Xavier Rudd – it’s a name that instills joy in the hearts and souls of many acoustic music-lovers. His beloved single ‘Follow the Sun’ continues to melt hearts around the world, just recently making number one in the charts in Holland, after its release in 2012. The quintessentially Australian tune has led Xavier to travel the world for his craft, inspiring audiences with tales of Aussie summers, travel and all that is beautiful in the world.
This weekend, he plays Adelaide’s iconic Thebarton Theatre, part of his national tour to celebrate his recently released album Storm Boy. His ninth studio album, the album stays true to Xavier’s iconic dreamy folk tunes, telling new tales of life and the road.
We have a yarn with Xavier ahead of his visit. He shares tales about life, the universe and everything in between (including his love of Adelaide).
When did you start playing music?
I have always been playing…I taught myself. I was always wired that way. I guess I’ve been writing songs ever since I could remember, even when I didn’t realise what I was doing. I was writing songs about what was happening around me, which is essentially what I’m doing now.
When did it become a career for you?
I didn’t really think of it as a career, I just knew I would play music. I wasn’t just playing it, I was writing it. I was pretty shy about it from the beginning – I didn’t show anyone what I was doing. Then I ended up doing it. I remember seeing Paul Simon when I was about 10 years old which was pretty special. I remember looking at that concert and thinking ‘I’ll do that’.
What does it feel like to be living your dream?
It feels amazing. I’ve feel like I’ve never taken it for granted. I feel very blessed to be doing it. It’s still as exciting for me now as it was 20 years ago to play in front of people. I really appreciate people. It never gets old that my music is special to people…when someone connects with my music, that’s a huge compliment to me.
When was ‘that moment’ when you started growing momentum?
It came about pretty organically. It came from the people, really…people got behind what I was doing. Triple J started playing me early on with my first album, which was pretty good radio coverage, but at the same time I started to get a following pretty quickly in Canada and parts of North America because I was tripping around playing. It’s been ‘rootsy’ growth, with a solid fanbase right around the world now. There was no real point where I had a hit single or anything.
Tell us about ‘Follow the Sun’…
‘Follow the Sun’ was probably my most successful song on radio, but it was still a low budget, roots production. It went #1 in Holland last year or the year before, about five years after I made the song. I made it one afternoon after I came in from a big surf before I picked my kid up from school – just recorded it in two takes of the song with my harmonica, drum and vocals. That was the actual version that went to #1 and it probably cost me $500 to make. It’s a really organic song, but it’s got an energy about it.
It’s a very Australian song…I wrote it when I got home after a big trip. I was sitting on the side of a pond in Bellingen (NSW). I as watching these trout when I was writing it. It was 11.11.11 and it was a pretty surreal, powerful time.
Has your music changed over time?
I just sort of do what comes. It changes because it’s like chapters of my journey. My music is like a diary – it documents time and things change…you play with different musicians and you record in different spaces but the way I play is the way I play. I have my own quirky style of playing and that’s what I do.
What are you most looking forward to with the upcoming tour?
I feel really blessed to be doing what I’m doing. I love playing the shows. I don’t project much forward, the magic happens on the day for me. I just take it as it comes. What comes is always really pretty. We are so blessed – we have great people who come to our shows around the world… people who want to see change for a better world. It’s always a celebration of love and multiculturalism.
What do you think of Adelaide?
I love Adelaide. I have some fond memories from Adelaide. One of my first shows was in the figs trees at Womadelaide many years ago – the first time I played in Adelaide. I remember seeing the Koori flag flying high in the city and that made me really proud…there’s no other city that does that. It’s a cool place.
You travel a lot, where do you love travelling these days?
In terms of playing, I love going to Europe – we always have a great time playing over there. I love all the different cultures over there. I love Canada, Quebec, Colorado, South Africa – we get to go to some pretty magical places. I have done some really remote shows too, like on the cliffs of Uluwatu, but playing back home is pretty special for me, too.
Tickets to Xavier’s Thebarton Theatre show are still available via Ticket Master.
Who’s your favourite artist touring South Australia? Let us know in the comments below.