With a father who worked as a lawyer for Aboriginal Legal Services, it’s not surprising how impassioned Indigenous singer-songwriter Dan Sultan is over the upcoming series of Rock for Recognition concerts. The handful of shows across the country aim to raise awareness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, who are currently not recognized in the Australian constitution, and cap off a busy year for Sultan, who will be in South Australia this November for the Gorgeous Festival.
“I don’t like beating people over the head with that kind of political stuff” says Sultan.
“It’s not a left-wing or right-wing issue. It doesn’t matter who you vote for or not – it’s a social issue about basic human rights, and let’s be fair, it’s pretty basic stuff.”
Though not a quite household name, Dan Sultan has built a steady following of fans in Australia with his ‘country soul rock ‘n’ roll’. Coined the Indigenous Elvis (“Not sure why I’ve been called that so much, gold star for whoever came up with that name!”), Sultan has beaten the likes of John Butler and Guy Sebastian to take home ARIAs for Best Male Artist and Best Blues and Roots Album.
“I try not to be too contrived about it [laughs]. I’m certainly not a mainstream artist, but if the roads I’ve gone down musically did lead to something more mainstream and commercial, I’m not sure I’d necessarily fight against it. I just feel fortunate that I can make music and play it for a living,” Sultan says.
Headlining the McLaren Vale Gorgeous Festival on November 24, Sultan is as much looking forward to performing as he is checking out the other amazing artists on offer, including close friend Missy Higgins, who starred alongside him in film Bran Nue Dae.
“[In this industry] there’s a lot of bulls*** out there, but if you’re in a positive scene with great people around you, it’s important to recognize that.”
For more information on the Gorgeous Festival, visit www.gorgeousfestival.com.au