The most successful Australian record in the past year was a concept album by a 60-year old man, and produced by a comparative novice with almost no budget or industry support. The album, Sharkmouth by Russell Morris, has just gone platinum & won an ARIA.
A recurring theme that those in the creative industries would have encountered time and again, is the importance of perserverance, and this is indeed a story of perserverence. JMC Academy Lecturer, Michael Carpenter, talks to the makers of 'Sharkmouth', about the conception, process, completion and accolades of the album.
"Russell Morris says that he was "rejected multiple times by people who I thought would understand what we were doing". So, Morris ended up self-funding the initial 500 copies to sell at gigs. It was after this point that Fanfare Records, who'd rejected the album, gave it another listen and decided to get behind it.
The album was released in 2012, and after Morris' tireless touring, started to gain momentum. “Radio DJs had been dismissing me for so long,” said Morris. “When they finally heard it and realised it was good, they got behind it.” Airplay on national stations, positive reviews and word of mouth fuelled interest in the record. After a few months, the album entered the ARIA charts at No. 80. (Morris: “We were over the moon at that. We never expected it to go any higher.”) The album continued to climb, eventually reaching No. 6. It has been in the charts now for almost a year, and has held the No. 1 position on the iTunes Blues charts for over 12 months. It also went on to win the 2013 ARIA for Best Blues & Roots Album."
Also interesting to note was the fact that Morris felt the first four songs on the album were among the strongest of his career, which spans back to the 1960's. This just goes to show that as a musician, you never stop evolving and improving.
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