Born in Ipswich and living as a self-confessed ‘RAAF brat’, coming second on ‘The Voice Australia’ and performing with the likes of The Ten Tenors, Luke Kennedy is back in town – ready to tell the unheard stories of John Farnham’.
It’s an incredibly brave venture to impersonate one of Australia’s biggest musical icons, but if anybody is up for the job – it’s Luke Kennedy. Producing ‘From Jack to Johnny’ with partner Naomi Price, Kennedy’s aim is to tell the ultimate “underdog claw back” story of Farnham during a period when some regarded Farnham as “a laughing stock” in the Australian music industry.
Farnham rose to fame as a teenager, with the unexpected and unlikely hit ‘Sadie’ (The Cleaning Lady) and later Whispering Jack, but then he struggled to gather crowds at local RSLs.
“John found himself in a lot of trouble financially and emotionally… he really became a bit of a laughing stock,” Kennedy said.
“I want to show people why John comes across as so thankful when people attend his gigs… he tells a story of the late 70s doing gigs at RSLs across the country, where he did a gig in Dandenong and about nine people showed up, and all were his family.”
“To claw his way out of that… an almost resurrection, if you will, is an absolutely phenomenal story.”
However, the focus of the show isn’t all negative – and Kennedy stresses that the comeback nature of when Farnham released ‘You’re the Voice’ will be the main takeaway message for concert goers.
“To come back from miss after miss after two decades and to come back the way he did with You’re the Voice I think is a big part of why Aussies, who always love the underdog, love Johnny so much.”
Integrating a little bit of Farnham’s famous sense of humour, coupled with amazing vocals on both renowned and lesser known songs, Kennedy promises audiences will leave having laughed, maybe cried a little and learning something new about “The Voice of Australia”.
Asked what the real John Farnham thinks about the show, Kennedy sheepishly admits he hasn’t spoken to him about it.
“I don’t actually know if John knows about it,” Kennedy laughed.
“I assume he knows about it, as Glen Wheatley [former manager and friend of Farnham] thinks it’s a great idea.
“My intention is to deliver the show with integrity and respect for John and his incredible life. This is not a stitch up or an exposé – there’s no skeletons in the John Farnham closet.”
For Kennedy personally, he’s excited to return to Ipswich, which he describes as “a little bit like coming home”.
“I’m very familiar with Ipswich audiences, I love coming back there and it’s always great to get in front of a home crowd,” he said.
When he’s not pretending to be John Farnham, Luke is “squirrelled away” writing songs, one of which is planned for release in the not too distant future.
“A new song will be released towards the end of the year hopefully, which I’m super excited about but can’t tell you much just yet,” Luke said.
“I’ve also got a new song with Swing on This [Rob Mills, Michael Falzon, Matt Lee and Ben Mingay] about to release that we’ve all recorded together and we’re excited to launch that as well.”
Don’t miss the incredible voice of Luke Kennedy as John Farnham when he returns to Ipswich to perform “From Jack to Johnny” Friday, the 5th October at the Ipswich Civic Centre. For tickets, go to www.ipswichciviccentre.com.au/event/from-johnny-to-jack/.