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Interviews > The Jacob Butler Project

Having sung his way through to the live stages of the short-lived Australian version of The X Factor and subsequently Australian Idol, no one could accuse Jacob Butler of not following his dreams. Now as he prepares to release the album he'd written long before, we talk to him about his debut single and its connections to Neighbours...

Firstly, can you give us some background about yourself?
I guess I would describe myself as a tenacious young kid from country South Australia who quit university in Adelaide after 3 weeks to become a rock star. I'm still working on the rock star part but I have been a professional musician for a number of years.

You're probably best known as a finalist on the 2007 series of Australian Idol. What made you apply for the show? What do you think is the allure of shows such as these to both the viewers & contestants?
Mark Holden actually rang me and encouraged me to audition for the show. I think Australian Idol is a great platform for those wanting to make a career in music. It's a tough industry and times have changed, so it's important to take any opportunity that you can, and for the viewers - it's great television!

Who are your main influences?
I love English bands like The Manic Street Preachers and Feeder, as well as American songwriters like Matthew Sweet and Elliott Smith. I'm a big fan of classic songwriting really... but it's important to always try and push things forward.

The video for your first single, Coma, features Pippa Black & Sweeney Young, Neighbours' Elle Robinson & Riley Parker, how did they become involved with it?
My fiancée Paula is good friends with Pippa and also knows Sweeney as she worked as a publicist on Neighbours for a couple of years. We asked the guys if they were keen to be involved and lucky for me, they both said yes! The clip came together really easily with these guys involved - it was great fun to shoot!

The song has since been used in Ten's promotion of the 2009 Season Finale, were you approached because of the existing link to Neighbours? How did the come to use your song?
We put the song forward for consideration as the end of year Neighbours promo as we felt that Coma really suited a dramatic storyline. It's often quite difficult to make these kinds of things happen so I was pretty excited that TEN decided to use the track!

Have you seen the finished promo? If so, what do you think of it?
I think it's great! I have put the promo up on my YouTube page so that people who are interested can have a look at it. I really like the way the vision works with the track - it's quite a surreal feeling really.

Are you or have you ever been a viewer of the show?
I have always been a big fan of the show! Even as a kid in the country, I was always a Neighbours watcher.

How important is the use of your tracks on promos & shows like these to artists such as yourself?
It is so important... these days it is so hard to get any love on commercial radio as an independent artist, so support from a television sync is a big deal! If you have a look at Kate Miller Heike for example, the Neighbours promo featuring her song 'The Last Day on Earth' really helped her make it big this year.

You've recently recorded a performance in Neighbours' bar, Charlie's, which is to air next year. How did that come about?
Neighbours is very supportive of the music industry, giving both big artists and smaller indie acts an opportunity to showcase their music on the show. My name was put forward for consideration to the show's producers and luckily, they said yes! I'm very excited to be a part of the Charlie's Bar alumni... very excited indeed!

What did you get up to on the day; did the cast make you feel welcome? How did it feel to be on the set of what has been described as an Australian institution?
That's so right, Neighbours IS an institution! it was so much fun actually - I really enjoyed the experience. The cast and crew were fantastic, very welcoming.

Fellow Australian Idol alumni, Daniel O'Connor & Dean Geyer, have gone on to join the regular cast of Neighbours, would you ever consider doing the same?
Ah yes, totally! What a fantastic opportunity that would be...ha!

Your debut album, Reason, is scheduled for release next year, what can we expect from it?
I guess if I was to give you my elevator pitch it would read as so... Emotive, Trans-Atlantic guitar driven pop at its absolute finest! But really that just means good guitar songs that hopefully people will enjoy.

Other than the album, what does the future hold for Jacob Butler?
More songwriting, more recording and hopefully more shows. Fun times!

Finally, as Neighbours prepares to celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary, why do you think the show has lasted so long?
I'm not sure really, other than to say the show has really managed to capture the imagination of almost three generations of viewers now, and that's pretty amazing!

Find out more about The Jacob Butler Project on his MySpace. Coma is available to download now on iTunes & Amazon.

Interview by Callum. Added on 12th December 2009