The YolÅ‹u superstarÂ Baker BoyÂ (Danzal Baker) relishes keeping people on their toes. Today, heâ€™s revelling in a nostalgic side with his first single since 2021’s acclaimed debut albumÂ ‘Gela’. The dancer, rapper and singer has reimaginedÂ Bernard Fanning‘sÂ acoustic folkÂ Wish You Well as a feel-good hip-hop anthem alongside the Powderfinger frontman himself.
Only in April, the Fresh Prince Of Arnhem Land went viral with his high-energy rendition ofÂ Blur‘s Song 2 for triple j’s Like A Version. Mashing up the Brit-pop classic with the Baha Men‘s Who Let The Dogs Out (shook!), Baker Boy flowed in his YolÅ‹u Matha tongue and played Yidaki. The dynamo’s take on Bernard‘s vintageÂ Wish You Well â€“ which memorably topped the 2005 triple j Hottest 100 â€“ reaffirms his ability to individualise any style.
Baker Boy instils the bittersweet Wish You Well with his characteristic positivity and communal perspective, putting the mosh into mush.Â “Wish You Well is a break-up track, but it’s all about spreading that love,” he explains. “The original isn’t really usual for Baker Boy â€“ that vibe. So I wanted to kind of make it into a story where I can also apply it differently and make it YolÅ‹u flavour. It’s not just in a romantic way, it’s about sharing the love â€“ whether it’s your partner, whether it’s your friends or familyâ€¦ It’s also for the people that are having a hard time right now. I just wanted to spread some love through music.”
Baker Boy did find it “daunting” to reinterpret “such an iconic Australian hit”, but was assisted by ‘Gela’ producerÂ Pip NormanÂ (Troye Sivan, Odette) â€“ proclaiming him “100 per cent a genius.”
Baker Boy continues.Â “It’s Bernard from Powderfinger and a national treasure, you know? So it was crazy. I was just freaking out a little bit. Then I jumped on a call with him. It was so, so amazing to do the track and make it into a Baker Boy track as well.”
And Bernard is enthralled by this fresh, and very contemporary, duet incarnation. “Baker Boy’s music is so full of energy and excitement that I was very happy to collaborate on a new take on Wish You Well”Â he says. “I love the spirit of this new version and am so glad it’s taken such a different musical tack but maintained the buoyancy of the original. It’s the first time I’ve worked in this way, but I found it so easy because the ideas coming from Danzal and Pip were so good.” Â Â
Five years after he broke out with the empowering Cloud 9 and winning the first of successiveÂ National Indigenous Music Awards; Baker Boy is a pop culture phenom, amassing overÂ 55 million streams globally.Â In 2021, he received anÂ Order Of AustraliaÂ (OAM) medal. That October, Baker Boy aired ‘Gela’ â€“ a chronicle of identity and personal growth â€“ led by the ARIA Gold jamÂ Cool As Hell.
A triple j Feature Album,Â GelaÂ landed atÂ #3 on the ARIA Albums Chart and was included in prestigiousÂ ‘Best Of The Year’ listsÂ (cue: The Guardian Australia, Tone Deaf, NME, Junkee, AU Review, Yamaha, Double J, Beat, Broadsheet) and nominated for the Australian Music Prize. Over summer, the festiveÂ My Mind, featuringÂ G Flip, became Baker Boy‘s latest entry in the Hottest 100, whileÂ Ride,Â with a soulfulÂ Yirrmal,Â was shortlisted for theÂ APRA Song Of The Year.
Additional accolades includedÂ striking coversÂ on NME Australia, The Big Issue, Spectrum (Melb, Syd),Â featuresÂ in Rolling Stone Australia, The Music, Pilerats, radioÂ album featuresÂ on 3RRR, 4ZZZ andÂ tonnes of support across playlistsÂ on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music and Soundcloud.
Following a triumphant slot at the 2021 AFL Grand Final in Perth, Baker Boy had to reschedule his biggest national tour due to pandemic logistics. Eventually hitting the road in April was a “mindblowing” experience. He’s even previewed Wish You Well live to gauge the response. “I just get goosebumps by standing and listening to everyone go, ‘Ahhh!'”
Lately, Baker Boy has embarked on his inauguralÂ North American tour, with dates in Los Angeles, New York (heading up Sounds Australia‘s fabledÂ Aussie BBQÂ Showcase atÂ Summer StageÂ in Central Park) and Toronto. In July, he’ll return toÂ Splendour In The GrassÂ and come November, Baker Boy will join theÂ Queenscliff Music FestivalÂ â€“ with additional shows to be announced.
Wish You Well feat. Bernard Fanning is out now – LISTEN / STREAM HERE
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With thanks to Island Records Australia