Recent article from - The Daily Telegraph Edition G - SydneyLive
THU 19 MAY 2005, Page 014

Turner's tour poetic justice    By STEPHEN DOWNIE

When Joel Turner first appeared on Australian television screens, he was a lanky teenager making strange noises not unlike those Michael Winslow made in the Police Academy movies.

The judges of Australian Idol, although appreciative of his talents, did not believe he had what it took and eliminated him from the competition. Beatboxing on its own, they thought, was not enough to win the series that went on to make Guy Sebastian a star. They may have been right. But Turner quickly won a fan base and when judge Mark Holden later discovered him strumming a guitar, he knew he'd found something special.

I started jamming, playing blues and beatboxing and Mark said 'I didn't know you could play guitar'," Turner recalls. Up to that point the teenager, while displaying an obvious talent for mimicry, was a curious diversion to the real deal. Holden slipped Turner his card and told him to put together a few songs, anything he had on tape, no matter how crappy the quality of recording. Turner sent him the demo he had recorded of These Kids four years ago, when he was just 14.

According to Turner, the song "won his [Holden's] heart over". Not long after Holden signed Turner to his record label, Dream Dealers. These Kids, a moody, acoustic guitarbased tale of life on the streets, which Turner originally thrashed out in a Cairns recording studio, went on to reach No.1 on the ARIA singles chart.

Turner's album has already gone platinum. "We were stoked with how the single went but we were just happy to get our song out there. (Success) was a bonus." Before playing this year's East Coast Blues & Roots music festival at Byron Bay, Turner had never even been to an all-day concert. It's not that he didn't want to go - the 18-year-old from the Brisbane'burbs could just never afford to buy a ticket. "I never really had the money," Turner says. "I just grew up in an average suburb. "Mum did a good job of bringing up five kids by herself, but we were definitely not rich."

Two weeks ago he finished his first tour with his outfit, The Modern Day Poets, playing 60 dates across the country to thousands of fans. His latest tune is the slinky guitar-based ditty, Funk U Up. The song is aimed at getting women to dance and for men to stop drinking at the bar, get off their bar stools and join the ladies on the dance floor "so they don't think you're a sad dude". If anyone knows something about getting off their seat and joining the action, it's him.

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