggests; it's a very uplifting album and when you put it on you will get that warm feeling from the music. Question:
Can you still go out in public or do you tend to have girls chasing you down the street now days? Jack Vidgen
: Yes (laughs) but its good! It's really nice, I'm happy to pose for a photograph or sign autographs.Question:
What are you enjoying most about being on tour? Jack Vidgen
: The tour is about to begin and I have heaps of dates and they are all published on my website: www.jackvidgen.com
. I can't wait for the tour to begin because it is my first live show tour. I have done numerous in-stores at Westfield and other shopping centres promoting the album but I haven't done a full-on tour and I am so happy that I am able to see all my fans at the shows. Question:
Do you prefer performing live or recording? Jack Vidgen
: I get a different feeling from both. I really like live because I can interact with the audience and fans. I really enjoy recording also because I can let loose and not look a certain way - I can just sing! Question:
What's a typical day like, for you? Jack Vidgen
: I don't really have a set routine because there are always different things on! Today I started my day with an interview on Sunrise and then I drove straight to Channel 10 to do the Breakfast Show and now I am doing lots of interviews. It's full on but I love it.
I do distance education which is much easier than going to school in my circumstances. Question:
What advice do you have for contestants on Australia's Got Talent or others looking at auditioning next year? Jack Vidgen
: Just to keep loving it! It's important to not get caught up with the whole fame side of it, love what your talent is and keep enjoying it because if you're not enjoying it there isn't really any point in doing it. Keep loving it!Question:
What originally inspired you to audition for Australia's Got Talent? Jack Vidgen
: Australia's Got Talent was the perfect way for me to achieve what I wanted to do and I would have never expected for it to blow up, as much as it did but I really wanted to get some exposure.
I had auditioned the year before hand for the producers of Australia's Got Talent and didn't get to the next round, to sing in front of the judges; the producers said "Come back next year, keep practicing and keep doing live performances." I took their advice on board and I went away and I worked really hard and performed live at RSLs and came back the next year. Question:
Can you talk about your experience on the show, Australia's Got Talent? Jack Vidgen
: The producers of Australia's Got Talent make the show such a great environment and it's really fun and happy as they don't put heaps of pressure on you which I really liked. The whole experience was in a fun-loving atmosphere and they taught me about stage presence, camera angles and all those types of things. I was always learning new things on the set of Australia's Got Talent.
Interview by Brooke Hunter and Fiona Tew.