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The Aussie at Taylor Swift's side | One Herald
Home / Entertainment / The Aussie at Taylor Swift's side

The Aussie at Taylor Swift's side


 Vance Joy at the 2015 ARIA Awards.

Vance Joy at the 2015 ARIA Awards. Photo: Getty Images

Across the US, Canada, Europe and Britain, there has been one man beside American superstar Taylor Swift’s side: Vance Joy.

It has been a steep learning curve for the lanky 27-year-old who shot to fame when his 2013 single Riptide propelled him from one-time busker to household name.

The singer-songwriter from Melbourne, whose real name is James Keogh, was hand-picked by Swift to support her world tour.

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He’s now firmly part of the Swift Squad, opening for the American superstar at more than 70 stadium shows, with another six to come in Australia, starting with ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

“I’m very grateful that she chose me to open for her,” says Keogh, who collected the ARIA award for best male artist on Thursday night. “Her fans have really embraced me, and that’s good because I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into at the start.”

What he was getting into was a musical juggernaut. Swift’s 1989 World Tour comes on the back of her phenomenally successful album 1989, which has sold 8.6 million copies worldwide since its release in November last year.

For Keogh that meant a lot of expectant faces were staring up at him when stepped on stage to open the US tour in Louisiana in May.

“The first show was pretty daunting,” he says. “All of your expectations and assumptions get blown out of the water and you realise what you are actually dealing with.

“The people come to the show ready to be entertained and you need to make that effort to connect.”

Early on he received some advice from an experienced observer: Swift’s father, Scott.

“He just said speak slowly and say, ‘Hey, I’m Vance Joy. It’s great to be here.’ Just simple stuff like that. That was great thing to learn because when you’re playing to a stadium it’s not going to work if you mutter into the microphone or mumble.”  

After each of his half-hour sets, Keogh sticks around to catch part of Swift’s show. He names Trouble as his “massive highlight”, while Blank Space and New Romantics are also favourites. 

He says he has no idea who Swift has lined up as her guest star singers for the Australian shows, but he would be happy to get the call up.

“I’d sing anything. I don’t know if she’s want me for anything. She doesn’t need my help, obviously. I’m flexible.”

Taylor Swift is at ANZ Stadium, Homebush, on November 28, with dates to follow in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne. Vance Joy’s solo Australian tour begins in April 2016.    



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