If you’ve spent any time in Australia over the past couple of years, you’re more than familiar with the internet’s obsession with Shannon Noll. Internet users have happily turned the former Idol contestant into a living meme.
It began innocently enough, with a couple of images shared on Facebook, but before you could say ‘That’s what I’m talking about’, the whole thing had metastasised into thousands clicking ‘Attending’ on every one of Nollsy’s gigs.
Oh, and the memes kept on coming, along with remixes and mash-ups and petitions to get the ‘What About Me?’ hit-maker onto music festival lineups. Savvy musicians began capitalising on Nollsy’s renewed fame for social media points.
But in all the chaos, the one man who remained silent was Nollsy himself. Sure, he said he’d love to play Groovin The Moo if they’d have him (they wouldn’t) and even made tongue-in-cheek digs at himself on Instagram, but he kept shtum otherwise.
That is, until now. Speaking recently to News Corp, Nollsy has finally come out and openly discussed his meme-born career resurgence, revealing that he loves the new attention he’s been receiving and the new opportunities it’s given him.
“They’re not just saying ‘interested in coming’ on Facebook, they’re making the effort to get out from the computer and come along to the shows,” Noll told News Corp, opining that many of the fans coming to gigs remember him from his Idol days.
“It seems to be reigniting the fanbase that might have been fans when they were young kids, then they got older and cooler but now it’s cool to be into me and they know all the songs they grew up with, not just ‘What About Me?’”
Noll admitted he was a little hurt at first, but eventually found the funny side of all the memes. “It was a concern at the start, and I spoke to some people who said ‘Even if 50-per-cent are taking the piss then 50-per-cent of something is better than 50-per-cent of nothing’,” he said.
“Some of the stuff they’ve done is bloody brilliant and very clever and very funny. I reckon half of the kids putting together these memes need to be on my marketing team! They’re not being offensive towards me, they’re genuinely funny.”
“I’ve done my time where what people were saying about me on social media wasn’t positive. Where people used to enjoy taking the piss out of me or having a go at me from behind the computer screen now it feels like it’s cool to be in my corner.”
“My wife reads some of the Facebook comments out to me in bed sometimes! A lot of people come to my Facebook just to read those comments… I don’t take it too seriously, but that kind of support is wonderful and it’s been a game changer for me for sure,” he continued.
Nollsy is looking to carpe the diem, too. He recently signed to Warner Records and is in the midst of penning what will be his fifth album, collaborating with the likes of Busby Marou. He’s hoping his internet fame will give the record some traction.
“I’m finally with a label that are going to put their best foot forward and be involved,” he said. “We’ve come up with some really good themes for songs, I just want to get it finished and get something out there and hopefully these online fans will like it.”