Singer Stan Walker is back in the spotlight after his successful fight against stomach cancer. Currently, on tour across New Zealand, Walker is co-hosting the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards this week with Kanoa Lloyd. We spoke exclusively to Walker about local designers, style inspiration, and walking the runway for Not For You during NZ Fashion Week.
TLFB: What does a day in the life of Stan Walker look like?
Stan Walker: It’s ever-changing. I’m either flying or driving somewhere, promos, recording, gigging, photoshoots.
You have won five New Zealand Music Awards and this will be your third time hosting. What are you looking forward to most about returning to host?
I’m just looking forward to seeing all my peers in the industry and all the performers, especially Sons (of Zion), Six60 and JessB. I’m also really looking forward to hosting with Kanoa. She’s so awesome she makes the job easy—she’s the professional one, I’m the naughty one.
Do you have a favourite act for the win this year?
Sons of Zion for single of the year, drift away. I hope they win.
You’ve been quoted as saying Beyoncé is your musical inspiration. What was it like opening for her in 2013?
That’s an experience I could never really truly explain but that it was like, incredibly epic.
We loved seeing you on the runway for Not For You. Any plans to continue on in the fashion industry?
I love fashion I’ve always loved it. Now I’m skinny enough to wear the stuff that I’ve always wanted to wear which is good! Yes, definitely I want to do more things like, I’m no model but I definitely know what I love and I like so many different things. Now I’m able to wear the things that I want to wear and try new things and I’m constantly inspired by so many different people. I follow a lot of fashion pages around the world – fashion bloggers, different kinds of models and labels as well.
I love a lot of stuff from the UK and parts of America too so I definitely want to do more things within the fashion industry. I’ve always loved certain things and certain cuts so it would be cool to even do my own range. I’ve always wanted to do my own range for like the last ten years! So if I can get into it, that’ll be me.
What’s easier: Walking the red carpet or walking the runway?
I was so scared, I was literally shitting my undies when I was going to do the runway, because I ain’t no model, but when I got out there I was nervous but it was so fun. So I think probably the runway more than the red carpet.
I’m so awkward – it’s so funny because I live my life taking photos but I actually hate it unless I’m in control of it, as in I know the photographer and they’re working with me and it’s going my way. I just so awkward. I can’t smile in photos either like it’s never a real smile unless I’m cracking up!
Who are your favourite NZ designers?
Zambesi will always be my favourite – love Zambizzle. There are so many boutique labels that I’m inspired by but Zambesi is my favourite.
Who do you look at for style inspiration?
My stylist Sammy Salsa who’s been with me from the beginning. We bounce off each other. He pushes me and I’m like yep let’s go so he’s one of my inspirations because he always pushes me. Also, a lot of my inspirations are people I follow online from all over the world. They wear similar stuff to what I wear and but also certain pieces that nobody else has that I love. It’s cool to see all that stuff.
What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe and where/when did you get it?
My wardrobe is a whole room with those industrial racks and then I’ve taken up every wardrobe in every room as well! It’s like an actual shop. My most treasured item is my Nan’s Korurai that I was gifted by my great Nanny.
We’ve been following your journey for many years now, and what inspires us is your smile and your seemingly endless positive energy. Do you have any advice for others who are wanting to follow their dreams but aren’t quite sure how?
When the opportunity presents itself go all the way in, don’t be half pie about it. That’s the difference between people who are successful and people who are not and people that sit there and say ‘ I coulda, shoulda, wanna’ but didn’t.
Be an ultimate go-getter. The worst thing you can get is a no cos you’re either gonna get a yes or a no, so be persistent, know your values, know your worth and compromise, but you have to work hard, harder than everybody else.
I started off doing Australian Idol but a lot of those people don’t end up working in the industry because you have to work hard to sustain that goal because you’re catapulted to the top but that don’t mean anything if you don’t have the songs or the material and the content to back it up – then you ain’t nothing and you’ll disappear like a lot of people have. So you need to work hard to stay in your position too.
Stan Walker is presenting the 2018 Vodaphone New Zealand Music Awards, Thursday 15 November.
Photo Credit: Alex King Photography