Steven Oliver has been performing since the age of five when his prodigious dancing skills were discovered at Grandma’s backyard barbecues. This was before his own self-discovery of being black royalty (yes he’s a big black queen, and still single if you must know). You probably know Steven from ABC’s hit series Black Comedy, you might already know he’s ‘faboriginal’. What may come as a surprise are his thoughtful, original songs.
Sharing personal stories about family, modern love and choosing to be a recluse after a taste of fame, he sings candidly with affection and humour. With musical direction by Helpmann Award winner Michael Griffiths. Steven answers some questions about the show for Hi Fi Way.
What are you looking forward to most about performing at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival?
Getting to perform my original songs in front of an audience and to see the reaction. Hopefully it’s a good reaction otherwise I’m stuffed!
For the uninitiated what can Cabaret Festival goers expect to experience at your show?
A bit more of the man behind the face I guess as well as some toe-tapping tunes and some things to contemplate. It’s serious yet funny and talks about life’s highs and lows.
Has arts and performing always been something you wanted to do?
It’s all I’ve ever done really. From being 5 years old dancing at family barbecues in my grandparents backyard in Cloncurry to my first job at 14 years old being a dancer/singer in a young talent troupe in Townsville.
Do you feel that you have been able to influence minds and change behaviours with what you have done in your career so far?
I don’t know if I’ve personally done so but I think I’m part of a larger chain of thought that’s been happening. I’ve had some people share wonderful amazing stories with me about my work but my work always comes from my experiences and teachings from others. It’s part of our greater connectedness to each other.
As a nation do you feel are improving when it comes to change?
I think so. Sometimes it can feel like we’ve taken a step backwards when something horrible happens that seems to be a reflection of the time but usually the most horrible things happen because those who are scared of change will go to the extreme to try and stop it from happening.
What has been your proudest moment in your career so far?
I think it would be going to my old high school and being asked to speak at the year 12 graduation ceremony. A lot of my nieces and nephews attend my old school and I was worried they’d be teased about having a gay uncle when Black Comedy aired but it turned out to be the opposite experience and it showed to me that humanity and people can be amazing when given the chance and that’s something that made me proud.
Interview By Rob Lyon
For show dates and times to Steven Oliver’s show “Bigger And Blacker” head to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival website.