1980s FLASHBACK: Sydney artist Donny Benet.
1980s FLASHBACK: Sydney artist Donny Benet.

'Sexiest man in music' is back

HAILED by music critics as "Prince on a serious budget cut", Sydney artist Donny Benet is a mix of pop and retro vibes that will make you want to grow a mullet... again.

We had a chat to the musician ahead of his Byron Bay show, part of his Back Again tour, following the release of his fourth studio album, The Don, earlier this year.

Where did you grow up? What bands did you listen to when you were a teen?

I grew up just outside of Sydney.

Growing up in the 1990s as a teen I was unashamed to admit I was into Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but only Blood Sugar Sex Magik and albums before!

Once I got a job, I listened to a whole bunch of funk and jazz fusion.

Grunge just didn't do it for me - as a bass player I was naturally drawn to funk - Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham, Paul Jackson.

1980S FLASHBACK: Sydney artist Donny Benet.
1980S FLASHBACK: Sydney artist Donny Benet. Jade Cantwell

What do you think your core audience is?

Anyone who wants to come and have some fun at a show, let their hair down and leave their ego at the door!

Your lyrics are sometimes a bit risqué... is that a reflection of your personality?

They have changed over the years.

These days I'm more about self-improvement and being a more sensitive lover.

Your music has a characteristic 1980s flare to it... are you a disco tragic?

It's a particular period I'm into music and production wise.

1982/83 seems to be the hot years for my taste.

1980/81, they're just getting into drum machines and by 84/85 everything sounds the same.

I own and use a lot of classic and iconic synthesizers from that period, and at times the music will have a certain nostalgic sound to it.

What is the most 1980s thing you own and still works?

A 1982 Statesman Caprice. It's beautiful.

Is there an interesting story behind the song Santorini?

So many stories!

Santorini is a picturesque island full of romance and intrigue...

Well not really! It's the first stop for most tourists wanting a Mediterranean wedding.

In the case of the song, the couple are trying to re-ignite the fire of love that has gone out long ago due to the stresses of work, life and selfishness.

By taking a trip to the island. they hope to restore their marriage, but unfortunately it doesn't work out.

Do you think the way you look, your sense of fashion and your dad bod (from another proud dad bod owner and operator) gives you an edge compared to other music acts?

Most definitely.

In Australia, I'm always inundated with festival offers, radio spots, television roles and fashion shoots.

Audiences don't want to look at beautiful, flawless performers -they just want to realise what they can achieve if they put their mind to it.

It's all about being fit on the inside - one needs to take care of their psyche, their self-esteem and their confidence.