DAMIEN Leith has an album and tour to spruik – not that you would know it.
During our interview, the 36-year-old Irish-born Sydneysider, seemed just as happy to pour praise on his colleagues as chatting about his sixth album Now & Then and his return trip to Nashville and LA to collaborate with one of Roy Orbison’s former songwriters.
“My last album, Roy: A Tribute to Roy Orbison, opened a lot of different doors and one of the gentlemen who wrote some of Roy’s biggest hits – including Crying and Only the Lonely – got in touch with me and told me he really liked what I did with Roy’s songs,” Leith said.
“So I’m heading over to the States to write with him – that album was a big turning point for me because Roy himself had such a massive fan base and it’s great to think that I have reignited the whole thing and attracted a whole new audience to my music.”
And that is where the self-promotion ends as the nice guy of Aussie music turns his attention to Jessica Mauboy, whom he edged out to take the Australian Idol crown in 2006.
“Jess has been fantastic over the last couple of years but it might be world recognition after The Sapphires,” he said.
Diana Rouvas, who won plenty of new fans after her recent run on The Voice Australia, is another favoured topic.
“We’ve been friends for years – long before I was on Idol – and she is the girlfriend of my guitarist, whom I have played with for about eight years,” he said.
“Honestly, she has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard and I’m pretty critical of voices. I wouldn’t just say this because she’s a friend, but she has a range that I have never come across in any singer.”
Leith is also an admirer of Daniel Johns, having recently tweeted his approval of the silverchair frontman’s work on the new Qantas music.
“He’s got this different approach – he throws strange chords and sounds – and writes with someone I co-write with. At some point, it would be great to get the three of us in the same room.”