WHEN a new commercial promoting Australian tourism was launched last month featuring the music of Dewayne Everettsmith, the question most were left asking was: “Who the bloody hell is he?” There was no Lara Bingle-like celebrity this time – Everettsmith didn’t even make the top 40 in his crack at Australian Idol in 2007.
Everettsmith was adopted by another Aboriginal family as a young child when his mother became addicted to speed and alcohol.
He lost touch with her and then lost her altogether three years ago to a drug overdose.”She was coming back to make amends literally that week and, no, she passed away,” he says.”Because I was so angry with my mother she’d call me and I wouldn’t answer, I’d just ignore it.”I wish I made amends but it’s one of those hurtful things.”
He’s still a relative unknown, despite more than 16 million downloads of his song it’s like Love, which backs a Tourism Australia ad first released in China. Everettsmith, who will perform at the national NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) awards in Hobart on Friday night, is descended from the chief Mangana.
Everettsmith made the first commercial recording in the Tasmanian Aboriginal language, Palawa Kani, last year with his song Milaythina. And he is a member of the prestigious Black Arm band, a supergroup of Aboriginal stars who will perform at a London Olympics festival in the coming weeks.
“I think it’s really paid off,” he says of the Tourism Australia gig.”Not many people get their song on a Tourism Australia ad and free publicity for at least two years.”I haven’t even released my debut album yet.” – AAP
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