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Interview: Michael Paynter

5 min read

Michael Paynter is best known for being a contestant on last years season of The Voice Australia, but this pop singer has been in the music industry for almost a decade now. He has had numerous singles released, including one that went platinum, but somehow never seemed to be able to break through the invisible barrier of the industry. However, that is all set to change with the release of his new album Weary Stars.

Michael took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to about this new album, the difficulties that he’s faced so far in his music career and what it was like to be a part of The Voice Australia. Here’s what Michael had to say…

Melissa Redman: Hi Michael! How are you and where does this interview find you?

Michael Paynter: I’m good thanks. I’m currently sitting in my studio with a pan fried, cinnamon crusted chicken breast I just cooked, writing these answers. Livin’ the dream.

MR: Tell us a bit about your new album Weary Stars. What can we expect from it?

MP: I think people can expect great pop songs. Songs that aren’t tied up with what is ‘cool’ in the moment.. Which may be why it won’t be played on radio… But I wanted it to be a reflection of the past few years of my touring and performing life – I think it achieves that and more.

MR: Weary Stars was independently released, funded and produced by yourself. What was the process in making the album?

MP: Yeah it’s taken a LONG time. We started recording this thing almost three years ago. We finished the final mixes about 18 months ago, so we’ve been sitting on it a while just waiting for the chance to release it. We recorded it and mixed it my home studio where I work producing and writing songs for others, so it’s a real labour of love for me.

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MR: Do you feel that having done everything yourself makes the album different to other things you’ve released?

MP: Not really, I’ve had my hands in everything I’ve ever done – probably to my own detriment at times – but it’s how I roll. I love to be a part of every process: from the chords to EQ’ing the vocal delay.. It’s all fun.

MR: You were signed to Sony at a young age, released many singles including Love The Fall which went platinum, but parted ways after 7 years without ever releasing an album through them. Do you think there was a particular reason you never got to release an album?

MP: I think it was a matter of the industry changing rapidly beneath our feet. I was signed in a time where labels signed you, invested into your development and let things happen naturally, at a time where the industry was favouring overnight, short term success… It was a disaster waiting to happen.

MR: You’re currently on tour with Icehouse. Is performing live your favourite part of being an artist?

MP: No. I love being in the studio working with other artists. I love using what I’ve learned to help the, and teach them and bring out their best. I do love performing, but I feel like life is moving me behind the scenes more and more.

MR: How would you describe your style of music?

MP: Pop. Unashamedly.

MR: Did being a part of The Voice Australia change things for you and your music career?

MP: Yes and no. Some difficulties dissipated after the show, but the show also created many new ones. It was definitely a great part of my story.

MR: What was it like being a part of the show?

MP: Very intense. Long days (like sometimes 16-17 hours before you’d sing a note) and lots of pressure. It was a great learning curve.

MR: Are you still in touch with your mentor Joel?

MP: No.

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MR: You’ve supported many big name artists in tours around Australia including The Script, The Fray, Miley Cyrus, Seal and The Veronicas. Did one of those acts stand out as being your favourite to tour with?

MP: Probably Miley Cyrus. Just due to the sheer enormity of it. 20,000 ppl every night. It was massive. It definitely expanded my horizons.

MR: Your song Are You Alive was used to promote the last episode of television show Lost, and Superhero was used in the show Heroes. When your songs are used for something like this, do you kind of go, yep I’ve made it now?

MP: Ha. Not really. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like that. But it’s a really great feeling to see vision to your music.

MR: Not only are you busy writing and recording your own songs, but you’re also the musical director for The Veronicas and have your own songwriting and production company, MSquared Productions. Can you tell me a little bit about these jobs and how you find the time to manage everything!

MP: It’s definitely a challenge. I love it though. I have an amazing production partner in Michael DeLorenzis and we work together on everything to get things done. I love the feeling of creating something beautiful for someone that expresses what they feel deep inside – I remember travelling the world working with people who did that for me so it’s nice to pay it forward.

MR: What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you whilst performing?

MP: I had Shannon Noll chase me around the stage on a tour we did together ripping off my pants as I tried to sing (yes, you read correctly) in Hobart. Only in Hobart.

MR: Many fans are dying to know whether you are single or not!

MP: I am recently engaged. She said yes on a clifftop overlooking the beach on new years eve.

MR: Now that your album has just been released, what is next for you?

MP: More shows, more releases, more songs and LOTS of hard work.

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