Making way for Marlon


It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood film — an A-list actor goes to watch a gig at a trendy nightspot, sees an up-and-coming young singer, and writes him a part in his latest blockbuster.

But that’s exactly what happened to Kiwi singer Marlon Williams, after Bradley Cooper called him and asked if he’d like a part in the Oscar-nominated blockbuster A Star is Born.

“It was pretty surreal,’’ he tells Mountain Scene.

“Bradley Cooper saw me at the Troubadour, which is a famous old venue. Luckily I played a really good show that night, and my agent got a phone call from him.’’

The role was just one of a long list of major achievements in 2018 for the 28-year-old Lyttelton singer, who’s bringing his Turangawaewae Tour to Queenstown next Wednesday.

He released his second solo album, Make Way For Love, to critical acclaim last February, toured extensively, and won the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll Award for his ballad Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore.

It’s been a meteoric rise for the son of a punk singer who started singing in the school choir at the age of 10.

“It was an excuse to leave class,’’ he jokes.

But, he says more seriously, it was something that just came naturally to him.

He started writing his own songs in high school, and joined a band.

From there, he swapped out choir music for country and blues.

His songs also took on a very personal tone, with Make Way For Love focusing on his break-up with fellow Kiwi musician Aldous Harding.

“For the first time in my life I found myself in a position where I needed to find a way of understanding what was going on in my life,’’ he says of the decision to write about his personal life.

“It was a necessary driving force behind the album, I was halfway through it before I realised what I was doing, it was very subconscious.’’

He’ll be playing hits from that album, and songs he’s been working on for his next project, in the resort.

“Hopefully there’ll be a lot of atmosphere and drama.’’

To catch Marlon Williams, head to the Memorial Centre, next Wednesday, 7.30pm, $73.