Listen: Stan Walker chats to Laura Bennett. (Audio and article thanks to Hope 103.2)
The last time Stan Walker graced our screens, we learned about his fight with cancer in the ‘STAN’ documentary.
He told viewers about the family gene that’s killed at least 25 others in his line, walking the path of diagnosis and recovery with cameras one step behind. Stan’s mum was also there, battling a breast cancer diagnosis, while sharing the journey with her son. It was an emotional yet hopeful watch, as Stan and his Mum faced the beast that is cancer.
We watched as Stan started to value his body, and the need for self-care. He also questioned the future of his career, and whether he’d still be able to sing. The moments of triumph we witnessed as Stan gradually found his voice after surgery, have now culminated in a victorious return to the stage.
Five years since he last performed in Australia, Stan is taking his New Takeover II Tour across the country in August, and couldn’t be happier.
Speaking with Hope 103.2 Stan said emerging from cancer and regaining his strength was the end of a two year season of emotional and mental wilderness, that’s left him excited about what’s ahead, and feeling like he’s been “born again in a whole new way”.
“I can’t wait to get back out with my fans,” he said. “It’s like when you get a new car [I want] to show everyone, ‘This is how fast it is, this is what it can do, this is it’.”
New EP’s Message of Love After NZ Mosque Tragedy
Being back on stage also carries fresh significance for the New Zealand native, as Stan shares the story of his latest EP Faith, Hope, Love and its message to the victims of the Christchurch mosque attack.
“When everything was happening,” said Stan, “it was a shock for the whole world, but especially for New Zealand. To see something we see on TV that’s [usually] on the other side of the world, [happening at home].”
Where many people turned the tragedy into a verbal slanging match; Stan wanted to do something very different.
“Instead of people coming together to have compassion and to mourn, people started using a massacre and death, as an opportunity to express their point of views,” he said. “I didn’t know what to [use my platform] to say, and I asked God, ‘What do I say?’ [Then] I realised music is the perfect tool to bring healing, to bring hope, to encourage people, and to break down barriers.”
“This was a moment we had to be ultimate reflectors of Jesus. Not reflectors of what we want.”
After the attack in Christchurch Stan believed, “this was a moment we had to be ultimate reflectors of Jesus. Not reflectors of what we want. We had to get out of the way and let Jesus shine.”
The conviction in Stan’s words isn’t incidental. Soon after his cancer recovery, Stan made a very clear decision about how he’d approach the rest of his career. He vowed, “Never ever am I going to let nobody [sic] tell me how I should, when I should, with what I should, with who I should… I’m going to do it on my terms, when I want to and how I want to. Not in an aggressive way, but [I’m not] going to wait on someone to tell me I have permission.”
He also credited fans who supported an independent tour in New Zealand for helping him find his focus again.
“So many times in my career I’ve wanted to give up, and I’ve wanted to just leave it, and I’ve hated music and I’ve hated the industry. But [during those shows] I remembered why I started doing this. I remember[ed] why I was called to do this… I’m here to sing people back to God.”
Part of the proceeds from Stan’s Australian tour will go towards cancer research at the Peter Mac Cancer Centre in Melbourne, which Stan credits for saving his life.
Stan’s ‘Faith Hope Love’ EP is out now; his Australia tour starts August 10 on the Gold Coast. Tickets at Ticketspace.