interviews

Southern Sky Is The Limit For Shannon Noll

Shannon Noll is the quintessential ‘true blue’ Aussie bloke. You can tell after speaking with him for a couple of minutes that he doesn’t take himself too seriously, he’s a bit of a larrikin, and it kind of makes you want to meet him down the pub for a pint and a chat about the footy.

Noll made headlines earlier this week for that now-viral ‘Shoey for Shanno’ video. A situation which has disappointed the 41-year old.
“I’d just come out of a gig darl, you know, and I didn’t have a shirt on cos I get saturated on stage, anyone that’s been to a show would see that,” he said.
“So there were some fans outside and this girl just asked for a charity thing for her soccer team and somebody else videoed it and they didn’t know each other… it was a bit saddening, you know, because it was completely written up, well, not how it was. It was straight after the gig, we were on our way out to the car to leave the gig and go back to the hotel. I mean it is what it is, but it was a bit disappointing how it was portrayed, you know?”

Haphazardly touring the country since releasing his latest single Southern Sky last month, Noll has also been busy recording a television show and working on the new album.
“Everything’s sorta happening at once at the moment,” he laughed.
“I’m shooting a TV show and then trying to do a tour and trying to finish an album and also promo for the single.
“I’m chasing my tail a bit at the moment mate, that’s for sure… but it’s all good, it’s all worth it.”

Noll has been filming the second season of Cruise Mode, the “little car show on a Sunday afternoon on Channel Ten,” which should be going to air in the next month or so.

He’s also been recording his album in Kings Cross – a location he’s very familiar with.
“It’s funny, I’m actually back in the studio where we recorded the final 12 (Australian Idol) single in, all those years ago, it’s a bit of a homecoming really,” he laughed.
“It’s great to be able to record back in the studio where it all sort of started. Craig Porteils is producing the album, he did What About Me as well (laughs) so it really is a homecoming, same producer and more or less the same studio, in the same building… it brings back some memories going in and out of there, that’s for sure.”

The Aus Idol alumni signed with Sony Music originally as part of his contract with the show. Southern Sky is the first single released with his new label, Warner, with whom Noll signed late last year.
“I got out from Universal, and I didn’t realise but Warner had put their hand up after I left Sony, Tony Harlow from Warner wanted to sign me back then but I wasn’t aware of it, so I ended up going with Universal for a short stint there and when I got out of it I found out about the interest,” he said.
“The guys there have been terrific to work with and they want me to be me, and not just be a major label puppet… they really want me to write songs about who I am and where I come from and what I’m about so that’s the theme with the album, a lot of the songs on there will be songs I’ve had a lot more to do with on the lyrical side of things, and even come up with the hooks in a couple so I’m really looking forward to this album, I think it’ll be the first real genuinely ‘Shannon Noll’ album I’ve ever done.”

Finding time to finish the album has been tricky, though.
“We’ve got two or three songs to finish off so we’re really close with it as we speak,” Noll said.
“We’re not quite sure if it’ll be around September-ish yet but that’s what we’re aiming for, we’re just trying to get it finished and trying to get in there (laughs) so once we get that job done we can hopefully get it mixed and mastered and all the things that come after that. It’s been a really busy time but the tour has been going really well, we’re getting some great feedback about the single as well… it’s doing what we can do, you know? It’s a job as much as it’s anything else so you know, it’s about putting your head down and getting into it.”

Noll will be making his way back to Queensland this weekend, performing in Townsville and Cairns before heading back to the studio. It’s a trip he’s looking forward to.
“It’s absolutely pouring down here in Sydney so I’m really looking forward to getting up to North Queensland this weekend,” he said.
“The weather’s always so lovely up there and the fans are always really good to me up there, so hopefully they’ll all come out and have a good old singalong and have a good night with us as well. I think the whole band’s quite looking forward to it (laughs).”

Having done “probably 60 shows” so far this year, Noll said he was looking forward to having a holiday.
“We’re heading up to Hamilton later in the year hopefully, so I’m really looking forward to that,” he laughed.
“It’d be nice to have some down time that’s for sure.”

Hopefully, said holiday won’t be as disastrous as his last one, which landed him in the emergency room.
“I was staying in a little two-bedroom cabin with the family down on the Albury lake,” he said.
“I got up in the middle of the night and the bedroom was quite small, so I got up to go to the loo and I hit my elbow on the window, which was one of those old 3ml windows, not the safety glass ones, and as it broke it just slivered and it sliced me bad so I had to get taken to hospital that night.
“That was three days before the Deni Ute Muster so I was lucky I got through that one alright, cos I couldn’t use me arm properly to get the microphone to my mouth (laughs) I was lucky it wasn’t any worse though… I ended up with something like 60 stitches.”

That’s not the only time the singer has been in the wars this year.
“It must be as I’m getting older,” he laughed.
“It’s pretty funny really. The one in Darwin I went to jump back up on the stage and my foot slipped and drove my shin into the front of the stage.
“I thought I’d hurt it but I thought I might’ve been a bit soft too, then I looked down and I could see all the blood coming through my black jeans so I knew I’d busted that pretty well.”

A quick stalk of Noll’s Instagram not only reveals his inner klutz, it reveals a devoted dad and family man.
“I think it’s harder now (to leave for tours) than it ever has been,” he said.
“Both the boys are teenagers now and it’s hard to leave them and not be around when they need their dad around a bit. Nowadays it’s a bit better than what it used to be, we’d go away for two months at a time back in the day, where now we get away for three or four days and then we’re back for a couple, so at least I get that bit of time to come home and spend it with the family.
“It’s the joys of teenagers (laughs) I’m sure that anyone out there who’s got them can see what I’m saying, but it is a great time but I do try to minimize the time away as much as I can.”

Noll said he appreciates the support he receives from his fans, and said he is acutely aware that he wouldn’t be in the position he is in today if not for public support as far back as the Idol days. Although he obliges fans as often as possible he has had some strange fan requests, shoey aside.
“A few years ago now a lady was really heavily pregnant, like, I was scared to go near her because it looked like she was about to pop,” he laughed.
“She wanted me to sign her belly, with a great big black texta. I sorta went, “Oh…” and I hesitated because I thought straight away about ink poisoning for the poor little baby… it was a bit strange (laughs) it caught be off guard to be honest, I didn’t quite know what to make of it but she assured me it was okay so I… yeah, I signed a big pregnant belly!”

Often the subject of jokes and memes online, Noll said he was okay with the attention.
“There’s not too much malice with them most times,” he said.
“A lot of them are pretty funny. It’s the Aussie way to have a bit of a laugh at yourself, you know, Mum always used to say you shouldn’t laugh at anyone else unless you can laugh at yourself, and it’s fair game I think being in the public eye I suppose.
“Everyone seems to get into the comments and stuff on Facebook and that’s all pretty funny too, I don’t know how that formula’s been created but (laughs) they seem to be running with it. Most people I talk to seem to get on there every now and then when they need a little bit of a pick me up if they’re feeling a bit down, and they say laughter’s the best medicine so if people get a bit of a giggle out of it then I’m all for it.”

Remember that time he jokingly got hauled off stage by police as the final notes of What About Me rang out earlier this year? Any bloke that can take this piss out of himself this hard is a good bloke in our books. Onya, Nollsie.

Watch the clip for Southern Sky below:

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