Nathan Caveleri on his stunning new single 'Demons' Geelong's Mane Event

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Nathan Caveleri on his stunning new single 'Demons' Geelong's Mane Event

Much of the country was oblivious to the career Nathan Cavaleri led beyond prime-time Australia. By age 12, he found himself the centre of a bidding war between the labels of Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna. By age 16, he’d toured with B.B. King as his guest, and played at the Kennedy Centre in front of The Clintons with Etta James and Bonnie Raitt… All after winning his battle with Leukaemia. Now at 36 years old, Nathan releases his new single ‘Demons’ – his first since 2011. We chat to Nathan ahead of his performance at Geelong’s Mane Event this weekend.
Hey Nathan, thanks for chatting to Forte, how have things been?
No worries! Thanks for your time. Things are great… Riding the waves of life and for the most part digging it!
You are one of the acts for The Mane Event Music Festival, which supports mental illness, and this year’s profits are going towards The Back Dog Institute – how did you get involved with this event?
It was actually through my blog that the guys at Mane Festival reached out. With the blog having strong mental health themes, I guess it seemed appropriate to have me on the bill and I couldn’t be more flattered to be a part of it!
What place do you believe the music industry has in supporting causes for mental illness?
The arts in general are perfect industries to support mental health both because of the demographics they connect with and the challenges that many within that industry face and often overcome.
What are you most looking forward to about performing in Geelong at this festival?
I’ve never been a part of a festival that has supported a cause that sits close to home. I look forward to not only performing and sharing my own stories, but getting involved in some real conversations about how we can all broadcast helpful messages to those who may be struggling in some way with their emotions. Music is quite the catalyst!
This event is actually the starting point for a string of other shows for you – what spurred the idea to tour now?
My own passions have sparked the motivation to return to the stage. I’ve spent almost 5 years in the cave after burning out, learning about myself and questioning my musical purpose. During this period, I was able to get beyond the crap that complicated my relationship with music. It’s time. I feel ready to extend myself again. Scared by ready!
Your music is said to be influenced by artists like Lana Del Ray, Tame Impala and Ry Cooder, what is it about them that makes them such a huge influence for you?
Sometimes it’s a sound, an arrangement or production in general. Mostly it’s a feeling I get from listening to their music which then sub-consciously influences my decisions throughout the creative process. Whether it’s Lana Del Rey’s understated vocals and Tex Mex implied production on Ultraviolence, Ry Cooder’s innovative twists on country blues or Tame Impala’s psychedelic sounds – It’s all in the back of my head!
Your new single ‘Demons’ is about some experiences you had when you were younger, can you tell us about them?
I wouldn’t say “younger” but over the last five years I found myself having to pay the emotional debts racked up by living life with unhealthy beliefs and a lack of understanding on how to digest tough emotions. It eventually corrupted many elements of my being – confidence desire, physical energy etc… “Demons” is a snapshot of how I felt during that dark time when reflecting on my past triumphs and accomplishments. Loss showed me all the qualities in myself that I took for granted and inspired a new way of looking at life. With gratitude! It’s by all means not a pity song.

What was your thought writing process for a song this personal to you?
Strangely enough, this is the one song I co-wrote. Generally, I would write such personal songs alone but Alys Ffion made me feel comfortable enough to go to that place. The riff was posted on social media a good year before the song was officially written. It was a melody myself and online supporters kept coming back to. The words “I wouldn’t take it for granted” literally fell out of thin air.
You’ve had quite the career already, and we read at age 12 you were already in high demand. Do you recall your first musical experience, or that first moment you knew you wanted to pursue music?
Two moments. One was when I watched Dire Straits live film clip on TV and when I toured with Jimmy Barnes and Diesel at 10 years old. The show, the road crew, the masses of people, the interviews and most importantly, the music all made me feel completely at home and excited. Every time I play live or see someone play live, I’m reminded of the love I have for playing music and connecting with people.
What can we expect to see next from you?
Right now, I’ll be playing and singing new songs and bringing stories from my past on to the stage – Growing up on the road, amazing people that I’ve met to health challenges and feats. The current tour has a string of intimate shows that allow me to perform this. The depths of “Demons” is definitely only a part of what I enjoy playing. Songs that follow have their own vibe and can’t wait to send them out into the world! You’ll hear most at the gigs and some times on socials.
When & Where: The Barwon Club, Geelong – October 6.
If you or someone you know needs help or information regarding mental health, please contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14, or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.