5 Minutes With Damien Leith

You recently achieved the perfect score on Dancing With The Stars – how did it make you feel?

Mel and I have been working incredibly hard but it’s not like you train ever expecting 10s! Each week the challenge keeps coming – just when you master one type of dance another style can make you feel like you’re starting all over again. The show has been such a great experience and I even have my kids getting up and dancing at home!

What sound did you want to achieve when recording the ‘Roy’ album?

I was actually adamant about not sounding like Roy Orbison, about not just trying to imitate him. I’ve been a fan since my dad introduced me as a child to Roy’s music. I mean certainly, with things like Only The Lonely I couldn’t go far from the original, but this was always intended to be a Damien Leith album, one that draws upon a unique body of song.

What Roy songs were you playing live before recording the album?

In Dreams may be my earliest memory of Roy. A couple of years ago I started playing In Dreams and Crying live, and they went over incredibly well.

Are Roy Orbison’s songs easy for you to play?

These are complicated songs, believe me. Even the seemingly simple ones were much more complex than I imagined. I mean, he would go to minor chords that other singers wouldn’t. And to get them just right I had to really, really work on them.

How familiar are you with inland Australia and what have your experiences of it been like?

Unfortunately I have only limited experiences of inland Australia but this year I intend on changing that so on the ‘Roy’ tour I’m looking forward to playing all sorts of venues in both capital cities and regional towns. That said, my wife Eileen and I love trying to get away either on the north or south coast for a weekend away. It’s been a while lately but we’re definitely planning a kid friendly break soon!

How has this year been different for you on the homefront?

We welcomed our new baby daughter Kikki Bo in March. She has two proud big brothers and a great set of lungs! It’s nice to have a daddy’s little girl.

What was the first album you bought?

Bad by Michael Jackson.

Is it surprising to have sold more than 600,000 albums?

I still have to pinch myself sometimes, it’s incredible but it doesn’t come without a lot of hard work.

Who are your influences?

The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

How do you juggle being a top selling musician and also a published fiction writer?

Lots and lots of sleepless nights ha. It’s a lot of juggling but I love them both equally and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to do what I love.

What was the best album in your parents’ collection?

White Album by The Beatles.

What is the biggest surprise in your record collection?

Abba Gold.

Damien Leith’s tour Roy: A Tribute To Roy Orbison, kicks off on Friday 8 July at The Palms at Crown in Melbourne, before travelling to Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Gold Coast, Canberra, Hobart, Launceston, and back to Melbourne, with regional dates in NSW and Victoria throughout September and November.

For the full list of dates visit Damien’s official web site.