Diamond in the rough

February 14, 2018

ACCOMPLISHED singer and songwriter Neil Murray has continually redefined the Australian music industry throughout his 30-plus year career.

Together with his Warumpi Band, Neil changed the mainstream radio and projected indigenous music into the wave lengths of Australian households in the 1980s and 1990s.

‘‘From an early age, I knew I wanted to learn from Aboriginals,’’ he said.

‘‘They’ve been in this country the longest so I wanted to learn from the best.

‘‘I went out to Papunya and that’s where I met Sam Butcher and we started jamming and that’s where Warumpi started.

‘‘I began seeing the country in a different way, a more meaningful way.

‘‘I find the need to write about it all – trying to articulate the stories in new ways.’’

One of Neil’s most recognised songs is My Island Home.

Originally written and recorded for his band, the track was re-recorded by Christine Anu in 1995 under Neil’s watchful eye.

The iconic song was used in the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games and still resonates with listeners all around the country.

Neil’s music has been covered by the who’s who of Australian music.

With the likes of Missy Higgins, Adam Brand, Powderfinger and Jimmy Little using some of Neil’s finest works and reinventing them.

‘‘I don’t chase people to do covers, they usually find it themselves,’’ he said.

‘‘As a songwriter, it’s the ultimate validation – the most wonderful feedback.

‘‘For me, it’s like hearing the songs for the first time. It’s a real delight.’’

Covering a wide range of Australian issues from the environment to mortality, Neil’s music is ground-breaking, catchy and will no doubt have you up from your picnic rugs and dancing.

Having dabbled in an extraordinary range of creative outlets over his career, Neil’s music is a true reflection on the Australian culture, landscape and identity.

‘‘My music is more niche,’’ Neil said.

‘‘I’m the equivalent of a boutique winemaker – you won’t find me in any old shop, but if you search hard enough, I’m there.’’

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