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Jack Vidgen

JACK VIDGEN

BASED: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

It was just a few months ago when fourteen year-old Jack Vidgen took to the Australia's Got Talent stage to perform an audition that went on catapult the young singer into the glare of the spotlight. His mind-blowing rendition of Whitney Houston's classic "I Have Nothing" brought the house down and overnight, a star was born. Youtube footage spread like wildfire across the globe, with Jack's audition footage garnering in excess of 4 million views worldwide and immediately resulting in international interest in the young singer. Following up that initial performance with equally outstanding performances in the finals of the show, it was no surprise that this incredibly talented singer - who also boasts an endearing combination of sincerity and purity - went on to win the 2011 series of the talent series. Shortly after that Jack was signed to Sony Music Australia and is now already set to unleash his debut album "Yes I Am", which further highlights his astonishingly advanced vocal ability. Jack Vidgen has well and truly arrived.

Growing up in North Sydney, Jack began singing at the age of just 3 years old. Encouraged by his family over the ensuing years, Jack continued with his love of music and went on to take singing classes and perform in musical theatre shows and Eisteddfods, before making his way to the auditions of Australia's Got Talent. "I started watching the show from the first series and back then I really wanted to go on the show, but I didn't know what for - I wasn't confident enough for singing; I actually wanted to go on the show for baton-twirling! Luckily my mum was always encouraging right from the beginning, but she suggested that it might be better that I wait until I get a little older to decide properly!

"I actually ended up auditioning in front of the Australia's Got Talent producers the year before, but I didn't get in because they didn't think I was ready then, which I completely understand because I didn't think I was ready either. By the time I auditioned for the show for the second time I'd really built up my confidence because I'd gone away and worked on my performing gigs at RSL clubs and places like that."

After his first knockout performance audition on the show it was apparent to the whole of Australia that Jack was well on his way to the finals, providing he could remain focussed in amongst the frenzy surrounding him. "Yeah there was a bit of pressure for the semi-final of the show because of the reaction to my first audition. I knew that the next song I was going to do if I got through was going to be even bigger, and so I was just really focussed on nailing that once I'd got through the first round. I was quite confident with the song, but there was still a lot of pressure on me. In the newspapers and magazines there were all these stories about me being the favourite to win, and so I had to just get on with performing my best with that kind of expectation surrounding me."

Whilst it was his first audition on the show that initially brought him to Australia's attention, Jack says his favourite performance of the whole season was when he was able to perform his own composition on stage. "The performance that I enjoyed the most was definitely the performance of my own song "Yes I Am" because it was a song I co-wrote, and so it was really special to me. To be able to sing that song in such an amazing place was incredible."

By popular demand, the song "Yes I Am" is now the lead single, and title track, from Jack Vidgen's debut album. It's a song that embodies a self-belief and positivity that is in line with Jack's surprisingly mature philosophy of life. "There are different parts of that song which mean different things to me. The start of the song relates to my life and what was happening to me with my dream starting to come true. In the bridge of the song the lyrics talk about my mum and about how when I was young she use to sing Minnie Ripperton's "Loving You" to me. It's also a song about hope which people should be able to relate to through their own situations in life. We really tried to write an inspirational song."

Jack says that focussing on positive messages and writing inspirational songs will be a key factor in developing music career. "I just want my songs to connect with audiences around the world. I love how an artist like Michael Jackson was able to mean so much to his fans, and that they really felt they knew him through his music. I'd like my music to affect people in a similar way."

"Yes I Am" - the album - is an exceptional collection of new recordings which includes Jack's interpretations of songs made famous by the likes of Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson and Adele - as previously performed on television - alongside songs recorded by the likes of Mariah Carey ("Hero"), Celine Dion ("Because You Loved Me") and Aretha Franklin ("Think"). The album also features two original songs - the title track "Yes I Am", and the more uptempo "Fly", both co-written by Jack, his vocal coach Erana Clark, and producer Christian Lauofo.

"The songs on the album are songs that I've grown up loving and grown up singing - in that sense it's a real journey as an album. I've performed these songs in talent shows and Eisteddfods so to be able to record them in a studio now is amazing. It gives people an idea of the songs that inspired my singing, and it also shows where I'm going by including a couple of new original songs."

Even though he's been vocally inspired by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Beyonce, many observers have been quick to crown the young singer as Australian's version of Justin Bieber... although this may have more to do with his age and his hairstyle!

"The way we sing is quite different - he's really pop/R&B, whereas I'm aiming at more of a soul sound," Jack says, reflecting on the comparison. "I actually quite like Justin Bieber's songs and have a lot of them in my iPod. I really want to bring in a younger sound and go down a pop route like him too, but I want my genre to be more of a blend of soul, pop and gospel."

It's been a lighting-flash ride to instant recognition for Jack Vidgen, but the mature and grounded youngster has also managed to find time to reflect on his recent achievements. "It's been crazy, but it's been incredible. It's been an amazing few months. It's hard to take it all in but sometimes you just have to sit down and think about what's happened before you go on to do other things. Luckily I've had a few days off since recording the album and I've been able to hang out with my mum and talk about what's happened, and that's been so much fun."

As for the future... well it seems that Jack Vidgen isn't going to let anything to stand in the way of his musical dreams. "I really want this to be a really big and great starting point. I'd love the album to be really successful in Australia, and maybe even make it to the top of the charts - that would be really cool! At the same time, whatever happens, happens. I've already been able to achieve so much, so anything above that would just be incredible. The truth is though, I have massive dreams and I'd love to be able to reach them all in the future."


FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF AUSTRALIAN RECORDING ARTISTS - click here


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