Talented Leith keeps a fast beat

Damien Leith spends most of his time writing. Not just songs to be included on the album he is planning to release later this year, but penning tunes for other artists and sketching out the details for his third novel.

While he loves to write, it can be a challenge for the Sydney-based musician to balance the different commitments.

"It can be quite hard. Sometimes people will come and give you a brief for an act and you write it without meeting them and when you go to present it you're sitting there going, 'I hope they like it', he says.

"It's weird because sometimes the brief doesn't come from the artist themselves, it comes from someone who has an idea about what the artist should be, so you work on an acoustic song but really what they want is a big dance song."

Even though he enjoys breaking out of his normal song style to work on things for other musicians, Leith makes sure his own writing comes first, which can be tough with three young children who want his attention during the day.

"When I'm going around at home playing guitar or something, that gets a little bit hard because maybe they're sleeping or want your attention and want to chat to you, so when it comes to night I might write a song or write a story when it's quiet and I'm not waking anyone up, so that's how I balance it," he says.

Managing a strong career as a musician and author while raising a family would fell a less-focused man, so the 2006 Australian Idol winner counts it a stroke of luck that he thrives on pressure.

In fact, Leith says he gets some of his best inspiration for songs when he should be concentrating on other parts of his career, such as touring.

"I think I'm a bit of a workaholic; I always like to be working on the next thing and I find when I'm promoting one thing or touring, my brain just seems to work better to create another thing. Whenever I'm not really busy my inspiration is off a little bit," he says.

"I've always been like that, even as a kid. I could never sit still, I always wanted to know about the next thing. You know, we're at the zoo, but I want to go to the beach next, I've always been like that."

This part of his personality has been helpful as he works towards his next album.

His last album, Now & Then, debuted at 14 on the ARIA charts, but Leith says his next effort is a little different. He is trying to write material to suit his falsetto voice, made famous when he sang songs such as Nessun dorma and Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah on the reality show that made him well known.

Damien Leith works better under pressure, preferring to have several projects on the go at the one time.

Damien Leith works better under pressure, preferring to have several projects on the go at the one time.


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