SINGER-songwriter Benny Nelson is a small-town boy at heart and that’s why the Sunshine Coast holds such appeal to him.
The 21-year-old, originally from Warialda in country New South Wales, brings his national tour to Ocean St on Thursday, November 16, for a gig at Solbar, reuniting him with the area he frequently visited as a child.
“I’m a country boy, and I think it’s the fact that the Sunny Coast has a small-town feel compared to the Gold Coast that I’ve always loved coming back here,” he says.
Nelson’s budding career has seen him spend five consecutive years as part of Sydney’s annual Schools Spectacular, playing original songs for crowds of 9000 and a national TV audience in excess of two million.
Among the highlights included an emotional 2013 performance of the tribute he wrote for his mother Vivienne, who had died from breast cancer three years earlier.
“That was an amazing experience,” he says.
“No amount of words can describe how that felt.
“I wrote that song to release my emotions and get a little more comfortable talking to people about it.
“I expected to get a lot of sympathy, and I didn’t want that, but I had a lot of people sending me messages and telling me they could relate to the song with their own experiences, which was incredible.”
Nelson returned to the Schools Spectacular as an alumnus in 2015, penning the national charting single Supernova with now bandmate Jackson Besley.
After supporting some of Australia’s top talents including Guy Sebastian and The Veronicas at Sydney’s Australia Day concerts in 2014 and 2015, Nelson soon switched his focus to his own music.
Follow Me, Nelson’s debut EP, samples flavours from a plethora of influences, which he admits can be hard to quantify.
“When I play by myself, it’s probably just acoustic pop, but it’s hard to describe my music in those simple brackets,” he says.
“I’ve always liked the Eagles, and Ed Sheeran’s songwriting has really resonated with me in recent years.
“My next record looks like it’s probably going to head a little more in the indie-rock direction.
“I try to take a little bit of everything and put it all in there.”
Catch Benny Nelson at Solbar on Thursday, November 16, before his tour heads north to Mackay, Cairns, and Townsville. Follow him on Facebook and YouTube and listen to Follow Me on Spotify.