The old cliché ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ could apply perfectly to former ‘Australian Idol’ winner Wes Carr.
After his first song ‘You’ hit the #1 spot in 2008, and another gold single ‘Feels Like Woah’ followed, it seemed Wes was about to emulate other talent show performers. However, while Wes is appreciative of the start ‘Idol’ gave him, he points out that it wasn’t really the start at all.
“I’ve been playing since I was 12 or 13. The show was great because it got me into places where I couldn’t, but I had been in a whole bunch of independent bands and was performing 10 years prior to ‘Idol’. It’s hard to do anything that competes with that high level of exposure at such a quick rate. It’s funny, I go through stages where I feel like I did myself a disservice, but all that’s just bullshit, it’s just ego.”
With musical influences varying from country to folk and even space-age (more of that later), the direction Wes is heading in couldn’t be further from some of his fellow ‘Idol’ winners. “The funny thing is, I am completely the opposite person to what everyone thinks I am. Whereas if you look at Guy Sebastian or anyone else that won the TV show, they are exactly what they have been marketed as.”
The song that sealed the deal on the show was Michael Jackson’s ‘Black & White’ – received with enthusiasm by one of the judges, M.J’s own brother, Jermaine. Although Wes had found success on the pop charts, it wasn’t really what he was all about.
“When people think of Wes Carr, they think of ‘Australian Idol’, but that’s not really me. I’m into lots of obscure music and I wake up a different person every day. If I had stayed stuck in that pop world, it would have swallowed me up pretty quickly and my whole philosophy is to keep bettering myself and getting better at my craft and keep challenging myself to be the best person I can be.”
After an EP under the pseudonym Buffalo Tales which took Wes in a more country direction, Wes became a father leading him to embrace an unexpected influence in his musical direction. “At the moment my little man is very into ‘Star Wars’ and I like to imagine what the people behind that would be into. At the moment it’s influencing me a fair bit…”
Later in the year, Wes will be performing in a dramatic musical about the Vietnamese war called ‘Rolling Thunder Vietnam – Songs That Defined A Generation’. The show features classic rock songs written and produced by artists such as Joe Cocker, Santana, Creedence, Gladys Knight and many others. Wes’ wide musical appreciations will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. Directed by Chong Lim, the moving production will also feature Ben Mingay (‘Packed To The Rafters’, ‘Wonderland’), William Ewing (‘Neighbours’) and Tom Oliver (‘The Voice’).
Wes Carr performs Margarita Daze in Sydney, 30 March.(
(originally published 24/ Mar/ 16 http://scenestr.com.au/music/wes-carr-feels-like-woah)