Dustin Tebbutt
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Dustin Tebbutt

The first time Forte Magazine sat down with singer-songwriter Dustin Tebbutt, he’d only played a handful of gigs. The year was 2013 and with the release of his debut EP, The Breach, Tebbutt was on a precipice, unsure what was going to happen next. “I was in the deep end the last time we spoke,” Tebbutt reveals. Plagued with uncertainty about the future, he wondered if he was on the right path.

Fast forward almost three years and Tebbutt sounds like a different man. He is full of excitement and anticipation in the lead up to the release of his debut album, First Light. “It feels good to have it under the belt. I guess I’ve been working towards this for a while.”

Tebbutt spent a good part of the last few years on the road, while steadily releasing new music along the way. 2015’s Home was a taste of things to come, but he openly admits he wasn’t completely satisfied with the music he was creating at the time. “Home could have been an album, but I wasn’t quite happy with the body of work and how it was fitting. First Light is something I can be proud of, and it feels like a really nice statement.”

Tebbutt describes his latest release and his first EP as bookends to each other. While The Breach was written as therapy after a painful break up, First Light came together during the precious moments at the beginning of a new relationship – albeit a long distance one. “It may not be everyone’s way, but it’s my way to be vulnerable and be open to things,” he says.

“I think that’s where all of the good stuff lies in terms of human experience, when you’re kind of open to things – and those are the kinds of stories I like to tell.” And it’s safe to assume people want to hear those stories. In the last few years Tebbutt’s music has been streamed millions of times around the world, even catching the eye of international superstar comedian Ricky Gervais.

“The internet is a strange beast,” he laughs. “It’s really amazing that I can just be working away in a tiny little room at the back of my house making some music, then put it on the internet and suddenly it’s out there.

“It always surprises me when someone messages me from Brazil saying they’ve just heard my song, or when I heard that Ricky Gervais said he was a fan – I still can’t believe it!”

On the suggestion that his single ‘First Light’ could end up on a Gervais produced TV show or film, Tebbutt laughs but doesn’t dismiss the idea. “I haven’t thought about that, but maybe that will happen. It would be good to hear [one of my songs] anywhere – but that’d be really cool!”

In the meantime Tebbutt is taking his show on the road with an East Coast tour kicking off next month. He will play two shows at the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne and one night only at the Workers Club in Geelong. “I’m just excited to get this music out and see what happens.”

As well as travelling with a band to help reproduce his signature tapestry of sound, he will be joined by a couple of friends as supports – one old, and one new. “I haven’t met Robbie Miller but I’ve been enjoying his music for a while. He’s got a great new track but some of his other stuff is just beautiful as well, so he felt like a good fit.”

Tebbutt also hand-picked Melbourne electronic artist, singer, songwriter and producer Woodes, AKA Elle Graham. “I’ve actually know Elle for a while – I’ve been watching her progress and grow,” he says. “She did some vocals for me on one of the tracks earlier on that didn’t end up getting released, but we’ve done stuff together and we’re old friends.”

With a new confidence Tebbutt is about to start the next phase of his career and he is already planning ahead. “I’ve just got a piano in the studio, which is awesome,” he smiles. “I want to try to write a piano piece a day for a month, and take the best ones and put them on an EP. I want to break the mould a little bit and do something completely different before I get back and start writing songs again – but I haven’t told my label yet!”

Written by Natalie Rogers

Photo: Cybele Malinowski

When & Where: Northcote Social Club, Melbourne – August 11 & 12 & Workers Club, Geelong – August 13

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