As soon as I met Australia’s Got Talent winner Jack Vidgen, I immediately got the impression of an old soul in a young person’s body. Meeting at the Atrium Bar in the InterContinental Adelaide, Jack sat himself at the grand piano playing Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ like a seasoned professional. It was only when he unfolded a note written in pink crayon, given to him by two young fans the night before at an in store signing, that I remembered I was talking to a teenager, and someone very new to the fame machine.
‘It’s new and very exciting, but I’m loving every minute of it. This has been my dream for so long,’ he said.
The 14 year old from New South Wales has since become a household name, impressing audiences and Australia’s Got Talent judges Danni Minogue, Brian McFadden and Kyle Sandilands with a voice and vocal prowess far beyond his years. Since winning the nationwide talent search, Jack has released his debut album ‘Yes I Am’ (recorded in just three days) which peaked at #3 on the ARIA charts and was certified gold in its first week. Not bad for someone who has barely started high school.
Even Adele can credit Jack for some of her success in recent weeks; ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ peaking at #13 on iTunes after his performance of it on the show. The British soul singer was name checked amongst many, such as Beyoncé and Aretha Franklin, as touchstones for the sound on his album.
‘Everyone on my album has influenced me. Adele, I love Adele, and Pink. Michael Jackson, who’s also on my album with the Jackson 5’s ‘Who’s Loving You’. There’s a lot of female artists on there, I guess that’s the vocal range I’ve got, but I’m starting to make more and more of my own songs now too.’
One of his original songs, ‘Yes I Am’, co-written with vocal coach Erana Clarke and performed on Australia’s Got Talent features on his debut album. ‘I do want to have original songs from now on, whether they’re written for me, or I’ve written or co-written them. I want them to be my own. I’d love to go overseas on a songwriting trip and write with people like Dianne Warren or David Foster.
Despite his popularity throughout the competition, Jack admits he was never complacent about winning. ‘Any one of the top 10 could have won it. When I got to the top three, I was so happy. I was honestly thinking I would get out then. But then I got to the top two and I just couldn’t believe it, I was really expecting Consentino to win.’
He credits the Australia’s Got Talent judges with keeping him grounded (‘Danni was lovely’ he says) and is appreciative of former child star Nikki Webster for her advice on fame and stardom after his win, warning Jack of the pitfalls of childhood fame.
‘I don’t think it was unfair, I think that’s just her opinion. If that happened to her and it didn’t work out for her, it doesn’t mean it will happen to me. I’m really grateful for that advice though because it seems she cares in a way. I love getting advice, good or bad!’
One thing Jack perhaps wasn’t given too much advice on was how to deal with his (for lack of a better word) 'dedicated' fan-base, though it’s something he’s slowly getting used to.
‘There was one girl at Joondalup in Perth and she couldn’t even walk towards me… I wasn’t even sure what happened. She was crying her eyes out and couldn’t breathe and just fell to the ground.’
It’s somewhat flattering to have that affect on someone’ he laughs.
Jack Vidgen’s debut album ‘Yes I Am’ is available in stores and on iTunes now
Photography by Brent Leideritz http://www.24b.com.au/