Enjoying some of his spare time in between performances, former Gawler lad turned singing sensation Wes Carr is thrilled to be performing with Pete Evans’ ‘The Paleo Way’ Tour and is starring in ‘Rolling Thunder Vietnam’ in August and September.
Unveiling his new track ‘Anthem’ which is about rebirth, being in the moment, and celebrating ourselves more, Wes has certainly gone for a change himself in that he has his head shaved in the music video in acknowledgement of his new-found freedom. Talk about commitment!
Winner of Australian Idol 2008, Carr has been enjoying success on his own terms, whilst remaining affable and down to earth.
Carr performed alongside industry greats such as Missy Higgins, Tex Perkins, and Paul Kelly to name a few before winning Australian Idol which changed his life as he knew it. Self-admittedly, there were aspects of the music industry that perturbed Carr during his peak but he seems to have reconciled this within himself and is quite philosophical about his current proclivity.“You go up fairly quickly and come down just as quick, but you just need to make sure that you have your own feet on the ground and know where you’re going next, making sure that you protect yourself.”
Things have changed in other ways for Carr too, he’s been married to actress Charlotte Gregg for over two years and has a young son, Willow, whom he adores. “It puts everything into perspective when you have a child, it makes you realize what’s important. I’m living for much more now-he’s made me realize what life’s about.”
We also discuss our mutual former hometown of Gawler, South Australia, and of times when things were much simpler before becoming popular. He remains quite nostalgic about this period of his life and has a sense of gratitude about where he is these days. He certainly comes across as a contented, changed man who isn’t interested in the trappings of the industry, the fame and sometimes falsity that comes with it. He’s made the decision to do things on his own terms and in short, he’s trying to remain true to himself and his career goals. On that, he says “ I feel like I’ve only just begun again, I feel like every time I release something it’s a brand new period- I’m self managed & independent these days so I’m the Manager, the record label, the publicist and do it all on my own.”
In the video new track ‘Anthem’, Wes has his trademark long hair shaved off and folks, this is the real deal- no trick photography or gimmicks, the hair is officially gone! It is a bright and invigorating track that certainly emanates a sense of triumph as Carr intended. “ We did it all in one take, and in doing so it shows the sentiment of what ‘Anthem’ is all about- being in the moment, shedding your skin and, being free from all the noise around you. It’s a simple, catchy tune I wanted people to use as an anthem for their own lives- to free themselves from limitations, their self imposed prisons. Of the upbeat and bright nature of ‘Anthem’, Carr explains that “Sometimes we’re surrounded by too much negativity and fear, and it’s good to hear something positive. It’s also my first real crack to write something positive without sounding too ‘cheesy’ and fabricated. I’m quite proud of it.”
Watching the video, it is obvious that Carr is living the transformational experience and his reactions are both real and unscripted. He’s taken the lead and set the example for others to follow quite literally. You can see his individual sense of liberation once his hair is gone, and his new emergence taking place before our very eyes. “ I hadn’t even looked at myself until after the take, so it was definitely throwing myself in the deep end to see how I responded”. Take a look at ‘Anthem’ here.
The timing for his new look couldn’t come at a more appropriate time, as he’s been cast as Andy in the concert drama ‘Rolling Thunder Vietnam’, a musical tribute to the songs and vibe of the Vietnam War that combines personal stories of young Vietnam War soldiers with the powerful and poetic songs of the era. Carr has developed a deep understanding of the heavy burden and the toll of war, as experienced after one of the performances recently where the impact of ‘Rolling Thunder Vietnam’ really hit home. For Carr, the most important thing is not in terms of adulation for the show and how good it is, but in the recognition for the Soldiers and giving them a voice.
“It’s been incredible, we’ve been getting standing ovations for the show which is one thing, but importantly we’re getting Diggers and Vets coming up to us after show, crying in our arms saying how much the show meant to them. I had one mountain of a man who came up to me at a food court, covered in tattoos, with tears streaming down his face and I thought uh oh, what’s going on here? He just grabbed me, gave me the biggest hug, thanked me repeatedly and said ‘that was the best thing he’d seen’. I realized that this is such a powerful thing we’re involved in, it’s not just music, it’s something very different. It’s the stories of Australian Soldiers who went to war without any idea why, and a lot of men’s lives were destroyed. Every night it’s becoming more apparent to me how much of a healing process this is, it’s not just a show, it’s helping people to grieve”.
Carr agrees that it’s easy to take things for granted, and shows a genuinely deep respect for the servicemen and women he is paying tribute to in ‘Rolling Thunder Vietnam and the sacrifices they made for the rest of us. “ It’s something most of us wouldn’t understand, so it’s an honour and privilege to be involved in this show.”
Rolling Thunder Vietnam winds up in Adelaide on 20th September and is a sell-out all over the country! Make sure you don’t miss this important tribute to those who served under the mantra of- “All gave some, some gave all!”
ADELAIDE – Thebarton Theatre: Friday 19 September – 8pm Saturday 20 September – 8pm Click here to book or call 08 8225 8888
Interviewed by Darren Hassan