Braving the mental health storm, Adrian Eagle is stronger and more creative than ever

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Braving the mental health storm, Adrian Eagle is stronger and more creative than ever

Adrian Eagle
Photo: Clare Nica
Words by Tammy Walters

We chat to the rising songwriter before he performs for Generations, the Immigration Museum’s multi-artform extravaganza.

The Immigration Museum and Multicultural Arts Victoria come together to present an events program that extends the bounds of generations, art forms and perspectives. Titled Generations, the event is a celebration of the diversity within the Melbourne multicultural community and features showcases of dance, music, talks, performance art and spoken word pieces, from a wide array of cultural representative artists.

It all takes place this Saturday October 26, between 11am – 5pm at Melbourne Immigration Museum across five zones. The Long Room will be transformed into a dance, music and storytelling space featuring pieces from MIRAZ, Vasa Pasifika and Allara Briggs-Pattison, as well as a panel session lead by Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent Maxine Beneba Clark, which will deep dive into culture, community and change.

There’s also the Courtyard Stage where everything from Chinese dancers, hip hop dance workshops from L2R to performances from emerging artists Muse and Young Doves will take place. They’ll be performing alongside their mentors Thando, MoMO, and Ror as part of Mushroom Group’s Voice for Change initiative.

If that’s not enough, headlining the day is Australian soul, reggae and hip hop frontrunner, Adrian Eagle. Eagle, who has been inseparably linked to ARIA winning, Australia hip hop gods, Hilltop Hoods, since his contribution to their mega-hit, ‘Clark Griswold’ (and about to support them on their gigantic US tour), will be soaring through a set of his breakthrough, tell-all EP, MAMA, offering a taste of his own upcoming national tour.

“The EP tour is going to be myself and a full band, so there’s going to be no tracks. So it will be a really different experience. So far on this tour, it’s just been me coming out, just with myself and the DJ, maybe piano or a drummer, but the EP tour will be a full show experience.

“But this weekend I will have a limited setup, probably two of my players with me. So it will be a taste but I will still come out and sing to my full capabilities and power through the songs so I’m looking forward to it,” Eagle says.

If Eagle has proven anything over this past 18 months, it’s that he doesn’t hold back. His Like A Version cover of Ocean Alley’s ‘Confidence’ shook station listeners, and his singles, ’17 Again’, ‘A.O.K’ and ‘Housing Trust’ have blown audiences away. In both his music and in general, Eagle has been transparent about his struggles throughout his youth, particularly surrounding his health, with a hope to pass on his learnings.

“I’m still working on myself every day and working on my mental health,” he says. “But I think music is a powerful thing and it can be used in a way to speak to the youth and speak to the community and talk about important issues but it can also be used other ways; it’s a really powerful expression, you know.

“When I got back into songwriting a couple of years ago I felt like I wanted to create music for my baby goddaughters and to pass on things that I have learnt along the way and also the positive reminders for myself to push through and keep on living. It took me a really long time to build up any shred of confidence in myself and have belief to do something I want to do.”

If there’s anything to be confident about, it’s that Adrian Eagle will be taking over the music world in the coming years and he has a more few goals in mind to benchmark that success.

“If I make it on the cover of Beat Magazine, I know I’ve made it. Seriously! But Jay Z would be my dream collaboration – put that good energy out there and who knows!”

Before he becomes besties with Jay Z, see Adrian Eagle take over Immigration Museum on Saturday.

Adrian Eagle comes to Melbourne’s Immigration Museum for Generations on Saturday October 26. Grab your tickets via the Museums Victoria website.