If Stan Walker’s really honest, he’ll tell you that the idea of a covers album makes him “cringe”.
“I didn’t want to do it at all”: Stan Walker on his love-hate relationship with cover albums.
So it’s a pleasant surprise for fans that he’s overcome his inner purist, and released a full album of soul covers, called Truth & Soul.
Listen Now: Stan Walker talks about his new album of soul covers
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It’s an interim recording, designed to keep music lovers topped up while they wait for a new album-full of his own tunes.
Stan told Hope Media that when he was first asked to record a soul album, he was dead against it.
“To be honest I didn’t want to do it at all,” he said.
“I remember we were having meetings about new singles, new albums, and my [music] wasn’t ready.
“I have been working on my stuff for the last three years and that might seem like a long time but I’m very particular in my music, my song writing and the production, I want to get it right.
“So I was like, ‘I’m not ready’.
Stan Walker Tells Sony Boss What He Really Thinks
“But then the head of Sony asked me, ‘Would you do a soul album?’
“I was like, ‘No way’, and I was so determined not to.
“I told my manager that there was no chance that it was happening.
“Then I went on my Facebook and I saw all the covers that I’ve been putting up and it’s all these old-school soul songs. Songs that I love, that I listen to, that I sing every single day, and songs that I wish I had written. And I thought ‘actually, this is a great idea’.
“So I went back and I had to humble myself.
“He was right, I just didn’t see it that way because I was too caught up in what I wanted to do and what I thought was best at the time.
“At the end of the day I wanted something for my fans. My fans have been waiting for something and they deserve it.
“I don’t want to get too deep into my own art and not be able to give something to the fans. So this was perfect and it was the best idea."
A Touch Of Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Lionel Ritchie...
The album covers hits like Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered, James Brown's I Got You (I Feel Good), Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come, Bob Marley's Is This Love, as well as classic tracks by Lionel Ritchie, Otis Redding, Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye.
Stan said despite his initial hesitance, he had a ball making the album.
“I had so much fun and I was so free because I got to do whatever I wanted and bring in whoever I wanted onto the album," he said. "It was such a breath of fresh air.
“Even though it’s a covers record and I was cringing because I want to write my own songs, at the same time I got to reinterpret these songs and do them from me.”
Stan was in New Zealand working on a film and recording the second season of The X Factor New Zealand when it came time to record Truth & Soul.
He had three days scheduled in between shoots to record the soul album, and managed to complete it in two.
“It was intense,” he said. “At the start we were all in different places, and different head spaces and different creative briefs.
“It was a challenge, but I’m glad that challenge happened because we got the best album and the best sound from it.”
Secret New Project Still Under Wraps
If you’re itching to hear what original songs Stan’s been working on, you don’t have much longer to wait.
“I’ve just been getting my songs ready to come out in the next month or two,” Stan said. “I’ve been working on it a long time.
“It’s so funny, the tracks I’m thinking of releasing first are the tracks I haven’t even finished yet. I think that’s just how it goes when you’re an artist, you’re just constantly evolving.
“One time you love something and then the next minute you’re like, ‘I don’t know about that’. I’m just constantly indecisive, but I’m ready now – I’m ready to bring something out.”
We know Stan’s collaborating with fellow songwriter Samantha Jade, and a bit of investigating on the internet hinted at collaborations with Dami Im and Barry Southgate too, but whatever he’s working on, he’s keeping it a surprise.
“I have been working with Samantha on stuff which is really exciting, so that is just a sneak preview. I can’t disclose anything else but we have been working on something.”
Whatever his secret project is, it has involved a lot of travel in between New Zealand, America, London, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.
“I have been gaining different inspirations from different countries, different producers, and different writers,” he said.
“It has been awesome - I have a greater perspective on my life, on the world and on my music.”
Stay tuned, fans. Whatever Stan’s got coming, it next sounds like it could be a bit of a pièce de résistance.