‘One of the most challenging times in my life was when my mum died when I was 23 – it was a really devastating thing – particularly at that age.

‘I write most of my work from personal experience. My new album (“Eternal Return”) was written at a time when I was falling in love so I was trying to capture the joy and the openness of that.

‘Both the difficulties I’ve gone through as well as the highs in my life have inspired what I’ve done.

‘The most important thing I think for a musician is to listen to their own instincts because there are a lot of people who have opinions about what you should do and how you should do things. I’ve always found when I’ve followed my own gut; it’s always worked out well for me. That’s all you can really do.

‘There have been only a few times where I’ve gone against my gut instinct but luckily only with minor things. It’s always kept confirming to me that no one knows what’s best for you, more than you do.’

‘The big change for me was that I lost my dad. It was over two years ago. He was a doctor and he’d been in the same community for over 30 years. He did quite well for himself and he had a lot of stuff and all the things that come with that.

‘But when it was all said and done, the thing that made the biggest impact on me was they had a big memorial for him and they had the biggest hall in our small suburb in Newcastle. I turned up and there were just crowds of people in the streets out the front who couldn’t fit inside.

‘I realised that that’s the only thing you’ve got is the impact you’ve had on other people’s lives. It’s not about all the money that you earned and all those successes and that was just a huge change for me. From that day, I went down this path.

‘Looking at what I’m seeing today shows to me that there is definitely the interest out there for people to be able to come together for many different reasons to express themselves. I just like to bring a little bit of happiness to people’s lives in some way, help the community and be part of it. I hope that then creates a domino effect of people helping each other. Something I’ve always lived by is to be the change in the world you want to see.’

COMMUNE founder, Sam Ali.

‘My friend took his own life about 3½ years ago. That was really sad – it was a hard thing to go through. We were really close. We were supposed to actually hang out the day he did it but our plans got cancelled.

‘I was completely shocked. I didn’t think he’d actually ever do it. He talked to me about it. I was trying to help him through it a bit so I felt a bit responsible and a bit guilty but that passes. Things happen and people have talked to me about it so I feel a lot better now but yeah, just completely shocked.’

If you could go back in time, what would you say to him?

‘I would probably go over there and hang out with him that day and tell him how many people cared about him and that we miss him and that it would be different without him there because it’s definitely different.’

What would be your message to other people who may have friends in a similar situation?

‘Make sure you’re there for them and don’t take it lightly. Even if you don’t think they’re serious, just talk to them about it. They’re obviously doing it for a reason. They need someone to be there for them. Either way you have to make sure you’re there.’