Jack Vidgen – “Inspire”: A New Album

Jack Vidgen InspireWhen you listen to Inspire, you enter the realm of spiritual influence. You hear classics from the ’70s and ’80s that influenced an entire generation-a generation grown older like myself.  These interpretations by Australia‘s Jack Vidgen, whose prowess and vocal skills were evident in his first album, do indeed carry inspirational memories.

I am, however, somewhat disappointed that Vidgen has chosen to sing eleven retro songs. The exception is Beyonce‘s already classic I Was Here, which is a fitting piece for Jack‘s deeper voice — black velvety smooth and mysterious! This song is all about AMBITION with beautifully clear passages by the older teen voice, sounding almost harshly determined in places; traces of sorrow for that which was lost by striving for fame.

Starting with a soulful, confident cover of Michael Jackson‘s Man in the Mirror (from the album Bad 1987), Jack shows off his somewhat deeper voice. But to turn this soul searching, self scrutinizing song into gospel at the end does not appeal to me.

jack inspire an album review The other Michael Jackson comparison from The Jackson Five (1970) is highly interesting. It supports my theory that Jack is actually capable of singing with three voices, not just one! In the original I’ll Be There, Michael’s older brother sings the deeper parts and young MJ belts out the high lines.  In this cover, Jack Vidgen handles both tonal levels gracefully. Jack3Voice is more stylized and versatile. One voice is a boyish sweet falsetto. The second is a creative R+B voice, bending notes, turning almost harsh at times. The third is the new deeper teen voice, below tenor. Michael‘s child voice was a single voice, more rounded, holding notes longer, hardly capable of deep tones.

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Jack carries the over sung What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong-1970) nicely with some special key jumping patterns, but it’s a poor song choice for him as is You’re the Inspiration (CHICAGO-1984-written by Peter Cetera+David Foster), which is another tune for a mature male voice.

In Lean on Me (Bill Withers 1972-album Still Bill), Jack again presents his deeper voice, useful here in a hymn to sharing and friendship. But, again, the gospel improv at the end is not convincing.

Jack Vidgen`s new album – Promo


Another song which is brilliantly styled, but not to my taste, is Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon+Garfunkel-1970). In this Gershwin-like jazzed up version, JV‘s sweet, tender falsetto toggles with the grainier, wide open, clear voice which reaches its limit here; a touch strained, but wonderfully rounded at the end. It would have been more rewarding to me to hear Jack sing the original melody without the trills.

What the World Needs Now (Dionne Warwick-1967 from the album Here Where There is Love) has Jack soaring spritely above a background ladies chorus, in piano lounge-style–hardly the kind of thriller we have come to expect from him.

Jack Vidgen at theskykidcomIn contrast to this, and suiting Jack well, is the Higher Ground cover (Stevie Wonder-Inner Visions-1978), a funky, difficult to master song, which challenges the inner kangaroo. But JV booms it out with aplomb.

What an interesting comparison to make between True Colors (Cindi Lauper-1986-written by Billy Steinberg+Tom Kelly) by Jack Vidgen and the same by another Aussie singer, Jordan Jansen!. Jack‘s version is more refined, controlled, but somehow less emotional than Jordan‘s.  And this song is pure emotion: about seeing someone’s true virtues.

If you don‘t listen carefully to the end of Oh Happy Day (1967 gospel interpretation of an 18th-century hymn), you will miss the highlight of the album: Jack jumping briefly into what I believe is the Whistle Register!! Why the producers have chosen to fade this into oblivion is a mystery to me!! I missed it listening to the first time! Check the 3:24 mark! Turn up your volume! Uncannily, that’s Jack sounding like a dog whistle!

Finally, John Lennon‘s pacifist single and plea for peace Imagine (1971) is wonderfully done with guitar and orchestra tastefully integrated. The tonal quality of Jack‘s voice is brightly audible and upfront here, clearly amazing to hear.

My final comment about Inspire is double-edged. On the one hand, there are many entrancing vocals on the album that confirm Jack as a brilliant singer. On the other hand, to truly inspire is to risk going forward with original material. That is my hope for Jack Vidgen‘s next album.


  1. ive been listen to your music all night and my friend and ive cried, all night you set my heart on fire and my spirit free. thank you

  2. What I fail to understand is how you guys fail to understand. Of course Jack will be doing his own stuff down the track – that’s a given – timing is everything, and let’s face it, at 16 Jack has time!
    Read my lips – reiterate… Jack… is… currently engaged in co-writing all-new stuff as we speak.

    This was never NOT going to happen. And not like he’s past his prime or something at age 16 FGS.Life is all about timing and at age 16 Jack sure has plenty of that.

    Respect the fact Jack’s people have a firm grip on what they are doing.
    Go Jack – the world is your oyster!Brace yourselves for greater things soon to come… Yet not soon enough for your liking? Mine too. Whatever.

    much love – Lez

    • hey LEZ thanks for commenting. lez–i cant see yer lips,sorry,but you’ve made yer point–! My comment never said Jack was past his prime at age 16,merely that VOICES CHANGE at that age.Fortunately for Vidgen fans,his voice- change has not been that dramatic!

      Nowhere in the article do i disrespect Jack’s management,to get that straight.I was simply disappointed that Jack’s incredible voice was used on a retro album,but maybe that sells in Oz-!

      Compare JV to Greyson Chance or Ulrik Munther-these lads have brought out incredible originals that show their unique style in about the same time period.But i mean if Jack does not choose that direction and sings covers as a showcase Singer,that is fine too.

      Andy Williams,Robert Goulet and many others didn’t sing much original material.We already knew Jack was a brilliant singer,what i found missing in the second album was Jack the creator of new music.But maybe you’re right,we have to wait for that.Everyone’s different that way-! ahoy rjm

    • Hi,I’m a bit upset about these comments and I think there are some things that need to be cleared up.
      1)>I think there was a kind of pressure for making a second album (his new fame and also to do it before his voice changed).
      2)For me it’s pretty obvious that Jack did not have all the support that other singers have like songwriters at his disposal to release original material(at least he got one original called “Fly”on his first CD).
      3>Your comments are annoying for me, you talk as if it was up to Jack alone, like if he was the owner of the record label and also the advertising.
      4)And about Jack as songwriter he still has a path to follow.
      5>Of course he has to and he will do original material, that’s why he traveled to the USA.
      6>The only thing that I agree is on the songs choices,there are a lot of great songs that would sound beautiful with Jack’s voice but anyway I love everything that he sings.
      Please forgive my english ’cause I’m not anglo speaker but I got a little help.Thanks.

  3. lam from canada ;
    l would like get jack vergen cds what fine singer;
    never somebody sing so well from 14 year old i can his voice,
    utube could tell when i see cd in store in canada l would like
    see his concert come toronto ontario canada iwish him well in
    his sing .

  4. What?? why do you disappoint he chose 11 retro songs!! It’s AMAZING! He’s uniquehe wants to sing GOSPEL!! it’s what his voice wants ! it’s what he likes to sing, is the perfect genre for him

    • No question that he’s unique and amazing,but there is only one gospel type song on this album.The rest are songs which have been heard countless times.My disappointment is simply that Vidgen has not shown us a unique direction,a personal belief,an individual inspiration.The types of songs he chose to win AGT were ROOF-RAISERS;these are jaded jukebox tunes from Moms generation.Its not like there is an absence of fresh original songs for him to choose from,if he doesnt care to create his own.I mean its fine to sing a retro album,or gospel or whatever; but to be innovative is to strike out new ways and themes and risk presenting original material.Look at David Bowie,Elton John,Michael Jackson to name a few!! these were artists who went their own individual ways with new music and new ways of presenting that music. They werent just splendid voices-they were creators!Jack’s voice is an expiring miracle,which is why i think he should bring those inspiring smash original hits NOW–he can do a RETRO at 25 or later.My best wishes and thanks for your comment-rjm

    • I agree. Do not get me wrong, I was and am still very impressed with his vocal talent. It is fine to do covers, but what Jack really needs is some talented writers to write him some original music which are hits.

      I strongly believe he should get in touch with great writers and try and release a hit in the USA.

      Yes I am was a fantastic song. His one line which he wrote is something he added of ‘him’in it.

      However if he truly does not work on creating hits of his own he will have a short lived career. At best i would say one or two years left.

    • thanks chris–glad you agree–with so much talent he needs to present some inspiring original creations-rjm


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