Influenced by Bob Dylan and the Muppets, Callum Gentleman has had an interesting rise in the music industry.
The blues folk singer-songwriter is bringing his tour to The Sherwood tonight.
The Aucklander, whose real name he wouldn’t reveal, took his sweet time to find his feet as a muso.
Unlike many musicians, he didn’t take to the industry until his mid-20s. Like many musicians, he thought he wasn’t good enough.
Thanks to a boost from an ex-girlfriend, he immersed himself in the culture, hanging out with other musos and working at venues they would play.
Until he finally got up the courage to get on stage and play one of his own songs.
Nowadays he’s a full-time musician, while also organising gigs and events for other people.
His mum used to play the Muppets to him as a kid and he’s still hugely fond of it.
“It’s cool as a kid, bopping around to a bunch of puppets, but every week they’d actually have huge artists of the era on the show.”
He reckons everyone needs to have a listen to the Muppet shows from the 70s and 80s.
“Crack open a bottle of something you appreciate and listen to Elton John and the Muppets.”
As for Bob Dylan, it was another ex-girlfriend who got him hooked.
“As a teenager I didn’t like Bob Dylan … and I tried really hard to. I had a girlfriend who had his albums so I was like ‘I’m going to get this guy ‘cos this guy’s a legend and I have no f***ing idea why’.”
Eventually something clicked while he was living in Paris and he’s been Forever Young ever since.
He describes his own style as “blues folk noir”.
Gentleman says the vibe of music depends on the crowd.
If the crowd are being loud and obnoxious he might do some “blues shouts” which is exactly what it sounds like — he yells down the room.
But if they’re listening intently, in true gentlemanly style, he’ll serenade the night away.
This tour is for no other reason than the love of performing — he usually plays with a trio in Auckland.
He says he’s “toyed” on his guitar from mountain tops in Queenstown but this will be his first official gig in the resort.
Callum Gentleman plays The Sherwood tonight, joined by local duo Choice, 8.30pm, tickets $10 on Eventfinda