Ian’s Life Story. “The Early Years”

July 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Ian's Blog

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I was born in the rural NSW city of Wagga Wagga on the 3rd of May 1978.  My mother worked as a nurse and my father worked as a carpenter.  In 1979 we moved to the small NSW coastal town of Port Macquarie.  The town that I grew up in and fell in love with.  Music has always been a big part of my life.  My Great Grandmother, my Grandmother and Mother all played the piano from a young age and my Father loved to sing.  I started learning piano at the age of 3.  Have you heard the expression music is the universal language?  Reading music, composing music, and playing music come as naturally to me as reading and writing.  I cannot remember the time when music wasn’t a part of my life.

Throughout my early school years I competed in many piano competitions and managed to collect quite a few trophies.  I have to admit that I didn’t practice very much and I could have achieved a lot more, but at the age of 10 playing with friends seemed much more appealing!

I was quite a shy kid.  Certainly more introverted than extroverted.  I should point out that during my childhood years I did not sing.  That’s not to say that I couldn’t sing, I just hadn’t been presented with an opportunity to discover my voice.  Looking back there were some signs that I was perhaps destined for more than sitting behind a piano.  I seemed to have a fascination for Elvis Presley.  My Father had quite a few old “LP’S” which I insisted he put on so that I could mime to and dance like Elvis (It seemed like a cool thing to do at the time!).  I would also arrange “concerts” for my parents featuring myself on the piano, my younger sister as singer and dancer, and our youngest brother on percussion.

At the age of about 12 my cousin and I decided to form a “Band”.  Basically what that meant was taking an existing song and writing our own lyrics!  I was in charge of the music and lyrics and my cousin did the singing.  This was a period of time when Michael Bolton was popular and the “Freddy Krueger” movies were all the rage.  So what does a 12 year old do?  Sings a song about “Freddy Krueger” to the melody of Michael Bolton’s “How can we be lovers” of course!  Over a period of a few months we managed to “write” enough songs to put on a concert for our siblings.  We even recorded an album which I also did some singing for!  I remember playing the album for my parents much to their amusement!  There was however a moment of realization and bemusement when they heard a resonant tenor voice coming from the cassette player.  As a 12 year old I felt a bit embarrassed and self conscious about singing but I was quite happy to sing for family Christmas parties.  At this stage in my life singing was a bit of a novelty as I was still considered a “Concert Pianist in the making”.

At the age of 16 I went though a period of change.  I had grown tired of the piano.  All of my friends were into surfing and sports.  I guess, like most 16 year olds, I had developed a bit of an attitude.  I needed a change so I decided I wanted to play the saxophone, so that I could perform with bands.  My parents were understanding and allowed me to stop my piano tuition.  It didn’t take me long to become proficient on the saxophone as my experience playing the piano meant that I could read music very well.  I enjoyed the change but I wasn’t passionate about the saxophone.

During 1994 my school music class went on an excursion to see “Phantom of The Opera” in Sydney.  This was my first ever experience of live theater and I was absolutely blown away.  I remember saying to myself “That is what I want to do!” I knew I could sing.  I had been harboring that secret for years.  It was time to prove it to other people.

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