Accomplished musician Michael Paynter entered into our living rooms and hearts on The Voice
. His determination and charisma radiated on our small screens and he quickly gained the respect of the viewers.
Prior to appearing on The Voice in Australia, Paynter was already well established and signed to Sony Music, a milestone many artists dream of. However, this incredible opportunity came with many drawbacks and Paynter eventually split from the label. “It was such a tough time for me. I had poured my entire life into my career for the better part of a decade, and ended up with no album. For a while there I felt like I was defeated, but once the initial feelings wore away, I felt this huge sense of relief… like I'd lifted a huge boulder off my shoulders, I felt free. Sometimes you have to know when to walk away… And just as the stars come crashing down around you, you find yourself for the first time in a long time, REALLY alive,”
Music News recently had a chat with the handsome Paynter to discuss the trials and tribulations as life as a musician in Australia. Music News - When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I can’t really say for sure as I have always loved to sing. I was in bands touring various countries from the age of 16, but I went into a law degree when I left school. I thought I needed a ‘plan B’. I guess when I was signed to a development deal at 18 and touring the country (playing guitar for Jesse McCartney), I knew law was going to need to take a back seat. Music News - Which artists have influenced you?
Far too many to mention!! I’m influenced by everything. Ella Fitzgerald and Bonnie Rait remind me how to sing. When I think I forget how, Elvis reminds me to feel what I’m singing at a gut level and how to look like a boss while doing it. John Farnham teaches me how to entertain while completely dominating your craft; John Mayer shows me how to write deceptively simple lyrics that move people, Sting….. well, as you could see we could be here for years. Music News - You just released your new single Weary Stars . What can you tell me about that?
I’m really proud of that song. I wrote it at a time when there was significant changes happening in my life, and it really sums up everything I’ve been through the past few years. Usually when you’re staring at an impending disaster, the moment before it hits you is the scariest – then when all is said and done, it wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be. That’s what the song is about – about never letting heartbreak or fear hold you back. Music News - How did The Voice change the direction of your career?
I wouldn’t say it changed the ‘direction’ of my career. I’ve been doing this for 10 years. I’ve been touring, recording, travelling, writing, collaborating and performing for a long time, and I’ll continue to do so until I no longer can. I guess what the voice did was open my journey up to thousands of people who might not have come along for the ride otherwise. I’m really grateful for the exposure this show gave me – I’ve finally got an album out now, one that has charted top 20, and I couldn’t be happier. Music News - I understand that when you parted ways with Sony, you felt somewhat defeated as after many years of hard work you ended up without an album. What can you tell me about that experience? What did you learn from that difficult period in your life?
I guess I learned from that what other people learn from death, heartbreak, loss or major change: that I was stronger than I thought and that sometimes change happens for a great reason and that life goes on. It was definitely a hard time, but it spawned so many great things (joining Icehouse and The Veronicas, me starting my songwriting/production company, being self reliant etc..) Music News - Considering that the music industry in Australia can be fickle. What advice would you give young musicians?
I always give this same answer: Find the hardest working person you know, and work twice as hard as them. It will take ten times as long, and cost ten times as much as you plan. Hard work ALWAYS beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. It isn’t romantic advice, but I can guarantee it’s the only advice that will work. Music News - If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose this career? Would you do anything differently?
Of course. I wouldn’t change what I do for a living for anything. I wouldn’t be where I am, or who I am without the experiences I’ve had, so I wouldn’t change a thing…. Maybe just a few haircuts ;) Music News - Can you tell us a "secret" about yourself that nobody knows… until now! (That you wish to share? ;-)
I am completely obsessed with My Kitchen Rules. I watch every episode on my phone at night when I get out of the studio. Sometimes I watch each episode twice….. It’s sad. Music News - Anything you would like to share, from upcoming shows to albums?
Get out and see me in Perth at the Astor on the 22nd, and in Adelaide at Jive on the 27th! TOUR DATES
Wed 19 March - Belmont Sailing Club, Belmont NSW with Icehouse
Tickets through www.16s.com.au
Thu 20 March - Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill NSW with Icehouse
Sat 22 March - The Astor, Perth
Thu 27 March - Jive, Adelaide
Tickets through www.moshtix.com.au