Xavier Rudd is quickly becoming a force of nature in the music industry. An Australian native with aboriginal ancestry, his one-man movement promoting traditional Australian music, culture and environmental awareness is picking up speed all over the world, complete with songs that include the historical yidaki (or didgeridoo), soulful vocals, sweet guitar strums and nature sounds.
"Ever since I was a kid, I've always been really inspired by nature. I grew up in the bush and I've always spent time gaining inspiration from the earth. Naturally, I [write] songs about that. The spirit of our land comes up through me and comes out in music,” he says. “It's definitely the music of the earth."
In talking with Xavier, it becomes apparent that reviving the traditional, aboriginal music of Australia and bringing it to a world besieged with pop culture is an important motive behind his folk tunes.
"The spirit of our culture comes from song. It was all song, a traditional song of the people,” he says. “The spirit of the land was always song. It was the way we would exchange [information]. In a way, I'm doing a modern version of that."
Aside from just making music inspired by nature, Xavier says he's helping make a difference on a broader level. “I've seen some great results from what I do,” he says. “There's the balance of respect for indigenous culture in our country, and that's slowly growing from a culture that was very, very oppressed." While Xavier's views on nature influence his career, so do his audience and fan base.
"I'm very blessed that I have really good people come to my shows. Always good, conscious people all over the world," he says.
And the free-spirited, tie-dye shirts he always seems to be wearing (when he's not going shirtless)?
"A lot of people give me shirts—just different people on my travels,” he says. “And quite often they're tie-dyed."
Though he does list the beautiful shows he's played all over the world as some of his greatest accomplishments, Xavier talks about experiences he's had out in nature first. "I was adopted into a clan in Northeast Arnhem Land, and that was a huge honor. It's the place where the yidaki [was created] 6,000 years ago,” he says. “I was [also] awarded the Sea Shepherd Rock the Boat Award. That was a big honor; I really respect that organization."
When we asked Xavier what Salt Lake fans could expect from his show, he responded in typical blunt, Australian humor:
"They can expect to shake their booty."
Xavier Rudd plays at The Depot in Salt Lake City in June 3. Click here for tickets.