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Try And Understand It

23 January 2013 | 6:45 am | Matt O'Neill

"Those kind of ‘Good work, keep trying, you’ll make it some day‘ kind of comments. Instead, every obstacle we’ve come to, we’ve overcome. It’s been absolutely unbelievable.”

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Brad Butcher is a surprising guy. He has a rich, polished, welcoming voice as a singer-songwriter. Thomas Busby (one half of acclaimed Queensland duo Busby Marou) described it as a gift that could only be seen live to be believed – claiming Butcher could “silence an entire room with the softest of melodies”. However, Butcher himself can't stand the sound of it.

“They had to console me in the studio. I was practically in tears. I thought it was the shittest sounding thing that had ever been recorded,” he laughs. “I still can't stand the sound of it, to be honest. I can take it from a distance but, even then, I just think that I've got a lot of work to do. When people praise my vocals, I don't know what to say. I just kind of wonder what they're actually listening to.”

In a way, it's to be expected. Butcher's still quite new to this business. The Queensland singer-songwriter has always dreamt of pursuing music but it was only after pursuing careers in cabinet-making and work in the Queensland mining industry that he eventually decided to try and follow those fantasies – a little over two years ago. He still sounds quite shell-shocked that anyone likes his music at all.

“It was basically two-and-a-half years ago now when I met Anthony Lycenko, my manager,” Butcher says of his beginnings. “For me, I never believed I was good enough to do it. I really wanted to do it but, to me, everyone just sounded so much better than me. Anthony actually took me aside and told me he thought I had some good songs and that we could really make something of them.

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“And then, all of a sudden, we were off. Twelve months had passed and we were recording an album and playing festivals,” he says with a laugh. “Honestly, what I expected to happen when we started out was just a lot of pats on the back, you know? Those kind of 'Good work, keep trying, you'll make it some day' kind of comments. Instead, every obstacle we've come to, we've overcome. It's been absolutely unbelievable.”

Over the past two years, Butcher has toured alongside Pete Murray, Busby Marou and Mark Seymour, performed at the Gympie Muster, Tamworth Country Music Festival and BIGSOUND and has been shortlisted for multiple awards for songwriting. He's currently touring in support of his self-titled debut album, which was released to critical acclaim late last year. Currently juggling touring with stints at the mines, it's clear he still doesn't understand it all.

“Yeah, the last few months have definitely become more of a juggle. Earlier it wasn't too much of a problem – I just did everything on my weeks off. Lately, I've had to kiss a lot of arse to be able to play as many shows as I've been asked. I've already had to take time off for Tamworth and it doesn't look like things are going to get any easier,” he says. “I'm trying to look at the big picture, though.

“I mean, that's always been the dream,” he clarifies. “I've never been big on the whole fame and fortune racket but I definitely want to try and make a career out of my music. I've always said I wanted to make a living off it. We're definitely aiming to get to the States this year. I'm heading over to do some songwriting sessions and then play a few showcases. We'll see how we go, though.”

Brad Butcher will be playing the following dates:

Monday 21 - Saturday 26 January - Tamworth Country Music Festival, Tamworth NSW
Sunday 27 January - The Dowse Bar, Brisbane QLD