The X Factor Australia 2014 runner-up, Dean Ray, is back in the limelight with a current run of national dates, performing in Bendigo, Warrnambool, Warragul, Shellharbour City Centre, Sussex Inlet, Wagga Wagga and Dubbo.
Dean Ray’s debut single, ‘Coming Back’, and debut, self-titled album both went Top 5 on the national ARIA Singles and Album Chart respectively, and his album was certified gold within weeks of its release.
Dean’s album features re-recorded studio tracks of some of his performances on ‘The X Factor Australia’ including: ‘Bette Davis Eyes’, ‘Into My Arms’ and ‘Budapest’. He selected the tracks based on the ones he liked best. “I just picked the ones that I enjoyed … I knew I’d have to play them on the road a bit. The list that was given to me to check over was pretty well spot on anyway. I only had to change a select few.
“For a first album I think it went pretty well,” Dean continues. “I didn’t have an expectation for it. I didn’t have a standard I wanted it to reach or anything like that. It was just one of those things. Your first album; put it out and just see what happens.”
For this tour, Dean will be performing a few songs from the album as well as new, original material. “[There’s] maybe four or five songs from the album and then a whole lot of my material, a lot of new stuff.”
Dean plans to transition into his own music, rather than his ‘X Factor’ covers, during this tour. Since leaving ‘The X Factor Australia’, Dean has learnt a lot; but the most important lesson? To keep a regular and healthy diet. “There’s far more pressure on me these days than there ever was before. You can’t be functioning on the road with no food and no sleep.”
Dean describes himself as a bit of a hermit and doesn’t enjoy being in the spotlight. “I’m not a massive fan of the spotlight. I’m a bit of a hermit … I don’t struggle with [being in the spotlight], I just don’t love it. I doesn’t feed my ego or anything, so I don’t thrive off it.”
Despite wanting a break from public recognition, Dean believes he was born to perform. “That’s what I was born to do. It’s what I’ve been doing for years now. I’ve been doing it since I was 16, I think – being a touring musician playing all around the country. I guess the difference is, now there’s actually people coming to the shows, which is great.”
After the ‘Dean Ray Live’ tour, Dean plans to keep touring and playing music to broaden his fan base. “We’re just going to keep touring, man. We’re releasing music and we’ll keep touring and get bigger and bigger and bigger in, I don’t know, the next 20 years.”
With plans like that, Dean isn’t particularly fussed looking too far ahead. “Take life as it comes, man. I try and live in the moment, in the now. So if you focus on the moment you’re in it never really seems to shock you; the things that happen and you just take it as it comes … You hardly notice yourself growing when it’s like that. It’s only when I reflect back on things that I notice I’ve come a long way but I’m not really much for living in the past. I don’t seem to think about the past too much.”
Dean has spent a lot of his time writing and recording new material. “I’ve been writing and recording and we’ve been working on some new tracks at the moment and will hopefully get them out this year very soon. Whenever they’re ready we’ll release them.
“I try and tell a story but in a different way. Some of them might be relationship songs, some of them might be working-class hero songs, they might be sad songs. I’m not a massive fan of sappy, typical love songs. They’ve been done before and I feel it’s hard to write a love song better than The Beatles or Ed Sheeran – they seem to do it pretty damn well. So I’m more a working-class writer. I write for the average Joe.”