SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Shane Nicholson

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM goes one on one with Shane Nicholson.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

When I was 12 years old I picked up my mother’s old nylon string guitar, just a moment of whimsy really, and by the end of the day had written my first song. It was terrible, of course, but I was on my way. 

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

The idea of creating a body of work that I’ll one day be proud to leave behind is always the driving force for me. 

What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?

In reality, I’ve actually already achieved most of the main goals I had as an artist, everything now is just gravy on top. I like gravy.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

I think I might be hanging about in a little more lockdown for the time being. Fingers-crossed that changes at some point soon and we can all get back out on the road. I’d love to take the new album out to the people. 

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

Living In Colour is the “Accidental Album”. I made it over the course of 18 months or so, in bits and pieces, in and around producing records for other artists. It sorta crept up on me, and eventually just fell in my lap, completed.

I never know how to describe my music. It’s not Jazz, I know that much. 

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

These days I usually have to orchestrate time to write, which means it’s more a case of “turning on the tap” intentionally, and hoping the muse comes out to play. 

Sometimes she does, sometimes not. I haven’t yet learned how to always make it happen, but I have learned how to not get too upset when it doesn’t. 

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if playing my records backwards revealed that I’ve just been ripping off Tim Rogers’ songs my whole career.

Success, what is the secret to it?

The concept of success is subjective, I think. My idea of success is spending your time doing something you love, which is also your job, and I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do that. Any extra “success” on top of that is then just a bonus. 

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Once you have somehow stumbled your way into a Chinese dinner with Ronnie Wood and Marianne Faithful, there’s not really anywhere left to go.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

The ones that forge their own paths, don’t conform to trends and enrich our lives with their art. The ones that change and reinvent themselves, and stick around.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

I always have too many projects on the go at once. Right now, I am planning something pretty interesting for 2022 to mark the 20th Anniversary of my debut solo album, It’s A Movie.

The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?

I think i’ll be doing exactly what I’m doing now. If I’m lucky. 

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

The creative aspect has always been my most-favoured part of being an artist – it’s what still keeps me motivated to this day. Selling the art has always been my least favourite part, where commerce brings with it compromise, and the juggling act of integrity versus achievement. It’s not as grim as it sounds, it’s usually much, much worse. 

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Paul Kelly, Cyndi Boste, Michael Waugh, Liz Stringer, Mia Dyson, Midnight Oil

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

It’s changed so much that I don’t really recognise it anymore. I’m not afraid of change in general, but I feel like an anachronism now. Frighteningly, we are all trying to sell something that isn’t worth much anymore, and hoping to sustain an entire industry by doing it. 

Of course its worth EVERYTHING to us, but less and less to the rest of the world (at least in a monetary sense). 

I’m hopeful it will eventually evolve into something new, but for now we are just stuck in the “star-nursery-phase”: the explosion came and went, but the various elements haven’t yet re-congealed to create something new and bigger. 

How do you plan on cracking the international market?

I don’t plan to. I’ve done a lot of work overseas and I still enjoy it in small doses, but I have no wish to ‘crack’ another market. Unless they want to come to me here in Aus, then I’m totally ok with that. 

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

I collaborate almost every day, at least in my work as  producer. I collaborate a lot less on my own music, and I think that’s largely because I usually have a set course that I wish to travel. But in recent years Ive been incorporating the work of others a lot more, especially some of my closest friends, into my own music. Having said that, this new album was made in almost total isolation from other humans. 

Wishlist: T Bone Burnett, Kieren Kane, Lisa Hannigan

What advice do you give for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Avoid cliche, avoid trends, avoid booking agents after 2am

New Show Dates:

OCTOBER 8Hardys Bay Club, NSW
17Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
DECEMBER 3Murray Delta Juke Joint, Goolwa, SA
4The Barn at Wombat Flat, SA
5Trinity Sessions, Adelaide, SA
JANUARY19Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre
19The Pub, Tamworth, NSW  (evening) 

Website: https://shanenicholson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShaneNicholsonMusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shanenicholson

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shanenicholson/