Anniversary celebrations don’t come more spectacular than what’s coming to Human Nature later this week.
On Wednesday night (Nov. 27), the Australian vocal group mark-off their 30th year in showbiz. And they do so on the evening of the 2019 ARIA Awards, an event that sees the Sydney outfit inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
“It actually is bang on it,” says Phil Burton of the serendipitous moment that awaits. “Bankstown Town Hall. That was our first gig. It was a schools regional concert. We got together and sang ‘Earth Angel.’ Yeah, such a small beginning. We didn’t have any kind of dream about where this would take us, it was just one song, one concert and enjoying it. We just built it after that very organically, which is a really great thing. That’s one of the things why we’ve been together for 30 years, there’s been a lack of pressure right when we started. There was no pressure to succeed right off the bat.”
The foursome of Burton, Toby Allen, and brothers Andrew and Michael Tierney spent several early years building their profile in their hometown before signing a career-changing record deal with Sony Music Australia. “That organic start kept us going for the past 30 years, for sure,” Burton recounts.
For the past ten-and-a-half years, Human Nature have called Las Vegas home, as headliners in residency. It was a risky move, but it injected new energy into the group.
“Taking the gamble and coming to Las Vegas, that gave us a new lease on life on our career at that time. We’d done a lot of tours in Australia. What really needed to happen at that point was to get out of the Australian industry, step away from it,” he tells Billboard.
Burton and his bandmates haven’t lost their Aussie accents, but they’ve gained an appreciation for the Vegas Golden Knights hockey franchise, (“we all have our Golden Knights caps and jerseys,” he says. “Everyone seems to have fallen in love with that team”), Halloween and the Thanksgiving holiday.
After three decades, during which time they’ve amassed 2.5 million album sales, performed at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, landed four No. 1 albums and earned Order of Australia medals, presented in January of this year, Human Nature are still grounded and enjoying the groove they’re in.
“We’re not dreaming of world domination anymore,” Burton says with a laugh. “You do have those smaller, incremental dreams which keep you going, to have those little moments where you can look forward to the next project and how successful it might be, that’s a really great driving force.”
At the Star Event Centre on Wednesday night, Human Nature will be elevated into the Hall alongside other greats of the Australian music scene, including AC/DC, INXS, Nick Cave and others.
“It’s fantastic. It’s not really one of those things you work towards but when you hear the news it really is amazing to look back and think of the things you’ve done to get to that point,” he says. “We’re really over the moon.”