Stan Walker reveals brutal truth behind Australian Idol win in new book

In this exclusive extract from his candid new memoir, Impossible: My Story, Australian Idol season seven winner Stan Walker reflects on trying to outrun the “Idol curse” in that whirlwind first year in the music industry.

There was no time to bask in his win as his first album, single and video had all been rush-released to fans. Almost immediately, Walker faced a tough new challenge: To beat the odds and turn a TV talent show win into a lasting music career. As he writes below, it was no easy feat.

“Australian Idol, basket of dreams. The whole experience was the highest of highs. But don’t let anyone tell you reality TV is easy. It ain’t. It’s a marathon and a sprint all wrapped up into one.

“Over those months, my life changed completely. Gone — wiped out completely — was the kid working in the menswear shop. I was off on my new path. Idol threw me in the deep end of the music industry, very like when my dad chucked me in the deep end of the swimming pool when I was four. Sink or swim both times. Lucky I was tough because it ain’t no place for the faint-hearted.

“I learned everything on the job: everything from stagecraft to media work and everything else involved in leaping from nobody to star, from singer to artist.

“And the horrible truth is, winning something like Idol puts you straight at the top, it definitely does, but the fall can be just as fast, and it goes all the way to the bottom. Can you imagine that? One minute, people saying you’re a star; the next, you’re nobody again. I was determined that wouldn’t happen to me.”

Walker writes that he quickly realised he needed to direct his own future, as “it didn’t matter if I had the greatest voice in the world, in the end it would be down to how much I was prepared to work for my career”.

He compared winning Idol to “the first kiss in a relationship” and his life afterwards to figuring out how to make the relationship work.

He wrote that the process of making his album Introducing Stan Walker was “such a rush” that he only heard it the day before it hit shelves.

“Literally, everything was non-stop … during that first busy time I was always asking God for strength,” the artist wrote.

Walker revealed that after Idol, he questioned what was next for him.

“This is the blessing and the curse of shows like Idol. They make dreams come true, but they also stamp an identity on the winner that’s very hard to change.”

Walker previously spoke to Newstalk ZB’s Jack Tame about his struggles with identity, revealing he was told to be “less Māori” in Australia.

His new album and his book are expressions of his identity as an artist and an individual, he says.

– Additional reporting, NZ Herald

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