His debut album, ‘White Canvas’, was heralded by critics, but singer/ songwriter Brendan Maclean says such acclaim is a double-edged sword.
“It's almost easier to get a bad review because you can get snobby … and say they don't understand it,” Brendan explains. “But when somebody says it's good and you actually have to admit you've written something that's okay, you get invited into a whole new world that you weren't in before and you start having to compare yourself with your peers and keep being good.”
The self-trained musician melds folk and pop on his first release, and Maclean says his rich history in the arts paved the way for his eclectic influences.
“I was a dancer, an actor and a radio presenter, so I've always been in fields where I've been bombarded with inspiration. I fall in love with so many different artists: I love Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds Five, but I loved Silverchair when growing up, and Paul Mac and dance music as well.
“I cherrypicked a little bit from each genre and thought, 'what do I see in myself in all of that?' And then blended it all together, and hopefully it came out as something unique.”
Further distinguishing Brendan from other folk revivalists is his arsenal of instruments. Not only does the heavy-handed pianist recall the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, but he also rocks out the ukulele like he’s Pete Townshend from The Who.
“I like to think that my ukulele is rocked out a little bit more than most people's ukuleles. It's a concert ukulele which immediately makes it different, but I do smash it around and I can't say this is my first ukulele – I've broken a few. I'm not exactly that little hipster plucking ukulele guy. I like to smash my ukulele around a lot.”
Brendan Maclean Plays The Judith Wright Centre, As Part Of The Brisbane Cabaret Festival, Oct. 27.