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What do Australia’s favourite Dwarf, a six foot inflatable earth ball, and 28 Days guitarist Simon Hepburn have in common? They all star in Melbourne singer-songwriter, John Trager’s quirky music video “I Don’t Wanna Wake Up!”
For indie solo artist John Trager, growing up on a small farm in Talbot, Victoria with parents 27 years apart in age, provided him with a unique perspective on the world, displayed in his confronting and honest lyrical style.
He first discovered his passion for performing at the age of 10, when he started singing in country music talent quests. By his teens, inspired by the song writing of John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Daniel Johns and Darren Hayes, Trager joined his first rock band, Tantrum. During the next ten years, Trager fronted several Victorian bands with minor success.
His desire for a life in music was fueled by experiences of performing in front of 10,000 at Rod Laver Arena as Rock Eisteddfod Battle of the Bands State Runner-Up; touring regional Victoria as receipt of a $20,000 Arts Victoria touring grant; and appearing on ABC’s Fly TV playing to 5,000 at Moonee Valley Race Course as Push On Battle of the Bands finalist.
After overcoming severe depression in 2008, Trager quit his 9 to 5 job, sold his house in the country, packed his life into a suitcase and headed for the city to chase his dreams. He quickly found work as an MC in strip clubs along King Street, but the environment created more darkness in his life as documented in the song “My Addiction To You”.
After several shifts he finally found peace in St Kilda, moving in next door to one of his teen rock idols, Simon "Hep" Hepburn “guitarist for Aussie punk rockers 28 Days. Many beers and jam sessions later, Trager built up the courage and played Hep his solo material. Impressed by what he heard, he encouraged the young song writer to record an EP and supported the project by appearing in the video for his debut solo single “I Don’t Wanna Wake Up!”
Recorded by talented Melbourne engineer and producer, Michael Zammit at Airwaves Recording Studio, and mastered by Grammy nominated song writer and ARIA Hall of Fame inductee, David Briggs (Little River Band) at The Production Workshop; Trager’s debut EP “Pop Songs & Panic Attacks!” is available worldwide.
In July 2011, John was awarded “Best Song Writing” for his track “Emergency Lover” at the National Music Video Mash Up Awards held at The Tivoli Theatre in Brisbane. The prize for winning was 2 days recording, mixing and mastering at Studio 301 in either Sydney or Byron Bay.
In 2012, Trager and Zammit flew to Byron Bay and mixed his second EP “The Dark Road” with gifted young engineer, Jordan Power (Lady Gaga, Powderfinger, The Living End). The EP was mastered by Leon Zervos (Rihanna, Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy) at Studio 301, Sydney and features the singles “Watch The World Implode (feat. Neda Esmaili)” and “Crash Like A Butterfly”.
During 2013, Trager took a hiatus from music but continued working on new material. After hearing about the passing of 18 month old Blake Gordon-Cooke, from childhood heart disease and other complications, he wrote “Let Your Angel Fly”. Touched by the song Blake’s parents, Di & Paull, worked with the songwriter and released the track in February 2014 as a charity single to raise funds and awareness for HeartKids, an organisation providing support to children and families dealing with childhood heart disease.
In October 2014, two years after recording “The Dark Road”, the songwriter will make peace with his demons and release the deeply personal record. Documenting his battles with depression, anxiety, suicide, substance abuse, an unstable relationship and the death of his father, Trager said putting this record out and into the universe was an extremely difficult decision.
“I’d written a collection of songs I was really proud of, but due to the confronting and dark nature of the lyrics, I was anxious about how my family and friends would react,” he said.
“In the end I thought I shouldn’t hide from these experiences, hopefully the songs connect with others who may be struggling with their own issues and it helps them find strength to confront their own personal challenges”.
“The Dark Road” will be released digitally worldwide on the 31st October, but is available for pre-order on iTunes from the 1st of September and comes with a 7 page digital booklet and bonus track "Let Your Angel Fly". Pre-order customer will get immediate access to the first single "Watch The World Implode (feat. Neda Esmaili).