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Jack Johnson | Main | Freo's West Coast Blues N' Roots Festival - essential info

Joel Turner

The first time we met 18 year-old beatboxer / rapper Joel Turner and his crew The Modern Day Poets was as a novelty act breaking up the monotony of the early stages of Australian Idol, but he's since proved himself to be far more than just that. EDDIE DRURY caught up with him on the eve of his first major national tour, which will bring him to Perth for Freo's West Coast Blues N' Roots Festival at The Esplanade this Saturday, April 2.

Things are going well for Joel Turner, his brother Tim (Dub LT) and cousin Chris (C4). Under the management of Idol's Mark Holden their debut single These Kids went platinum and their self-titled album met with great success. And on top of all this they managed to make a poet out of Anthony Mundine on the single Knock U Out.

Yet, just last year nobody had heard of Joel Turner, he was just another anonymous kid writing rhymes in his bedroom. He had been casually working with his brother and cousin when one day his cousin called him suggesting they audition for the (then) unknown program Australian Idol.
Turner explains that it all came together very coincidentally. "We weren't even really going to go because we didn't know what it was, but my cousin woke me up with a phone call and asked if I wanted to do it. So we all met up at the train station at like 5.30am and then went in there and did our thing. We just went for fun, made it to the first audition and the second one to make it to the three judges. We didn't make it past there but it was a good experience going there and getting to beat-box for everyone."

While it was obvious to all that they weren't the right stuff for this particular competition, that's not to say that the judges were unimpressed. "They got me up on the mic in between while everyone was waiting around, so that was fun. And then they called me back to do the grand final of Australian Idol just to do a spot, I was stoked when they asked me to do that."

And so it came to pass that Joel Turner's first ever proper beat-boxing performance was at the Sydney Opera House, seen by an audience of 3.3 million people across Australia. The word 'terrifying' doesn't even come close. "Yeah, I was very nervous alright, but once I started the nerves went away and I just got into the music. All but towards the end of it - I started to go really nervous then as I realised 'I'm about to finish up, what am I going to do?' But it all went to plan so it was good."

It'd be hard to see a credible rap career starting from a platform like Australian Idol and so it was in his best interest that they didn't go far with the competition. The program gave him vital recognition and exposure but, unlike Guy Sebastian or Shannon Noll, he isn't still stuck with the label.

"That's the thing," he starts. "Some people do think of it that way but actually we didn't even make it into the show; we only made it to the third audition. I think it's better that we went this way instead of through Idol because we would have to had to perform songs that were written for us by other people. This way we get to do our music, which is really good for us."

Posted on March 30, 2005 08:21 PM

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