Leo Sayer hit the big time for the first time in 1973 with debut solo album Silverbird.
In the more than four decades since then, his illustrious music career has included more than 20 international Top 10 singles and five Top 10 albums across the globe, appearances with The Muppets and The Wiggles, song-writing for names like Roger Daltrey and Dolly Parton and epic live performances at every venue imaginable.
And Sayer shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.
I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do – we go around the world making people happy and that’s just a fantastic thing.Leo Sayer
Hot off the heels of his sold-out 2016, 2017 and 2018 UK tours, the music legend has decided to take to the road again for an Australian and New Zealand tour to celebrate his 70th lap around the sun.
Sayer told the Mandurah Mail audiences can expect plenty of energy from his ‘Just A Boy At 70’ tour.
“There will be all the hits and a few extra songs – all the ones that really go down well live,” he said.
“We did a couple of shows with the same band and the same setup just before Christmas in Melbourne at the Crown and another one in Warragul and we laid out the template for the show there.
“Everything went so well but... we couldn’t get off stage because there were so many songs to fit in.
“That’s always the problem is editing it down and still keeping everybody happy – that’s why I can’t really do a support act with it, I’ve got to do the whole show to get everything in.”
Sayer said, despite some aches and pains, his live performances and extensive tours help to keep him young.
“I actually turned 70 last May – it’s not enough for me to still stay ‘just a boy’ but they want me to stay 70 forever too,” he laughed.
“I do have three stents in my heart and a partial knee replacement but I’m able to forget all of those things because being on stage gives me the energy to stay young and keep fresh and fit.
“When I get on [stage], I forget about any aches and pains I’ve got and the spirit takes over.
“I’m really lucky that I can still be doing this now.”
And the soon-to-be 71-year-old promised fans he’ll keep making the hits for as long as he can.
“I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do – we go around the world making people happy and that’s just a fantastic thing,” Sayer said.
“I can’t think that I would slow down anytime soon.
“As long as I can travel comfortably and keep storing up the energy, I can’t see any reason to change.”
A global icon
Born in Sussex, England in 1948, Sayer has spent much of his career travelling the world with his music.
With performances across the globe from Olympic Stadium in Moscow to Central Park in New York and the Royal Albert Hall, the singer-songwriter is no stranger to global recognition.
It’s something he said helps keep the nerves at bay when he takes to a new stage.
“My music has travelled so well around the world and my songs are known everywhere, even in different languages,” Sayer said.
“There’s a very warm reception everywhere, even in places I’ve never been before and that’s just remarkable
“I don’t think you ever truly get used to it but you do start to accept it.
“People ask me if I get nervous before I go on stage but there’s no way, it’s just too friendly of a zone. You would get nervous if you were singing among a bunch of people who had never heard you before, but that never happens to me.
“I’m very lucky, I’m very blessed.”
Generations of fans
Sayer added that not only was he lucky enough to play to audiences around the world, but he also has the honour of playing to many generations of fans.
“A 19-year-old couple came to the show we did in Warragul and they brought their niece and nephew and their father and their grandfather so I had a whole generation of the family there and they said they were all fans,” Sayer said.
“To get your head around something like that is really something.
“There are plenty of people at the show from my generation and maybe even older than me who have loved the music but then there will be 20 year olds or even younger than that who have gotten into my music through their parents or grandparents and then they discover that they really love it too.”
He said it’s something he, and other prominent Aussie music legends including Daryl Braithwaite, Jimmy Barnes and Ross Wilson, are all experiencing.
Something that we did in those days was really good, we made good records.Leo Sayer
“I don’t think any of us expected to be working like we’re working now, because we are all working more than ever,” he said.
“It might prove that our generation of music is still as relevant today as it was in it’s own time and that’s something that none of us ever expected.
“Something that we did in those days was really good, we made good records.
“I think that’s why the fame has carried on, because the records were good, they were timeless… they were very special.”
Sayer said the timeless nature of the music from the 1960s and 70s was evident in the continuing popularity of some of the world’s greatest music legends.
“Our generation is the biggest selling thing,” he said.
“The music we make, our age and all of those things about us performers from our genre and our generation still very relevant in this age.
“Look at the following of people like Springsteen, McCartney and the Stones and Elton and look at the response to David Bowie’s passing.
“Kurt Cobain, Lou Reed, even Jimi Hendrix – they’re heroes and the heroic element of music is stronger than ever.”
Sky is the limit
With 46 years and counting of constant hits since Silverbird’s release, Sayer’s career is like a good whisky – only getting better with age.
The musician said a number of factors keep his passion for his career red hot, even decades on.
It’s a passion that still rages and has never really died – I’m still trying to prove that I can make a better record and put on a better show all the time.Leo Sayer
“I look at Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney and Elton John and think of them as inspiration because they’re still as hungry as ever and still enjoying what they’re doing,” Sayer said.
“I’ve been able to find a creative expression and making that my life and making people happy… why should we stop?
“Your peers are always trying to out-do you and it’s very competitive – Ross Wilson or Joe Camilleri will release a new record and I’ll say ‘I can beat that’ and they’ll be thinking the same thing about me.
“That’s what keeps us going – we’ve never lost that competitive trait since the 60s and 70s when we all first started out.
“It’s a passion that still rages and has never really died – I’m still trying to prove that I can make a better record and put on a better show all the time.”
Leo Sayer will perform at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre on Thursday, April 4. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit the website.