Scott Darlow is a talented musician passionate about his Aboriginal heritage, he has managed to combine the two into a fulfilling career where he plays more than 200 shows every year. He performs in clubs, pubs, bars, high schools, Churches and prisons across the world to connect, inspire and educate people through his music to be understanding and enthusiastic about Aboriginal culture and reconciliation.
The new album, Darlow, is being released during NAIDOC Week and includes a cover of Solid Rock. In the lead up to the release we were able to question Scott about his career.
Hi Scott, welcome to Beauty and Lace. Thanks for talking with us.
You began your career as a music teacher, can you tell us about your decision to become a teacher and your motivation for that career path?
Teaching was something I thought would be fun. I have a passion for young people and I also saw it as a good way to be involved in music during the day.
It wasn’t long before you changed direction so can you tell us about what you do during the day now?
During the day now, I am still involved in education. I sing and speak in 100+ schools a year around Australia, using my music to connect and then talk about Aboriginal culture and reconciliation.
How different is this new role from the classroom setting you came from?
Well I only teach on one topic, and it’s to a bunch of new and different students every day. Also, standing in front of a group playing a guitar and singing is a much easier way to get their attention than holding a whiteboard marker!
Are you talking to the same age group you were teaching previously?
Yes. I did a primary secondary degree so I was teaching both lots at different times.
You are an Ambassador and spokesperson for World Vision’s Linking Hands program, can you tell us about the program and how you got involved?
World Vision have been in Aboriginal communities around Australia for 20 years but have spent the bulk of that time just developing trust and relationships. Now, they are finally talking about it and people are hearing about the amazing work they are doing in education and health. One of the biggest roadblocks to true reconciliation is the health and life expectancy stats, and the lack of Aboriginal people getting all the way through high school. So Linking Hands is just working diligently to combat those two issues, head on. I heard about the program through a friend and wanted to support it so contacted the team at WV and it went from there.
Can you tell us a little about how you came to record a cover of the Goanna classic Solid Rock with the songwriter?
I have sung Solid Rock for years and upon making this record thought it would be cool to do a new fresh version. I think if you’re going to cover someones song, you need to do it differently enough to make it worth doing, but still honour the original. So we came up with a version and then tracked it. After hearing it back I had the idea to do it as a duet and thought it would be amazing to have Shane Howard sing on it. SO I called him and asked him and amazingly he said yes!
The new album Darlow is being released July 12, during NAIDOC Week, what can you tell us about the album?
It’s a record that’s pretty rocking. Apart from Solid Rock, they are all songs I have written and was recorded in LA. I’ve done the vocals and mixed it in Melbourne with Adrian Hannan (who is a genius). There are some “Aboriginal” songs (lyric wise) but also love songs and songs about my own struggles as a guy in 2013 trying to be a good husband and dad.
What inspires your songwriting?
Love. Injustice. Beauty. Friendship
You play both large and small venues does the size of the venue change the set?
Absolutely. I think if it’s a smaller room, there is nothing better than playing my maton 12 string, my didgeridoo and getting personal musically. That said, in a bigger room, I love having a band and turning up loud and feeling the music course through every part of me.
What can audiences expect if they come to catch you at one of the upcoming shows to celebrate the album release?
Hopefully they walk away from a show feeling like they connected with me. That they feel like they want to sing my songs in the car all week and hopefully they walk away at least thinking about some of the indigenous issues our country faces today.
I believe Sorry was originally written and performed with David Wirrpanda of the West Coast Eagles, does he appear on the album track? Is there a recording of you performing it together?
David wrote the Aboriginal language part that features on the full album version of the song (as opposed to the radio edit). He is a cousin of mine and one of the most inspiring men you could hope to meet. He hasn’t sung on this version of the song, but has been a huge supporter of my music and my message for over 10 years now.
What’s next for Scott Darlow?
Touring this record, hoping and believing that I can play a role in helping to see real equality and justice for indigenous people in our country, and rocking out in the process!!!
Thanks for your time Scott.