Clint Peloso

Dan Sultan Talks Letting Music Take a Look Into His ‘Beautiful, Little Space’

The thoughtful family man and Aussie artist that is Dan Sultan is supporting Vance Joy on tour and hitting up Central Park tonight, Wednesday, August 30.

“The worst thing is that I only get to spend a few days,” Dan Sultan tells us on a call ahead of his Central Park supporting slot with Vance Joy, “I’ve been quite a few times, so I know it’s just such an amazing place and these shows are really exciting. We’re playing some incredible places, and to be playing at Central Park, which is such a beautiful spot… wow. I’ve researched the events at the Summerstage and it just looks amazing. It’s a nice time of year to be playing there.”

He’s right – as of the time of this writing, the evening is looking at being 72ºF with few clouds and an indescribable astrological phenomenon. The Super Blue Moon, which won’t be seen in our skies again until 2037, is taking center stage in the sky opposite Sultan and Joy. It’s really setting out to be a comfortable, bright, and not too warm night in late-August for these storytellers.

Storytelling is what Dan Sultan does better than ever before on his new record, the self-titled release from earlier this month. We talked about how his journey as an artist, and the way he expresses such through song, can be inspirations for other artists with narratives they are itching to put out into the world in some form or another. “I think it is that aspirational thing again to want to write a song and make work. I’ve been making art just for me, just for my family. I’m so grateful and so lucky that I get to go and write a song with people that I love – a song that, at the start of the day, didn’t exist. Then, at the end of the day, I get home to my beautiful family. I’ve got little kids – four and almost two – and so when I get home and there’s a brand new song, I put it on and we dance in the kitchen to it. It’s just so incredible to be able to have that. I am so lucky,” he says with an evident smile in his voice.

“For me, once [a song] is out, it’s really none of my business anymore. That may may sound a bit dramatic or sound a little bit brutal, but it’s really peaceful and really beautiful. Then, down the line, I am speaking to Debra in New York one day and she’s talking about how it resonates with her and it’s an amazing thing. The song will tell you what it wants to be and the work will tell you what it wants to be. That is inspiration in itself. The biggest job as a creative is understanding that you’re a bit of an antenna. You need to be listening, and sometimes my ears do work better than my eyes and with that I’m finding a really beautiful and inspiring time. At the moment I’m hearing things very clearly and I’m able to make work that I’m really in love with and am very proud of because of it.”

He collaborated with Julia Stone on one of his best, and most successful, songs to date – a gorgeous song called “Fortress.” Like much of his new album and his discography thus far, it is bold in heart, simply in message – much like the early work of Coldplay or the laidback alternative stylings of Beck. Stone herself has an air of ease around his harmonies and lyricism, as well, and Sultan echoes our thoughts on how he and her are singer-songwriter match made in heaven. They are not only co-writes and collaborations now, but longtime friends, as well. “Julia is an incredible artist and writer, as I said, and she certainly has a huge capacity for empathy. That being said, any chance to have her write anything and work with her on anything is an opportunity I’d never miss. I was really fortunate that she was interested in the first place, and then for her to actually go away and write something for the song… I think it gives it some real ownership for her, which I think you can hear in the performance.”

“I think as an artist and a writer and certainly a performer, you don’t always have to have experienced the things that you’re singing about or speaking about, but the capacity for empathy is just essential. You have to be able to feel it, truly feel it, I think in order for it to be a worthy performance. Certainly with something so personal for me as a song like ‘Fortress,’ which is a song about the home, basically, you put it out there and the business of your life is out there for everybody. Someone could feel that way about this song – about them getting home to their family or even just getting home to their favorite cereal,” he laughs. “Whatever it is, after a long day of work, after you they lock the front door and you’re home and you turn their phone off, the art is going to be relating to someone else in some new way, for them. in my case my being home to my beautiful little family, listening to demos at the end of a day’s writing session, and having a dance party in the kitchen. Whatever it is, you know, it’s out there. You have to feel it as other people will.”

Going back to these shows and this stateside tour, which is fairly far from his family back home in Australia, Sultan admits that while he misses his homeland that gets him and his music, he is excited to come to New York and more. “I’m really looking forward to it. From what I can tell, certainly from back home, Vance has a real listening crowd, as well. There are lots of different ways to listen to music, of course, and it’s such a beautiful thing. It’s so personal to the individual, but I love singing and I love songwriting. I’m really looking forward to one of the best things about having a gift of songwriting: singing in a way that you’re able to share it, s for one reason or another, it sort of alluded me to opportunities like this up until now, but you know, I’m really looking forward to it. Vance Joy a great guy. His crowd is tuned in like mine. He and his team and his band are really good folks. It’s gonna be a nice night.”