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Dan Sultan

On stage he can whip a crowd into a boogeying frenzy, in the magazines he is a bad-ass pin-up boy who is “the new Elvis.” But what is Dan Sultan really like?
Not surprisingly, pretty down to earth. When asked about all the hype that is beginning to engulf his name, Sultan is upfront. “It is a compliment, but you don’t want to take yourself too seriously…Anyway, people are going to make up their own minds, you know? They are going to want to lift you up one day and want to crucify you the next day. You don’t get too involved.”

If you’ve seen Sultan perform, you could be forgiven for expecting a young man with cartoon like levels of endless energy. Even performing in Perth on a 30 degree night, he was unstoppable. At home in Melbourne, he is a little flat. Understandable, when you consider what a busy little bee he has been of late.

Touring the country and starring in the Australian film Bran Nue Day, it has been a raft of fresh experiences. Performing in Bran Nue Day was “yeah, hugely different. Me and Jess (Mauboy), we spoke about that [sic]. We both had to play singers in the film, and I think that made it a lot easier to do. Rather than to come on and play a general…or a judge.” And what would have made that hard? “Well, it’s something that I’m never going to be!”

On the music front, Sultan’s second album Get Out While You Can is flying high, being feature on Triple J and scoring lots of radio play. Getting over that dreaded second-album-hump is one thing, but Sultan has pretty fundamental ideas about maintaining longevity in the fickle music biz. “Taking care of yourself is important, even if I don’t necessarily do that all the time. And keeping your feet on the ground; just remembering who your mates are and who your family are. But a lot of [other] stuff is out of my control.”

Not that Sultan and his band of merry men – including producer, song writer and guitarist Scott Wilson – are going to disappear any time soon. However, even with an ever-growing fan base, Sultan remains un-phased by his own popularity. “I personally really love a crowd. But, you know, we’ll play to an empty room if we have to. If there’s no crowd there, there’s no crowd there and we just have to get on with it.” No crowd? Yeah, right!

So, while a break back home in Melbourne might be nice, Sultan will be on the road around the country again soon enough – playing the West Coast Blues ‘n’ Roots in Fremantle, WA at the end of March and the Bryon Bay Bluesfest in early April. These shows, and all the little gigs in-between, are sure to be rippers – but which has been the most memorable for Dan the Man himself? “The Nimbin Hotel – yeah, that was very, very interesting. I think interesting is the word for it.”

Want to know what he’s on about? Unfortunately, he wouldn’t elaborate any more than “just the good people of Nimbin.” For those of us who weren’t there; it sounds like we sure did miss out.

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