Shannon Noll

Shannon Noll


Shannon Noll official website



Shannon Noll may have burst onto the public stage via Australian Idol, but rather than trade on its short-lived glory he covered it in dust? the dust of more than 100 live shows spanning the breadth of the country. From Cairns to Hobart, Adelaide to Darwin, Perth to Albany. From large arenas of 12000 fans to tiny towns of 150 people, Shannon hit the road, connecting with his vast, sprawling audience the only way he knew how: straight from the heart. For Noll, the experience was about repaying the faith of the fans who made his debut album, 2004's That's What I'm Talking About a five times Platinum success that spawned three ARIA No. 1 Singles. Now, with his stunning new album, LIFT, Shannon ups the ante, successfully maturing from one of the country's most popular entertainers to a singer who can truly be regarded as an artist in his own right.

The year spent on the road supporting his debut album had a profound effect on the way LIFT took shape: it reiterated Shannon's commitment to making an album he could recreate live - "I think these days with how technical recording is, you could burp 'God Save The Queen' so that it sounds pretty well close to the mark, but that's not what I'm about? for me, touring separates the men from the boys" - and it allowed him to build his own relationship with his fanbase away from the television show that brought him the attention in the first place. But perhaps most critically, it taught Shannon to assume responsibility for his career and trust his instincts.

"It made me realise my neck's on the block with everything I do - from my shows to writing and recording for this album - so I've made it a real point to be across everything that I possibly can. I listen to the advice that's offered me? I'd be mad if I didn't, but then I go with what I think needs to be done. On this album, I've been in the studio for 13 hours straight on one song just making sure I've got it right and that I'm happy with it and that I can't do any better".

It's that spirit that makes LIFT in every sense Shannon Noll's creation. Whereas his debut featured just the one co-writing credit, this time around Shannon has co-written 11 of Lift's 13 tracks. What's astonishing here is not only the sheer quality of the song writing but the fact that Shannon's prior exposure to it was pretty much limited to "mucking around in the shed with my mates". But as with everything Shannon does, whenever he's given an opportunity he grabs it with both hands, to the extent that there's almost a sense of pre-destiny to his music career. "When I first started writing", says Shannon, "there was an expectation I'd do two or three co-writes so I could begin developing that side of myself. But when we began sifting through the songs that I'd written, they were stronger than a lot of the songs that we received from outside writers. I co-wrote about 25 songs for this album, and I'm stoked to have 11 make the finished album".

A turning point for Shannon was his first writing trip in Los Angeles, where he found himself sitting in the room of one of the world's most successful songwriters. "He said to me, 'This is your chance to tell the world what you're about'. And I remember panicking a bit and thinking, 'Who am I? And what do I want to say? But then when I came back from that trip and started listening to those songs again, I realised I had this strong undertone of self-belief in a lot of my songs, a sense of the need to stand up and be counted, to live life in the moment, to rise above its challenges and not dwell on the past".

It was also the moment Shannon transformed from a singer into an artist with his own, unique voice. "In the past I never felt comfortable being called that because I believe an artist is someone who creates something from nothing. I was an entertainer. But I'm comfortable with that label now because we've created 10-12 songs from nothing. Just sat in a room and come up with these songs. It's an amazing relief to be able to say that, and I guess it's reaffirmed the belief that I had in myself that this was all supposed to be".

LIFT resonates with the sensation of an artist shaping with his own words and music. It's no coincidence Shannon has shifted from the grunt and huskiness we are used to and infusing them with a direct and soulful rock grittiness, for these are songs that speak directly from the heart. Lacquered with a pop sheen, and dripping with radio friendly hooks, LIFT is a rock album with an emphasis on feel rather than tempo, where melodies burn to climax and Shannon's voice radiates every shade of emotion. An album of stunning depth, LIFT sways between uplifting rock anthems ("Lift"), runaway summer jams ("All I Want Is More"), brooding mid-tempo, guitar ballads ("Everything I Wanted", "Lonely", "This Is It") swaggering riff-rockers ("Letter To You", "Down On Me") and, of course, irrepressible, rock-pop gems (first single, "Shine"). It's an album where Shannon explores the range of a voice that continues to surprise. Amazingly, it gets better with every outing.

The emotional centrepiece of LIFT is "Now I Run", the song Shannon wrote for his late father, who was killed in a farming accident in 2001. It's clear to anyone who spends even a little time with Shannon that his father remains a central figure in his life, and "Now I Run" is a fitting, emotional tribute to the man who, sings Shannon, "Taught me to walk / Now I run". "It's something that I never wanted to do before because I didn't think I could do it well enough", reveals Shannon. "The last thing I wanted was to do a half-hearted, crappy song about Dad because it's such an important subject. But I'm proud of this song. I don't think I could come up with anything better. When I was recording it, it just busted me up".

LIFT is the unmistakeable sound of an artist challenging his perception of what he can be and what he can achieve. It's also a damn fine slice of contemporary rock and pop. Make no mistake, LIFT is set to establish beyond any doubt that Shannon Noll is a musical force to be reckoned with for a long time to come.


LIFT, the long awaited second album from Shannon Noll, is out now through Sony BMG




Shannon Noll official website

Sony BMG