Ask the Icon


Age 27
Famous for starring in the musical Les Miserables as Marius and in Shout! as Johnny O'Keefe; one of the most successful Australians on the New York cabaret scene; discovering at 12 he was Jimmy Barnes son
Status single - after a long on-again off-again romance and engagement to singer Natalie Mendoza
Lives in Sydney
Favourite hangs Betty's Soup Kitchen; Sips Cafe, opposite the Capitol Theatre; BBQ King; eating Peking Duck with the cast of Shout!
Starsign Leo

Q What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you on stage?
I'm really clumsy and I fell on my bum in Melbourne during a performance of Shout! I did this big run and a banana-peel fall and
there was me on my bum in front of the whole audience. But northing too much embarrasses me. I tripped up the stairs yesterday afternoon and everyone's like "David fell over again".

Q What's the most unusual job you've ever had to hold down?
I sold hardware in a store in Adelaide. I would make up little fantasy stories to sell things, such as saying 'my wife and I just bought this
barbecue and we had a party and cooked on it on the weekend'. And the customer would buy it. Iwas only about 17 and I only did it
for about two months.

Q Are you a goal setter or do you just let things happen in your career and life?
I let things happen, but then in the past six months I've been setting goals. It's an interesting shift for me, taking charge of the career. I think I realised I was 27 and I wanted to work harder and achieve more. It obviously felt right to start doing it.

Q How fussy are you about what you eat, and what's a typical day in your diet?
I'm not as fussy as I should be, but I try to eat as much as I can because of the show. I have a bowl of Sustain for breakfast. I used to have soy, but I've started to go back to regular milk because my body's just craving it, so I'm giving it what it wants. For dinner I try to eat a rice or pasta dish and I try to eat something after the show, so I end up having four to five small meals a day.

Q How hard is it to do eight shows a week given that the part of Johnny O'Keefe is so physically demanding?
Sometimes it's harder than I think. It catches me by surprise at times. I have just been doing the show with the flu and I got over it half way through a show and I realised I'd been performing below normal.

Q What is your favourite culinary indulgence?
Seafood, like prawns and lobster. I can't always afford it, but when I can I love it.

Q The show must keep you pretty fit, but what do you usually do to keep yourself fit and in shape?
I exercise regularly, but not at the moment. The show's a three-hour marathon I do every night and I'm finding it hard to keep the weight on as it is, If I wasn't doing the show I'd do ashtanga yoga at Yoga Moves in Paddington and work out at the gym.

Q What really fascinates you at the moment?
Music fascinates me, and sodoes silence, which is ironic. It sounds self-centl:ed, but I like sitting down before a show and searching
for where I can pull out the energy and enthusiam from what I did last night.

Q What's the most romantic thing that you've ever done?
Getting engaged, three years ago. I did it in a very unromantic way - over the phone. I was going to see Natalie and didn't want to see
her without her being engaged to me. (The pair announced their split at the end of 1999, saying career commitments were to blame.)

Q Which performance have you done that's had the most impact on you?
There's a couple. We did a performance a couple of rrionths ago for Australia Day and the whole audience sang Advance Australia Fair with the company and we felt we were walking on air afterwards. I had never felt so proud to be an Australian since the Olympics.

Q Do you feel greater pressure: from your father or your peers?
I didn't feel great expectations from my father. He just wants me to do my best and push myself hard. He says if you don't push yourself hard you're not being artist. It's about change. It's about evolution. I probably feel more pressure from my peers - 'what's he doing now?' - but then I ignore it.

Q What are you doing when Shout! finishes in May?
I'll probably feel a bit lost for a week and then think I'll start work on a new album. I can never sit still for too long.

Sydney Sunday Telegraph - April 22 , 2001