Steve Balbi is most recognisable as the bassist from Australian rock band Noiseworks.
But behind the scenes he has worked with music royalty such as Prince and David Bowie, has just composed the new test cricket theme for Foxtel and most recently has taken an Albion Park teenager under his wing.
Last year Taime Marsh reached out to Balbi and asked if he could listen to some of his original songs.
“I don’t respond to many you know … generally it’s a subtle way of saying ‘don’t give up your day job’,” Balbi told the Mercury.
“His original demos were really raw and I could see the kid had potential.
“Then after [we met] I could see his devotion and he was the real deal.”
The now 16-year-old first picked up a guitar around the age of 11. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who both had ventured around Illawarra venues in rock bands.
The ‘90s heart-throb may seem unusual for someone born in 2002 to reach out to. But Taime admired the musician and his craft, and was possibly influenced by his father’s love of Noiseworks.
The result saw the teen and his guitar being urged into a recording studio, to take his music to “the next level”.
Through Balbi’s connections, Central Coast outfit The Witching Hour welcomed his protege on as a singer-songwriter, with the youth now set to take a gap year after year 10 is finished and see how the music business will treat him.
While her son had grown up with a musical family, his mother Cynthia said the drive he had to excel at music was “something he had within himself”.
“[His dad] Andrew showed him a few chords one day and it wasn't long before he surpassed everyone in the family,” Mrs Marsh said.
Amazing considering most of the teenager’s tuition had been from a few videos on Youtube.
The strong support from his parents remind Balbi of his own youth.
“Just before year 10 ended I was already playing in pubs in bands,” he said.
“My dad was brought into the principals office ... and he basically said ‘if Steve wants to focus on school and give up music he can finish year 10 otherwise he’s not welcome back’ ... my dad said, ‘oh well, looks like he’s not coming back’.”
This Friday Balbi will perform an acoustic show at the Heritage Hotel in Bulli, ahead of the release of his new single Modern Love and album Humans.
He has chosen the Albion Park musician to open for him, and test his own material on a mature audience.
“These songs I haven't really played for anyone so it will be great to see the crowd’s reaction and its great to open up for Steve,” Taime said.
Steve Balbi with support act Taime Marsh, Bulli Heritage Hotel, Friday October 12, 8pm.