High praise, indeed, from Australia’s pre-eminent music critic. But, typical of the praise heaped on Dewayne around Australia during a recent national tour with Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. And audiences were even more enthusiastic when Dewayne repeated this support role for eight shows across Europe during October – with the promoter, Dramatico Entertainment’s managing director Andrew Bowles, saying, “We’ve never before had such an amazing audience response to a support act.” His debut album won’t be released until early 2013 and he’s not backed by a major label or big-league promoter, and yet – on his stage presence, song writing and the beauty of his voice – he’s spoken of as a rising star, a future great, of the Australian music industry. Even without the album, or serious industry support, Dewayne’s been places and done things most Australian performers only dream of … • Supported Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu nationally and in Europe; • Performed a private show for Oprah Winfrey’s best friend, Gayle King, and her entourage”; • Starred in a Tourism Australia video, receiving over 560,000 hits on Youtube; • Supported artists of the calibre of Archie Roach, John Farnham and Guy Sebastian; • Wowed audiences in shows with the prestigious Black Arm Band – including a duet with Paul Kelly during the Melbourne International Arts Festival; • Featured in a 30th anniversary video release of the iconic song, “Great Southern Land”; • Performed in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York as part of G’Day USA; and • Been appointed national ambassador for the official Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal. Topping all of these, he’s recently become the voice of Tourism Australia’s international marketing campaign – his voice and song the centrepiece of the new $250M global advertising blitz. The ad, built around Dewayne’s “It’s Like Love”, has received 20,000,000 views since going online on June 4th. None of this is surprising, though. From his childhood appearances within his own Tasmanian Aboriginal community, through many festival stages around Australia and across the Pacific, his audition for Australian Idol, one thing has become very clear – Dewayne’s a very special performer. One of those rare performers with a gift, a presence, Dewayne simply tells his story to a crowded room and most individuals listening feel he’s singing just for them. He can’t explain it and he’s not consciously trying to use it; it’s just there, it’s just him. He’s an Aboriginal man, descended from both the Aboriginal community of Cape Barren Island and the Gunai/Kurnai people of Victoria, but his music can’t be neatly pigeonholed as Indigenous. It’s been influenced by his heritage, then shaped by his tough early years and love of so many musical styles and great singers. Never doubt it – Dewayne Everettsmith, a name and a voice you’ll be hearing much from for years to come.