Stan Walker is a man on a mission. The 21-year-old released this third album in as many years today and he's hoping it will propel his already hugely successful career to the next level. Earlier this afternoon I spoke with the Australian Idol winner about his move towards dance music, killer seagulls and the undeniable awesomeness of Justin Bieber. Even more excitingly, I discovered that Stan stans for Beyoncé and we had a good chat about why she is better than your fave. "Let The Music Play" is a great pop album that belongs in your collection. Pick it tomorrow morning, along with a copy of "4"!
You seem to have embraced dance music this time around. Are the first two singles a taste of what's to come on the album?
On the album it's more than just dance. Dance is the most prominent [genre] but there's a bit of gospel, a bit of R&B, a few culture-inspired songs. Dance is definitely the most... but it's really based around pop. I wanted to take people on a journey and not just restrict it to just pop and dance. So it's got elements of soul, gospel and R&B in there.
What prompted the move towards dance? Your last album was quite urban.
It's just me evolving as an artist. If anything this [album] is the greatest I've done because I've never sung like this. This is stretching me vocally, as a writer - because I wrote the album - and just being relevant and just being me. Expressing myself through music and where I'm at.
You said you wrote the album. Who else did you work with? I know DNA and Jon Asher have a couple of songs on there.
I wrote 85-90% of the album and then I had a few tracks from Jon. And I have a couple of covers. A Dave Dobyn one and an Eva Cassidy one. When I'm in the studio I worked with everybody in Australia and a couple of people in America. But writing was so awesome. I had to step it up. It was good. I found stuff in me that I didn't know I could do. I didn't realise I had the potential to write these sort of songs. The next singles that I bring out will all be songs I've written.
What inspired the Eva Cassidy cover?
"Songbird" is a great song. One of my favourite songs. One of my family's favourites as well. My mum sings this with me on there. A bit of a surprise. I've always wanted to have someone from my family do something with me. And I got my mum... it just shows more of who I am.
I didn't know you come from a musical family.
Yeah, my whole family sings and plays instruments.
Can you tell me a bit about your current single "Light It Up". How did the collaboration with Static Revenger come about?
That track was the longest process of getting the right mix. We sent it to him and he made it what it is today. We were trying different things, different people and it just wasn't hitting it and he just got that mix. It was the one. So he's the man.
You're also killing it with "Galaxy". Did Jessica (Mauboy) approach you?
It was originally mine! And then we ended up doing it together and then we ended up doing it more for her single. It was meant for us both from the start. We always wanted to do a song together. We're like brother and sister. We work together all the time, we're good friends and we've been looking for a song. We love it, ay. We love it so much. It's an awesome song.
Where did you film the video? It looks really cool.
We filmed it on the cliffs of Clovelly.
So it was just don't the road? I thought it looked familiar!
Man when people watch it they think it's a big international production but yeah just down the road. [Laughs].
Have you picked out the next single?
We're brainstorming it at the moment. Trying to work out which song we're going to do. How we're going to do it. I've sort of decided but I haven't. It's hard because I love them all and it's like what is the song that will carry me to the next level.
You've come a long way in such a short period. Already up to album number three. What's been the biggest change for you since leaving Australian Idol?
The growth, the character. I've grown up so much. I realised that this is quite a tough industry. It's challenging, it's hard work and it's caused me to grow up. Caused me to be stronger. I was definitely in the honeymoon period when I was on Idol and now this is the relationship. For better or worse if it was marriage.
What are you listening to now? You're always sharing your favourites on Twitter.
I'm loving David Guetta. He's incredible. He's my favourite dance act. He's a genius. He gets these full on dance-y beats and he puts vocal beasts on them - Jessie J, Usher, Chris Brown...
Oh my gosh that's my favourite song! And Sia. He's got vocal beasts on there and I just think that's so brilliant. So him and Justin Bieber. He's the man, ay? People underestimate his talent because he's a teen. I bought some of his Christmas songs on iTunes. He's gansta, man! I love him, ay. I just love his style.
And you were tweeting about your favourite R&B albums recently.
I love Amy Winehouse. She's a beast, man. But my favourite album is actually Beyonce's new album.
My favourite topic!
Man. I get frustrated how people can even criticise that and say this and that. They do not understand. People were like "Run The World" that's such a dumb song. I go, "you try and sing that. You try and sing it like she sings it!" And put all that into that simple song. There's no way anybody else could sing it. Beyoncé is the best. She's crazy. "Love On Top", man. That's already at a high level and she does four key changes. It's like listening to old Jackson 5. She said in an interview "it was never about radio, it was never about making a hit. It was about stuff I love" and I just admire her so much for doing that.
So what's your favourite song from "4"?
Track number two.
"I Care". Such a good song!
[Starts singing] "I Care" and "Love On Top".
Have you seen any clips from the Roseland concert?
Yeah I watched the DVD. It was incredible.
Speaking of tours. You've got your own coming up with Jessica Mauboy. What can we expect?
Everything! I think later next year I'll put on my own tour but this is definitely a big taste of what's to come. I don't want to give away too much but it'ds definitely going to be more than anybody's seen of me. I got a full band. I got my dancers. It's a full show. We get to show people who we are. We get to share the depths of us. Me and Jess we both pride ourselves on our live performances, so we can't wait.
Can I just ask about Twitter? I think you're one of my favourite people on there. You're so authentic.
I love Twitter. Twitter is really cool, ay? It's an awesome tool. Just to be able to connect with fans, friends. I'm quite straight up, ay? I talk about everything. Like when I was in New Zealand and I saw this giant seagull walk over and swallow another bird.
They are huge in New Zealand. It just swallowed him whole! I thought I was tripping. I couldn't believe it. So that's the kind of thing I have to tweet. Cannibal birds.
That's incredible. Thanks so much for your time!