Primary Instrument: Vocalist
Art must be a matter of life and death otherwise it’s not art is the sincere conviction of Louie. And so is I will never retire, I will probably die on stage but I do not give a f**k! One thing the Viennese Electro-crooner does not go for is doing things by half. Whatever he does is done with his fullest commitment and often regardless of the consequences. Admittedly, this reckless attitude has gotten him into serious trouble time and again. And yet it also made him what he is today: a man who finds himself an upcoming and sought-after artist whose career has not yet reached its climax.
There is a lot going on in the life of Louie Austen: Touring all around the globe, the recordings of 2 EPs just a few months after he had released his latest album Iguana on internationally renowned klein records. Having a singer part in a new adaption of the Nestroy play Höllenangst at the Viennese Burgtheater, regularly swooning and crooning at the Marriott hotel in Vienna and collaborations - like only now with the cool cats of Senor Coconut whom Louie recorded a cover of `Dreams (Are My Reality)` - the classic from the La Boum movie soundtrack. In 2007 Louie founded his own label LA Music - a division of klein records - where he will release his future records on and beware he is already working on a new album, to be released next year.
Time for a flashback. In 1999, the bustling Viennese Electro scene gives birth to a new and surprising idea. A Viennese electronic producer contrasts his experimental electronic tracks with the velvety voice of Louie Austen. He had run into the classic jazz crooner in a studio and immediately proposed a collaboration.
Austen, then 53 years old, had already led an eventful life in various parts of the world and could look back on an equally eventful performing career. After immigrating to South Africa and Australia he had performed in clubs and on stages in New York, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas during the 70s. After his return to Vienna, the crooner entertained the guests at the Klimt-Bar of the Vienna Hilton before he took over the entire entertainment for the Marriott Hotel. A safe job and well paid, too. Additionally, Austen wrote and produced shows like Viva Las Vegas or American Superstars, played parts in several movies and toured both Europe and the USA with show programmes.
Yet Austen is intrigued by the electronic beats and sounds of the young generation. When the first album Consequences (1999) is well received in the club scene and the first concerts turn out promising, Louie makes a courageous decision. I decided there and then to resign from all other jobs and to completely dedicate myself to this new project for a period of two years, he recalls. I reflected that, if I’d find myself in the street after those two years, I’d have to go back to my old jobs. But I wanted to try out this new direction under all circumstances I simply had to.
It was a decision that was true to the nature of a man who sees himself as always searching and filled with a childlike curiosity. Who is always ready to accept new challenges and gladly accepts the fact that not all of them can pay off. But Austen simply abhors routines and artistic stagnation. To try something new every single day that’s what keeps me alert and on the ball, young and active.
Naturally Austen wasn’t prepared to terminate the experiment after two years. Instead he collaborated with Viennese electronics pioneers on two more albums, Only Tonight (2001) and Easy Love (2003). Austen appreciates that his involvement with electronic music was a stroke of luck for him. A very special phase of my career began when I was 53, he gratefully acknowledges, from which my life has enormously benefited over the last years, since I can perform my own songs and find an audience for them. His new music allows Austen a transformation from a pure entertainer, who assumes the roles of those he pays tribute to, into an artist in his own right, no less. I’m quite grateful for having followed my instincts back then, despite the fact that some of my friends tried to dissuade me, he says retrospectively. Part of Louie Austen’s appeal lies in the fact that he has not entirely discarded the entertainer in this metamorphosis. He brought many things along for the ride, and his know-how of how to entertain with verve and how to put on a great show, his charm and charisma, and the style of the urbane entertainer he had cultivated so long serve him equally well in the electronic underground. He is a mediator who mixes various genres, some of which were previously regarded as incompatible. For several years now he has managed to resolve alleged contradictions and break down prejudices jazz and dance beats, advanced age and youth culture, smart style and underground. In a way I stand for a kind of reconciliation`, he describes his unique position, `a bridge between old and new or between young and old.
And indeed, Louie Austen does have a talent for bridging differences, which makes his role in the music business all the more important. And that’s not all Louie Austen even has the ability to dispel existential angst. Now that I’ve seen you, so many young people tell him after a show, I’m no longer afraid of growing old. It’s hard indeed to imagine a better compliment than that.
Louie Austen could brag about having the most contrasting musical career of all - he has a voice and lounge panache that could give even Sinatra a run for his limo --CLASH
Lounge wizard Louie Austen resembles nothing less than your devilishly dashing bachelor uncle. His English is straight out of a Sinatra comedy and his conversation is littered with `50s showbiz expressions. --DAZED & CONFUSED
Hail the birth of Croonwave! Enjoyed best with a great deal of alcohol, a mirror ball, many (drunk) friends, and ladies. You'll want to pack an extra pair of panties to throw on stage. Yeah, Louie's that hot. Just ask Peaches. --PROPERLYCHILLED
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