The festivities for the 30th anniversary of the ARIA Awards were announced earlier this month, which immediately sent us down a YouTube nostalgia hole, watching old performances, acceptance speeches, and Hall of Fame inductions.
And from 1999 to 2004, one name kept popping up again and again and again – Alex Lloyd. Ultimately, the winner of four ARIAs, Lloyd was nominated for Best Male Artist (among other accolades) five times, taking home three of those gongs.
The Sydney native’s 2001 sophomore album, Watching Angels Mend, dominated the following year’s ARIA Award nominations, receiving noms for Best Rock Album, Highest Selling Album, Album of the Year, and Producer of the Year.
But following the release of Lloyd’s eponymous fourth album in 2005, the acclaimed singer-songwriter seemingly disappeared from the spotlight. And without explanation, too. Alex Lloyd was anything but a flop, ultimately earning platinum certification.
So where did the hit-maker behind songs like ‘Amazing’ and ‘Coming Home’ go? Well, let’s rewind the clock.
Lloyd was born Alexander Wasiliev and grew up in the Sydney suburb of Balmain. Whilst in high-school, the budding rock star, who was already competing in local Battle of the Bands competitions, changed his surname to his mother’s maiden name in tribute, following her unexpected death.
After gigging around with indie rock outfit Mother Hubbard, Lloyd struck out on his own, penning songs for what would ultimately become his debut album, Black The Sun. The album came out in 1999 to critical acclaim and commercial success.
Black The Sun was voted the album of the year by triple j listeners, made it into the Top 10 of the ARIA charts, was nominated for several ARIA Awards, and was certified platinum. Lloyd’s debut began a pattern that would be repeated on the singer’s subsequent albums.
It was the follow-up, 2001’s Watching Angels Mend, that turned Lloyd into a bonafide star of the Australian music scene. Propelled by the immense success of ‘Amazing’, a song the became a ubiquitous presence on television for the next few years.
In addition to topping the Hottest 100 as well as the New Zealand singles chart (it peaked at Number 14 on the Australian chart), the single was used in advertisements for the Ford Territory, as well as two other advertisements.
The song netted Lloyd a nice payday, which truck driver Mark O’Keefe claimed partly belonged to him. In 2008, O’Keefe filed a lawsuit against Lloyd, claiming he co-wrote ‘Amazing’ with a 16-year-old Lloyd on “a series of beer coasters” in 1991.
Nothing eventuated from the case and Lloyd at one point claimed that he’d never even met O’Keefe, and by then ‘Amazing’ had become instilled in the collective consciousness of Australians as Lloyd’s signature tune.
Lloyd followed-up the double-platinum Watching Angels Mend with 2003’s Distant Light and 2005’s self-titled album. Both albums were certified platinum and Distant Light nabbed Lloyd another Best Male Artist ARIA Award nom.
If you ask most casual fans, the story ends there. A self-titled album and the Balmain hit-maker with the golden voice disappeared from the limelight, and whilst this is partly true, Lloyd was not simply resting on past accomplishments.
His self-titled album was followed-up just three years later with the independently released Good in the Face of a Stranger and Lloyd has since kept busy with a relocation to London, a move back to Australia, and writing for other artists.
“I pretty much became a family man but I didn’t mean to lay low,” he recently told News Corp. “I was writing for other artists and put out a couple of independent records but I didn’t really promote them so I kept on being asked when I was going to put another record out.”
“Maybe I dropped the ball a little bit but I enjoyed taking my kids to school and being around for them a lot; I got really lucky having four awesome kids.” Lloyd is currently on the campaign trail, promoting new album Acoustica.
The album sees Lloyd reworking 12 of his classic songs and he’ll be touring the album next month. “It was certainly something I’d thought of doing before,” Lloyd said of the acoustic rearrangements in a statement.
“This project came along at a perfect time for me,” says Lloyd. Doing these recordings really helped create a spark in me – it’s been great to re-address these songs, and I’m really happy how it’s turned out.”
Having written one of Australia’s most instantly recognisable songs, netted his share of awards and critical acclaim, and topped the Hottest 100, there’s no doubt Lloyd’s pretty happy with how his career’s turned out too.