WORDS BY
Jacqui James

 

SOMETIMES IT STILL surprises and excites me when I come across extremely talented young singer/songwriters, especially of the Australian variety.

Christopher Coleman is a Tasmanian who is the real deal when you picture someone like a young Bruce Springsteen whose lyrics are rich poetry, his songs have a strong Australian flavour which make you feel and think.

 

 

Since winning the 2013 Telstra Road To Discovery, Christopher with his band Christopher Coleman Collective, Christopher’s taken the exposure and run with it, recording a debut self-titled album which released last week.

What I admire the most about Chris is he has had no issues admitting he’s living with mental illness. In fact he wants to help to raise awareness to hopefully strip away the stigma and shame with dealing with mental illness, whether you are the one living with issues or if you know someone who’s living with mental illness.

If you’re a Melbournian and if you’re feeling like heading to a laid-back gig tonight, you can see Christopher Coleman Collective at Shebeen. For Christopher Coleman Collective’s other tour dates, see below.

It was a great pleasure to interview Christopher! What an intelligent, sophisticated and humble young man.

G’day Christopher! You’re a man after my own heart; you’re a poet! Your songs are like a book of poetry of your travels. How and when did you develop the crafts of poetry and songwriting?


Hey Jacqui, that is a kind and generous introduction! It began with the hormones arriving in my early teens, leading me to taking an interest in self-indulgent and juvenile word play.

How has winning the Road To Discovery 2013 award given you opportunities you never had before?

It was unexpected and uncomfortable; I do not believe you can “win” in art. In terms of the program though, I could not speak more highly of it. The opportunity has helped enormously around the release of this album and the upcoming tours through Australia, New Zealand and the US.

How’s it been recording your new album?

Organic. Lethargic. Cathartic.

{Readers can listen and buy Christopher Coleman Collective’s music here!}

I admire you for being very open with the fact you have anxiety and bipolar disorder! Can you describe the “positives” and “negatives” dealing with mental illness?

Both the positives and negatives come from exaggerated highs and lows. It is a pleasure to be running high with inspiration with all the zest possible. When it flips around, all of that is slammed to the ground and finding a way to continue seems impossible. I am now very fortunate with music an outlet, my medication assisting with stability and having some generous people around me for support.

Your definition of being successful is really quite humbling. How did you become so smart with the definition of being successful?

People in the west seem to be driven by “success”. Success for me means contentment and being present. I believe we all want this but it is difficult to remember it when the widespread view of success is indicated solely back your bank balance.

Your music reminds me of Paul Kelly and Ryan Adams. What type of artists do you like?

I like the humble artist, the one who gives rather than takes when presenting their work. In the writing process, I do believe it needs to be about self-expression but when shared, attempting to fill up your audience rather than taking away from them. Glen Hansard from The Frames, Aretha Franklin, Amanda Palmer and Paul Kelly do this so graciously.

Your Dad’s song Stages Of Life is so beautiful, emotional and honest! Did your Dad teach you a lot about songwriting?

Certainly, he is a major influence. But he did not teach me any differently to Dylan, Cohen or Lennon. You just sit, listen and let yourself be marinated within it; non-intellectually.

How was your recent UK tour?

It was good, enough time has passed for me to reflect upon it with nostalgia. We played thirty dates over six weeks north to south in a crew of eight. We played everything from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to folk clubs where the average age would be 75, to 12th century cathedrals and ratty DIY rural festivals.

You’re currently touring Australia until April 19. I bet you’re collecting a lot of new fans?

Fans is short for fanatics… I am lucky to not have them. Friends though, lots of these.

What’s in the future for Christopher Coleman Collective?

I would like to record and tour a new album yearly and clock out in my seventies.

Thanks so very much Christopher for your time! I’m a poet too so I was really impressed with your songs!

 

Christopher Coleman Collective’s Tour Dates:

Fri 21 March
Shebeen
36 Manchester Lane, Melbourne, VIC
Ph: 03 9650 693103 9650 6931

Thur 27 March
The Front Gallery
Shop 1, Wattle Place, Lyneham, ACT
Ph: 02 6249 845302 6249 8453

Fri 28 March
Royal Exchange
34 Bolton St, Newcastle, NSW
Ph: 02 4929 496902 4929 4969

Sat 29 March
The Newsagency
375 Enmore Rd, Marrickville, NSW
Thur 3 April
Grand Junction
88 Church St, Maitland, NSW
Ph: 02 4933 524202 4933 5242

Sat 5 April
No 5 Church Street
5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Ph: 02 6655 015502 6655 0155

Thur 10 April
Dowse Bar
Cnr Dowse St & Given Tce, Paddington, QLD
Ph: 07 3367 980007 3367 9800

Fri 11 April
The Singing Gallery
133 Main Rd, McLaren Vale, SA (With guest Marlon Williams)

Sat 12 April
A Music Warehouse Project
Adelaide, SA
Details TBC (With guest Marlon Williams)

Sat 19 April

The Pav

Yorktown Square, Launceston, TAS

Ph: 03 6331 911403 6331 9114

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