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“Talent will take me so far, but character will take me all the way.”

It’s been quite a ride for Stan Walker. From the guileless, effervescent raw talent discovered a few years ago, we’ve watched him develop into a multi faceted artist at the height of his powers. The vibrancy is still there, along with that refreshing honesty and frankness, but what has been lurking below the surface until now is a steely determination and quiet strength.

“I know what I want now. I know where I want to be. I know what it looks like and sounds like.”

It takes confidence to press pause on a batch of new original material to grab hold of some of the greatest soul songs ever recorded. And a project like this was a bold move for Stan for a couple of reasons. One; covering songs of this stature will always leave you open to comparison and two; he was so damn busy!

“I recorded this album in two days … and I spent the first morning changing the whole musical direction, so it was a bit of a battle, and I was also on the verge of losing my voice. But that was fine because these are songs where it’s not just enough to deliver a good, polished performance … they all deserve extra depth.”

This tight timeline was due to Stan’s full dance card – he was also shooting a movie and carrying out duties as a judge on X Factor NZ. But making the call on something he felt he just had to do shows his evolution as an artist. This soul music project is a 360 degrees thing for Stan, going back to what he’s always done. It’s almost selfish he admits, having the chance to indulge in the music he’s always loved. The other benefit is that you can translate that special feeling from soul music and apply it to original material, so in some ways it acts as a signpost on the road forward.

“I know what I want from my music, and how to keep working until I get it.”

An album of soul covers on the surface may seem like a departure but it’s actually a clever call by Stan. His own songs needed some more breathing space, so here’s an opportunity to reset musically – to go back to basics and have some fun. It also adds an extra dimension to what Stan has delivered as an artist so far, and will help inform his music in the future.

The big thing though?

“You’ve got to come and see it live! The one thing I trust myself to do is deliver these songs in a live setting, they’re great to hear on an album but on stage is where they really come together.”

Stan Walker is an artist who knows what he’s doing. He’s set the direction and delivered – tackling some truly iconic songs, showing them due respect and at the same time making them his own.

All we have to do now is … Stand by for more.

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