HIP hop star Illy has certainly taken a “high risk for high reward” approach to his music of late.
It could be the only way to describe his recent collaborations ranging from hip hop giants Hiltop Hoods, to R and B star Daniel Merriweather, to hardcore frontman Ahren Stringer of The Amity Afflcition.
It has worked a treat, however, for the fan favourite, with his 2013 album Cinematic reaching No. 4 on Australian charts, headed up by the singles Youngbloods (featuring Stringer) and the latest release Tightrope (featuring Scarlett Stevens of San Cisco).
“It’s the most ambitious work I’ve done and these are the biggest risks I’ve taken, but I believe they’re the strongest songs I’ve written,” he said.
Now Illy – whose real name is Al Murray – is preparing for what he calls the biggest gig of his life – closing out the Triple J One Night Stand concert in Mildura.
“I cannot wait, I’m really looking forward to playing in Mildura,” he said.
“I’m probably lucky I’ve had Groovin The Moo on, or else I would have been like a little kid ticking off each day as it it approaches.
“Just seeing songs come to life (performing live) and hearing people sing them back to you, it’s an absolute privilege.”
Illy – who holds a law degree – has been a hot ticket item at the Groovin The Moo festival following his successes over the past few years.
These include Youngbloods and his “Like A Version” Aussie Music Medley which reached 77 and 66 respectively on the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2013.
Earlier singles Cigarettes (number 35 in 2011) and Heard It All (76 in 2012) have also been hits on the Triple J airwaves.
Illy said the feedback he has received for Cinematic has been “awesome”.
“It’s always nerve wracking when you put new material out there in the public, you never know how it’s going to be received,” he said.
“Tightrope has been going off on the tour. It’s good to have a single that can also be a track that goes down really well in a live performance.”
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Thursday's Sunraysia Daily 15/05/2014.