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Sienna: The first time I saw you perform you blew me away. You turned a humble house concert into a stadium show and it was fantastic. So, you have fans nationally and internationally, and for those who may not know you, what is it that you do? Tell me about your career. 

Dell: I’m a storyteller. I actually started my career in acting. I’ve been in music for a long time, but I did acting professionally before music. I also do a fair amount of writing, as well, and I guess I look at what I do as telling stories. That’s what I’ve always been drawn to in all of those arts: telling stories. If I were to describe myself: energetic, explosive on stage. I’m a passionate frontman. Y’know, I do play instruments, but I’m best at being a bridge between the audience and the music. That’s what I like to think of as a frontman’s job.  

S: As the frontman of the INXS Tribute band, and then going back to your original music, what do you take with you? What are the main similarities and differences in your performance style? Has being a frontman influenced how you perform in your own band? 

D: Oh, it’s very similar. I bring a lot of myself to that tribute role. It’s not a true acting role in the sense that if I was playing Michael in a bio pic, I would play it differently. I’m very energetic with the INXS show, in ways that remind people of Michael. When I’m in performing my own band, I do whatever I feel, if that makes sense. My tribute bandmates have said I look and move like Michael, so that has given me a lot of confidence with the INXS show. But if you watch an INXS performance, he is much more focused in his movements. I’m more erratic in many ways, ha ha ha. Michael had a real crooner vocal approach at times.  I’ve had to develop the lower end of my voice to do the INXS show. This has opened up my own music, being able to utilise those skills I’ve built from the INXS show, if that makes sense. 

S: Before the Michael Hutchence role, you must have studied his moves.  Did you then just bring your high energy to the performance, and see what happened? Or did it take you hours and hours of long study? 

D: I’ve been asked to do INXS tributes since very early in my career. For whatever reason, no matter how I changed my hair and fashion, people always said I reminded them of Michael. When I first did the show, I was initially a fill in, because the singer pulled out of a show, like 3 weeks before. Six months later, they came back to me and said ‘Look, our singer has pulled out of the shows. Is there any way that you can do it?’ There wasn’t enough time to do an intense study, so I lent on the fact that people had said I kind of look and move like Michael. 

Through the last few years there have been times when I’ve put on a little live clip to gauge whether I’m heading in the right direction or not. It’s not just a case of me trying to get his moves down perfectly. It is more that I want people to feel the way they felt when they watched INXS. So, I’m not trying to be Michael. I’m trying to help people access the memories and connection they had to his music, and to feel similar things at our performances. 

S: That’s beautiful. I remember at a Queen concert, Adam Lambert said something like ‘I’m not Freddie Mercury. I’m here to honour and celebrate this amazing man and these incredible songs.’ It was very humble, and then he went and blew us all away by simply being himself.  I pick up something similar in you. 

A question about your original music. What is your band’s songwriting process? 

D: For me, its almost always a collaboration. So it kind of depends. Most of the time these days, it’s me and my producer. I write all the lyrics and melodies, but the musical parts are often handled by my producer or a fellow bandmate. On the last record I think about half the record was myself and the producer. 

S: So it really just depends whom the inspiration is coming through? 

D: Yeah, I really enjoy collaboration. It brings things out of me that wouldn’t come out if I’d just been doing it on my own. So collaboration has always been very important to me.

S: How do you balance your family time and your responsibilities with your career being a touring artist?  Most rockstars find this challenging, but you seem to be doing a great job of it and are still engaged with your community here.

D: Um ha ha, how do I balance it: well it’s like a seesaw. You know you’re trying not to fall off each side. Sometimes it feels like you’re just running from one side to the other and trying not to hit the ground. It is definitely a juggle and though I’m getting better at it, you can talk to any of my family or the people in my community and they’ll tell you times that I don’t get the balance right. I’ve long held the view being a performing artist and having a family aren’t mutually exclusive. Its not one or the other. I think in Australia especially, there is a perception if you want to be a performing artist then you can’t have a family. A lot of my friends overseas have families and are performing artists and seeing them balance both has given me a lot of confidence that it is possible to be able to do it. 

There are a lot of sacrifices made by the family and the performing artist. I want to be able to perform and have a family, so I make sacrifices on both sides. I just did a US tour last year and I’m not going to do another overseas tour this year because what I would lose from a family standpoint is too much for me. Could I tour? Yeah, I could, I have fans overseas. I could tour America again for 3-4 months next year, but what I would lose relationship-wise as opposed to what I would gain isn’t compatible if that makes sense. Then there are times where I miss out on family time for show. When gig offers come up, I think, what is it going to cost me? Not only financially, but what is it going to cost me in time y’know, or relationships if I were to take the gig.

S: When are your next upcoming performances? 

D: With my own music, I’m playing at The Villa Noosa on the 23rd of March, and with the INXS show at the J theatre in Noosa on the 6th of April. 

S: Besides from those live performances, how can fans best support you and your music?

D: Watching my video clips on youtube, sharing, like if a song resonates with you, share it on social media. I mean you think of Jimi Hendrix who hasn’t performed for 50 years, his music is still available and that’s because people are sharing it around, right? There’s a quote from John (Bon Jovi) where he says “The closest we will ever know to immortality is having a song live on after you do.” Unfortunately, not many people go to record stores in this this digital age. 

S: Its less physical. 

D: It is less physical, which means it’s a lot more disposable, unfortunately. So, if fans resonate with an artist’s music it is important to like, share, subscribe, all that kind of stuff you know. 

S: I suppose it could be slightly beneficial sharing digitally because it can spread faster.

D: Yeah exactly. I did a cover of Adele’s ‘Easy On Me’ recently and that, fans shared that around and that got picked up by a release radar Spotify playlist which then got me a bunch more fans on Spotify and all that kind of stuff. Again, that was a testament to fans just sharing stuff around. The worlds a big place and you never know who’s gonna be a fan of your music you know.  I’ve never seen music or art as a competition you know you’re not trying to pull from somebody else’s fanbase. Everybody resonates at a different level with different music and different art, so if you dig what I do get on board, share it, like it you know play it. Thank you!