Rai Thistlethwayte

Last updated

Rai Thistlethwayte
Rai Thistlethwayte 2.jpg
Born (1980-04-21) 21 April 1980 (age 41)
NationalityAustralian
Other namesSun Rai
Years active2000–present
Known forLead singer and primary songwriter in Thirsty Merc

Rai Thistlethwayte (born 21 April 1980) is an Australian rock, pop and jazz musician and songwriter. Thistlethwayte is an accomplished pianist, guitarist, and vocalist. He is the lead singer and primary songwriter in the Australian pop rock band Thirsty Merc. Since 2004, Thirsty Merc have released a string of hits in the Australian Music Charts including "In The Summertime", "Someday, Someday", "20 Good Reasons", "Those Eyes", "Emancipate Myself", "Wasting Time," "My Completeness", "When The Weather Is Fine", "The Hard Way", "Homesick", "Mousetrap Heart", "Tommy And Krista" and "All My Life". He is currently based in Los Angeles. As a solo artist, Thistlethwayte performs under the name 'Sun Rai.'

Contents

Early life

Thistlethwayte was born and raised in Sydney, New South Wales, and attended Beaumont Road Public School then Knox Grammar School. Born into a musical family, he started learning from his mother, a classical piano teacher, before his fifth birthday. His father, Ian, is a language teacher and a bass player and guitarist who played bass in a Sydney-based band called 'The Plebs', which formed under the name 'The Centaurs' in Sydney in 1963.

Early music career and influences

In his early teens, Thistlethwayte listened to classic rock and early metal, then blues and jazz. He started writing songs around the age of 15. After finishing high school in 1997 he was awarded a scholarship to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he commenced a Bachelor of Music in jazz piano in 1998.

Some of his early musical influences are listed as The Beach Boys, Buddy Holly, Deep Purple, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Iron Maiden, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Prince, Frank Sinatra, Joni Mitchell, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson and Claude Debussy.

After a year at the Sydney Conservatorium, Thistlethwayte came to the attention of, and signed with Columbia/Sony in the United States. He released one single, Give a Smile to the Planet, which was released in Australia in mid 2000 and peaked just under the top 40 and completed an album, which was released as a promo but was eventually shelved. This particular label relationship appeared not to have flourished, but ended amicably.

Thirsty Merc: 2003–present

In 2002, Thistlethwayte formed rock band Thirsty Merc and was subsequently signed by Warner Music Australia after their self funded release of their EP First Work. Thirsty Merc subsequently released three successful albums, their self-titled debut Thirsty Merc, which sold twice platinum in Australia and received four ARIA Award nominations, and Sideshows that has reached Platinum status. Thirsty Merc released their third studio album in June 2010 Mousetrap Heart with the title track as the first single, and the hit 'Tommy And Krista' and 'All My Life' being released as singles. Thistlethwayte and the band's live performances are known for their high energy and strong musicianship. The "Mousetrap Heart" era led the band to numerous tours, the largest being an extensive, multi city and regional tour of Australia and New Zealand. This tour was called the "Rock Your Socks Off Tour" and ended in mid November 2011.

Sun Rai

Thistlethwayte performs solo under the artist name 'Sun Rai.' From April to May 2009, Thistlethwayte toured the Australian east coast as a solo artist for the first time, where he simultaneously played bass with his left hand on a synthesiser, keyboards with his right hand and sang simultaneously, along with Matt Smith (guitar) and Al Hicks (drums). He played a second run of shows at the end of 2011, this time purely solo. In July 2012, Thistlethwayte commenced a national Australian headline tour. He moved to Los Angeles in mid 2012. In late 2012 he started performing under the name 'Sun Rai' (pronounced "Sun Ray"), mainly around Los Angeles. [1] In 2013 he formed a new Facebook page for Sun Rai [2] and started releasing music through his own social networks, usually using a 'pay what you want' business model. [3] In June 2013 he opened for Norwegian one man band, loop pedal artist and soul singer "Bernhoft" around the United States and Canada. [4] He opened for ZZ Ward in Atlantic City. [5] He played a late night set after "Puss in Boots" (an all-female group featuring Norah Jones) at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City in June 2013. [6] His debut release as Sun Rai, a four-track EP entitled 'Pocket Music,' was self-released on 4 June 2013. [7] Track 1 from Pocket Music, 'San Francisco Street,' has been played extensively on KCRW [8] and featured on blogs such as 'Filter Magazine.' [3] His music was also recently featured during the second season of House of Lies. He toured the United States and Canada in October and November 2013 opening for Danish indie-pop songstress "Oh Land". In January 2014, Sun Rai collaborated with jazz drummer Ben Vanderwal at Sound Baker Studios in Perth, Western Australia. They primarily tracked live in the studio, and recorded an EP entitled 'Escargot.' It was released independently in April 2014, and subsequently the two artists embarked on a successful Australian tour, playing two nights at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club in Melbourne, Venue 505 in Sydney, Smith's Alternative Bookshop in Canberra, and also a sold-out show at the Perth International Jazz Festival in June 2014.

Jazz

As well as his work in rock and pop, Thistlethwayte has performed in a number of jazz combos with many Australian jazz musicians, including ARIA award-winning guitarist James Muller, American jazz bassist Christian McBride, trumpeter James Morrison, tenor saxophonist Dale Barlow and Phil Stack, who also plays bass in Thirsty Merc. In 2008, Thistlethwayte performed a concert with respected Australian jazz pianist and composer Mark Isaacs at the Brisbane Jazz festival. Isaacs is on record as saying, "It's a well-kept secret that Rai is an outstanding jazz pianist… I consider Rai the most exciting young jazz pianist to emerge in this country in recent years." [9] He has performed solo at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival and twice at the Stonnington Jazz Festival in Melbourne, once in 2011 and 2012. He is also the regular guest keyboardist in the Sydney rock and jazz fusion group "The Subterraneans". Thistlethwayte also writes spoken word prose and poetry, sometimes performing and recording under the name "Michael Albatross". In June 2014, alongside Australian jazz trumpeter James Morrison, Thistlethwayte adjudicated the vocal competition at "Generations In Jazz" in Mount Gambier, South Australia. He also performed there with improvising vocal group The Idea Of North and also James Morrison himself. Thistlethwayte was a participant at the Creative Music Workshop at the Banff Centre, Canada, in 2014, and studied improvised music and Carnatic singing under Aruna Sairam, Steve Coleman and Vijay Iyer. He has also featured as a guest musician with the electronic group Knower, and can be seen performing in the live video clips of their tracks Overtime as well as Time Traveler. [10] [11]

Co-writing, masterclasses and work as session musician

Thistlethwayte co-wrote the song "12 Hours" with The Whitlams' Tim Freedman, album title track "Happy Home" with The Voice runner up Darren Percival (Universal Music Australia), the first single "Goodnight America" (Universal Music Australia) for upcoming female artist 'Sinead Burgess.'

He played piano on two songs for ex-Silverchair drummer Ben Gillies' solo album, was the piano player on the singles "You Won't Let Me", by Karise Eden, "Happy Home", and "In The Blowing Wind" performed by Darren Percival and Sarah De Bono's cover of Duffy's Warwick Avenue for the TV series The Voice. He played multiple instruments on 5 songs for Brian McFadden's record to be released in late 2012: bass, guitar, drum programming and piano.

Thistlethwayte played piano and keyboards on 13 tracks for The Voice Xmas album, for release at the end of 2012.

He composed a short song "Out of the Blue" for 2012 film Eugene, a short as part of A Series of Films with Roman Coppola and the Directors Bureau, put together by vice magazine, W Hotels and ultrabook computers. The song was used as a musical theatre piece in the film, sung and acted by Ben Lee and Sunny Mabrey.

Thistlethwayte has taught masterclasses at The Australian Institute of Music, Lismore University, Claremont College and Blacktown Tafe and has been a mentor in Song Summit from 2010 to 2012, a week-long annual songwriting conference hosted by APRA, of which he is an Ambassador. He attended the 'Bali Songwriting Retreat' in Ubud, Bali, in 2011, along with Bonnie McKee, Delta Goodrem, Nick Jonas and Arnthor Birigisson. Thistlethwayte taught songwriting masterclasses at numerous schools for part of "SongMakers" for APRA, a government funded initiative designed to introduce songwriting into high schools.

Personal life

Thistlethwayte dated Aimee Osbourne, daughter of rocker Ozzy Osbourne and celebrity personality Sharon Osbourne. Thistlethwayte and Osbourne began their relationship after meeting at the 2004 MTV Awards in Sydney. [12]

Awards and nominations

ARIA Awards (2005) nominations:

APRA Awards

Related Research Articles

Jake E. Lee American guitarist

Jake E. Lee is an American guitarist signed to Frontiers Records. He is best known for playing with Ozzy Osbourne between 1982 and 1987 and later in Badlands with Ray Gillen. He formed the band Red Dragon Cartel in 2013. Their eponymous first album was released in January 2014 and entered at no. 69 on Billboard's Album Charts. He has also recorded solo works under his own name—examples being the instrumental album A Fine Pink Mist (1996) and cover album Retraced (2005).

Thirsty Merc Australian pop rock band

Thirsty Merc are an Australian pop rock band formed in 2002 by Rai Thistlethwayte, Phil Stack, Karl Robertson (drums), and Matthew Baker (guitar). In 2004, Baker was replaced by Sean Carey, who was, in turn, replaced by Matt Smith in 2010. Thirsty Merc have released one extended play, First Work, and four studio albums: Thirsty Merc, Slideshows, Mousetrap Heart and Shifting Gears. The band have sold over 200,000 albums, toured extensively around Australia, and received national radio airplay for their tracks.

Bruce Hornsby American musician

Bruce Randall Hornsby is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. He draws from folk rock, jazz, bluegrass, folk, southern rock, country rock, jam band, rock, heartland rock, and blues rock musical traditions.

Im Moving On (Scott Cain song) 2002 single by Scott Cain

"I'm Moving On" is the debut single by Scott Cain, winner of the 2002 Australian Popstars series. The lyrics deal with the singer's decision to end a relationship in which he feels he is being emotionally abused. Backing vocals on the track are sung by Rai Thistlethwayte of Thirsty Merc.

Adam Wakeman Musical artist

Adam Wakeman is an English musician and the current keyboardist and rhythm guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne's band; he also played keyboards and guitar off-stage for Black Sabbath. Wakeman has also worked with Annie Lennox, Travis, the Company of Snakes, Strawbs, Will Young, Victoria Beckham, Atomic Kitten, and Martin Barre.

Jaime Robbie "JR" Reyne is an Australian singer/songwriter and actor.

<i>First Work</i> 2003 EP by Thirsty Merc

First Work is the debut EP release by Australia rock band Thirsty Merc released in 2003, which appeared on the ARIA Charts top 100. It features early versions of songs that the band re-recorded for their studio album Thirsty Merc.

<i>Thirsty Merc</i> (album) 2004 studio album by Thirsty Merc

Thirsty Merc is the debut studio album release by Australian rock band Thirsty Merc released in 2004.

<i>Slideshows</i> (album) 2007 studio album by Thirsty Merc

Slideshows is the second studio album release by Australian rock band Thirsty Merc. It was released on 21 April 2007, through Warner Music Australia. Six singles were released from the album. The first single "20 Good Reasons", became Thirsty Merc's first single to peak in the Top 10 on the Australian Singles Chart. The second single from the album was "The Hard Way", followed by "Those Eyes", which was released as a digital download in December 2007, only later to be released on CD in April 2008. "Homesick" was released as the fourth single digitally, making available for the first time a single mix of the track. This was followed by a double radio release of singles five and six, "The Whole World Reminds Me of You" and "Crying in Denial", both of which garnered highly successful airplay runs in a radio edit form.

20 Good Reasons 2007 single by Thirsty Merc

"20 Good Reasons" was the first single from Thirsty Merc's second album Slideshows. It was released on 17 March 2007 and is to date the band's highest charting single, reaching number four on the Australian Singles Chart and number seventeen on the New Zealand Singles Chart. The song was nominated for 'Song of the Year' at the 2008 APRA awards. The single was also the number one most added track to radio across Australia in March 2007.

Karl Robertson is the drummer for Australian rock group Thirsty Merc. As a founding member from 2002, he has performed on all their releases from First Work in September 2003 to the single "The Whole World Reminds Me of You" in December 2008.

In the Summertime (Thirsty Merc song) 2005 single by Thirsty Merc

"In the Summertime" is a song by Australian rock group Thirsty Merc, released on 11 April 2005 as the third single from the band's self-titled debut album (2004). The track is a tribute to the Australian summer and is a reflection of the laidback Aussie lifestyle. The song reached number 43 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart and is used as the theme song for the Australian television program Bondi Rescue. It was the band's first song to chart in New Zealand, where it peaked at number 12. The song's music video was nominated for an ARIA Award in 2005.

"Wasting Time" is a song by Thirsty Merc, released as their debut single in 2003. It was featured on their debut EP, First Work. Its radio success led to release of the band's debut self-titled album, Thirsty Merc, on which the track was featured. The track's accompanying one-shot video was also a huge hit.

"When the Weather Is Fine" is the fourth and final single released from Australian pop rock band Thirsty Merc's debut album, Thirsty Merc (2004). The song only appears on the 2005 re-packaged version of the album.

"Someday, Someday" is the third single released from Australian pop rock band Thirsty Merc's debut album, Thirsty Merc (2004). The song was released on 22 November 2004 and reached number 19 on the Australian Singles Chart in January 2005.

Ayers Rock (band) Australian rock band

Ayers Rock were an Australian rock band which formed in August 1973. Ray Burton, Mark Kennedy (drums), and Duncan McGuire (bass), members of Leo de Castro and Friends, left to form the eponymous trio of Burton, McGuire & Kennedy. They added a guitarist, Jimmy Doyle, changed their name to Ayers Rock and invited Col Loughnan to join. The group signed with independent label Mushroom Records in December 1973. Burton left the following March, and was replaced by Chris Brown. With live appearances, coverage in print media and word of mouth the group had a high national profile despite little radio airplay, and journalists praised their musicianship, music, and live energy.

Mousetrap Heart (song) 2010 single by Thirsty Merc

"Mousetrap Heart" is the first single from Thirsty Merc's third album Mousetrap Heart. It was released as a digital download on 21 May 2010.

Mousetrap Heart is the third studio album release by Australian rock band Thirsty Merc. It was released on 18 June 2010, through Warner Music Australia. The title track was released as the first single on 21 May 2010. The album marks the band's first release with guitarist Matt Smith, since joining the band just after the departure of Sean Carey earlier in the year.

Matt Smith (guitarist)

Matt Smith is an Australian jazz guitarist. He is most widely known as the guitarist in the Australian rock pop band Thirsty Merc but also plays guitar for Sydney afrobeat/reggae band The Strides. He joined Thirsty Merc in January 2010 after helping record the band's third album, Mousetrap Heart, in Los Angeles in late 2009.

The Fabulous Caprettos is an Australian supergroup consisting of Daryl Braithwaite, Jack Jones, Russell Morris and Rai Thistlethwayte. The band formed in 2020, when they began rehearsing and recording. They commenced touring in 2021.

References

  1. Will Kennedy | Producer. Mixer. Engineer. " Sun Rai & Victor Indrizzo Live at Studio Delux!
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. 1 2 FILTER Magazine – Media – MP3: Sun Rai Bares His Soul: “Till The Lights Come On (Live)” (FILTER Premiere)
  4. Bernhoft + Miracles of Modern Science | Concerts | Time Out New York Archived 16 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ZZ Ward — Atlantic City — Revel – The Social — 14 June 2013 | Songkick
  6. Sun Rai – Chase The Clouds [Live @ Rockwood Music Hall NYC] – YouTube
  7. Independent Music News – RRRRREEVVVIIIEEEWWW // Sun Rai // Pocket Music Archived 1 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Sun Rai: Local Band We Love | KCRW Music Blog
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. Overtime (Live Band sesh) - KNOWER. YouTube . Archived from the original on 11 December 2021.
  11. Time Traveler (Live Band sesh) - KNOWER. YouTube . Archived from the original on 11 December 2021.
  12. "Aimee's Rai of Oz sunshine". 6 June 2005.