Shane Nicholson’s musical connection with Gippsland

KATRINA BRANDON

Katrina Brandon

Earlier this year, award-winning country music singer-songwriter Shane Nicholson performed at LIVE in the Glen. Shane has also produced many records over the years, including a collaboration with Maffra-born Michael Waugh.

Exploring the different venues, Shane came to Glengarry to perform his ’25 Years in Songs’ show after the release of his 2021 album Living in Colour.

Living in Colour, made during lockdown, was named 2022 CMAA Album Of The Year, as well as Alternative Country Album Of The Year. Shane also received both Single Of The Year and APRA Song Of The Year awards.

“I never really worked on it intentionally,” Shane said.

“I was busier than ever (during COVID) as a producer because there were songwriters stuck at home writing songs. I was making it in fits and stages between other projects. Probably took me almost a year to finish it.”

Shane has always been a singer-songwriter and has never really wanted or thought about doing something different.

“I used to write a lot when I was younger, especially when I was on tour. Travelling was always a great inspiration, as well as people,” he said.

Shane never thought of music as a dream but also had no alternatives there. He told the Gippsland Times that if it wasn’t music, it would be something creative, as that feels like an achievement in itself to create something out of thin air.

“With previous records I would travel to the centre of Australia or a cabin in the bush or house on the river only accessible by boat. I have just gone places like that to be isolated and focused,” he said.

Shane added that performing on stage and creating music is part of two separate experiences, even though most people think of them going hand-in-hand. He has learnt not to stress that it always eventually comes to him.

“You are creating something that hasn’t happened before on stage. You are creating a moment. Those moments don’t exist because every time you perform with an audience it is a once-off event. Could be the exact same songs that you played the night before but every show feels different because it’s a different group of people, different rooms in a different place and you’re in a different mindset.”

Going on stage, Shane mentioned that he searches for those moments and finds the individuality in the show that makes it special. He also said the songs reminds him of the stories within the song which helps remind him of who he was.

“Behind my eyes, I can see the entire story on what that song was about, but also who I was, where I was, what drove me to write that and I can see all of that which is an extra movie that no one else sees. That runs in my mind as I play every song,” he said.

“I like this tour because I’m not promoting one specific record, I can kind of dig into that catalogue of songs that I haven’t really played that very much but they are included because they are a big part of the story or they might have a story attached – that is a big part of my story.”

During a tour, Shane is always willing to go to different venues to play so that he can relive his songs.

“I have never played in Glengarry before, after all this time it is very rare that I go somewhere and play a show where I haven’t played before so it’s always exciting I guess to have a new place to play,” he said.

Having had years in the industry, Shane said it was important to be conscious of your space.

“The best advice that I wish I was given was to try and always enjoy music. Be wary of the point where the weight of what you are doing takes over the enjoyment of what you are doing especially if you are trying to make it into a career,” he said.

“The best reward you will ever get from music is that in itself. If you lose that along the way, you are losing the biggest payoff there is with music. It is easy to lose it because it is a pretty hectic lifestyle and it’s hard work. It is really fun, you are doing it because it is something that you love.

“Always be conscious of the place where you are enjoying it and if you ever get to the place where you aren’t enjoying it, change something so you are enjoying it again.”

Living in Colour is available on most streaming platforms.