On Fighting Against Mainstream Pop Conventions

26 November 2015 | 2:16 pm | Chris Havercroft

"I feel that I have missed the boat on that whole deal."

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This trip will be the first time that Ron Sexsmith has been on Australian shores in six years.     

Since he was last in the country, Sexsmith has notched up a couple of top ten hits in the UK, had his tunes covered by the likes of Leslie Feist and has won a spate of awards.

 “The main reason is that I didn’t want to go down there any more without my band and I couldn’t really afford to bring them,” explains Sexsmith in terms of his six year absence. “I wanted to be able to put on the same show in Australia as a put on everywhere else. So, I was just being patient and hoping that it would come around again when I could bring my guys because it is just more fun for me and more of a show. I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever get the opportunity again, so I am pretty happy it's come around.”

Sexsmith is aware of the ups and downs in the industry with his career having been a roller coaster in itself. He is doing very well in the UK at the moment, but recalls a ten year period where he would regularly tour, but there didn’t appear to be a lot of interest. Although few people sell records in the numbers that they used to, Sexsmith is an artist who has always flown a bit under the radar.

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“It hurts everyone, but you hear that the big pop stars are selling a lot relatively speaking,” he says of the downturn in the music industry. “It is like a parallel universe. I have always - even when I came out in the '90s - seemed to be out of step with what the radio was playing. At that time when everyone was selling records and making money, I never did. I feel that I have missed the boat on that whole deal, but there are other ways in this business to make a living.”

Sexsmith isn’t one to play the radio game. Sexsmith finds himself at the local pool where they play the hit music station. Often he has to stop swimming just to confirm that he is actually hearing what is coming out of the radio.

“I am a 51 year old guy, so the music that comes out these days is not really aimed at me and it doesn’t speak to me. It is either too repetitious or the lyrics are too stream of consciousness and I don’t know what they are going on about so it tends to leave me cold, but again it is not written for me, it is music for this generation. I am a bit of a purist and it's like I am trying to make these antique tables and chairs. A lot of the music these days is for clubs and for dancing and I don’t know how to do that.”