Shannon Noll (born 16 September 1975) is an Australian singer-songwriter who first came to prominence as runner-up of the first season of Australian Idol in 2003, which led to him being signed to Sony BMG. He has released five top ten albums, including two number-one multi-platinum sellers. Noll's first ten singles all peaked inside the ARIA top ten, including three that reached number one. He is the only Australian male artist in Australian chart history to have ten consecutive top ten singles. Noll's debut single "What About Me" was certified 4× platinum and became the highest selling single of 2004 in Australia.
With 17 platinum and three gold certifications and combined album and single sales of over 1.3 million in Australia, Noll has the third highest certification and sales level for an Australian Idol contestant. Noll has received six ARIA Music Award nominations, including Best Pop Release for his second album Lift, and has won five ARIA No. 1 Chart Awards. He also won the MTV Australia Video Music Award for Best Male Artist three years in succession between 2005 and 2007. In 2010 Noll ended his contract with Sony and signed with Universal Music Australia.
Noll was born on 16 September 1975 in Orange, New South Wales to Neil and Sharyn Noll. He grew up in the small town of Condobolin in central western New South Wales as the youngest of three children with his older brothers Adam and Damian. Noll spent his entire childhood and teenage years on the family farm, which raised sheep and cattle and grew cereal crops. At school, Noll enjoyed drama classes and performed in school productions. After leaving school, Noll travelled to Sydney where he met his wife Rochelle Ogston and played AFL. As an adult, Noll worked shearing sheep among other tasks. He and his brothers formed the band called Cypress (named after the Cypress pine timber mill where they rehearsed). Noll provided vocals and played guitar. In gigs around the Australian outback, the band played in country pubs. Although they performed mainly covers, the group also wrote original music. Noll's father Neil was killed during a farming accident in 2001, which left the farm to him and his brothers. After two years of extreme drought, Noll leased the farm out and got by on drought support money and odd-jobbing on a friend's farm. Noll penned a song on his album Lift titled "Now I Run" in his father's memory.
2003-04: Australian Idol and That's What I'm Talking About:
In 2003 Noll successfully auditioned for the first season of Australian Idol, singing Southern Sons' "Hold Me in Your Arms". His audition impressed all three judges, including Marcia Hines who told him that she had just discovered "a voice" and Ian Dickson who informed Noll that "Australia will love you". Following the semi-final process, Noll had advanced through to the top twelve. He eventually progressed through to the grand final with Guy Sebastian, following contestant Cosima De Vito's withdrawal from the competition. The grand final was held on 19 November 2003 at the Sydney Opera House. After the viewer votes had been tallied it was announced that Noll was runner-up to Sebastian.
Shortly after Idol Noll signed a five-album deal with BMG Australia, which later merged with Sony. He then embarked on the Australian Idol national tour in January 2004, with eleven other contestants from the top twelve. That same month Noll released his cover of the Moving Pictures song "What About Me" as his debut single. It debuted at number one on the ARIA Singles Chart and spent four consecutive weeks at the top spot. "What About Me" was the highest selling single of 2004 in Australia and was certified 4× platinum for shipments of 280,000 copies. The song also reached number two in Ireland and number ten in New Zealand. Noll's debut album That's What I'm Talking About was released on 9 February 2004, and debuted at number one on the ARIA Albums Chart with first-week sales of 131,680 copies. Containing a mixture of pop, rock and country tracks, the album spent fourteen weeks in the top ten, including four weeks at number one, and was certified 5× platinum for shipments of 350,000 copies.
The second single "Drive", an uptempo rock track written by Canadian singer Bryan Adams, reached number four in Australia and was certified platinum for shipments of 70,000 copies. Noll's cover of boy band A1's "Learn to Fly" was released as the third and final single from That's What I'm Talking About. It became his second number one single and was certified gold for shipments of 35,000 copies. Noll received two nominations at the 2004 ARIA Music Awards, including Highest Selling Single for "What About Me" and Highest Selling Album for That's What I'm Talking About. He embarked on his first solo headlining tour titled The Overdrive Tour in April 2004 to promote the album. In August 2004 Noll starred in a TV special on Network Ten titled Up Close with Shannon Noll, which was hosted by Ian Dickson. By late 2004 the Nine Network had approached Noll to re-record the Australian cricket anthem "C'mon Aussie C'mon" with updated lyrics. His version peaked at number two and was certified platinum. All proceeds from the single went towards Red Cross' Good Start Breakfast Club, a community initiative set up to ensure all Australian school children start the day with a healthy breakfast.
In early 2005 Noll went on a songwriting trip to the United States and the United Kingdom to work on his second album with Desmond Child, Dianne Warren and Wayne Hector. Noll later decided not to use any of the material he wrote with Child and also passed on a song by Warren because he preferred his work with local Australian songwriters. Throughout February and March 2005, Noll opened for Bryan Adams on the Australian leg of his Room Service Tour. His second album Lift was released on 16 October 2005, and debuted at number one. The album, with 11 out of 13 tracks co-written by Noll, covered topics including finding love, death, overcoming odds and self belief. It spent nine weeks in the top ten and was certified 3× platinum for shipments of 210,000 copies. The lead single "Shine" also debuted at number one and was certified platinum. The album's title track and second single "Lift" peaked at number 10 and was certified gold. It was later chosen as the theme song for the Australian version of reality series The Biggest Loser. Two further singles were released from the album, "Now I Run" which peaked at number six and "Lonely" which peaked at number eight. Noll received two nominations at the 2006 ARIA Music Awards, including Highest Selling Single for "Shine" and Best Pop Release for Lift. He embarked on his second solo headlining tour titled the Lift Tour in January 2006 to promote the album.
Noll was set to star in the film King of the Mountain, based loosely on the life of Australian racer Peter Brock, but he declined the offer. In September 2006 Noll dropped Sydney firm Caplice Management and signed with New York-based management group Worldwide Entertainment Group (WEG). The decision was seen as part of Noll's effort to gain success in the US, after having previously put on showcase performances for music industry executives with no luck. He supported American rock band Live on their Australian tour the following month. In December 2006 Noll and Natalie Bassingthwaighte released a cover of the Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush duet "Don't Give Up" which peaked at number two and was certified platinum, after spending eleven consecutive weeks in the top ten. It served as the lead single from the compilation album Home: Songs of Hope & Journey, which was released to raise funds for beyondblue's depression research activities. "Don't Give Up" earned Noll a nomination for Highest Selling Single at the ARIA Music Awards the following year.
2007-09: Turn It Up, No Turning Back: The Story So Far and What Matters the Most:
In September 2007 Noll made his theatrical debut as Parson Nathaniel in the Australian tour of the stage musical, Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. Noll's third album Turn It Up was released on 15 September 2007, and debuted at number three and was certified platinum. Noll had traveled to the US earlier that year to work on the album with several songwriters and producers, including Richard Marx, Luke Ebbin and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora. The anthemic rock tune "Loud" was released as the lead single from Turn It Up and debuted at number three. The second single "In Pieces" reached number 26 while the third single "Everybody Needs a Little Help" did not chart. Noll embarked on his third solo headlining tour titled the Turn It Up Tour in June 2008 to promote the album.
Noll was honoured in an episode of the Australian version of This Is Your Life. His first compilation album No Turning Back: The Story So Far was released on 27 September 2008, and debuted at number seven. The album included ten of Noll's hit singles and five new tracks. Noll's cover of the Brian Melo song "Summertime" was released as the only single from the album and peaked at number 54. He embarked on his No Turning Back Tour to promote the album's release. In June 2009 Noll again appeared as Parson Nathaniel in the UK tour of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. Noll's second compilation album What Matters the Most, featuring songs from his previous albums, was released in the UK to coincide with the tour but it did not chart. Two of Noll's previous singles, "Shine" and "Now I Run", were re-released to accompany the album's UK release. He returned to Australia the following month for his acoustic In the Raw Tour, which featured a special Q&A session with host Nick Bennett.
2010-present: A Million Suns:
In January 2010 Noll announced that he had parted ways with Sony, adding that it was time for a fresh start elsewhere. He later signed with Universal Music Australia and released his fourth album A Million Suns on 14 October 2011 which debuted at number eight. The lead single "Switch Me On" was co-written by Benji Madden of Good Charlotte, and its music video was filmed in Tokyo. "Switch Me On" reached number 42 and was certified gold. Three further singles "My Place in the Line", "Living in Stereo" and "Rewind" all failed to chart. Noll embarked on his A Million Suns Tour in 2012 to promote the album. In April 2012 Noll became a contestant on the twelfth season of Dancing with the Stars Australia and was partnered with professional dancer Elena Samodanova. He was forced to withdraw from the competition the following month after suffering a severe spinal injury while rehearsing a lift with Samodanova.
Noll released the single "Man I Can Trust" on 1 October 2012 to coincide with the release of his autobiography Shannon Noll: So Far, which he wrote with Sydney writer Alan Whiticker. The book explores Noll's early days on the family farm, the pain his family suffered following his father's death, his depression and drug usage, as well as the battles he waged against his critics and the music industry. From November 2012 to February 2013, Noll embarked on his In My Youth Tour which featured him performing acoustic covers of songs from the '80s that were chosen by his fans. In late 2013 Noll became the featured promoter of South Australian retailer Radio Rentals and its sister brand RT Edwards in Queensland. The commercials for Radio Rentals and RT Edwards featured Noll singing the Roy Orbison hit "You Got It". He embarked on his Invincible Tour in February 2014 and performed a mixture of old and new songs. Noll released "We Only Live Once" in July 2014 as the lead single from his next album, but it did not chart. The single's music video featured an appearance by Miss Universe finalist Renae Ayris. Noll embarked on his We Only Live Once Tour in September 2014 to support the single's release.
Noll has to date donated well over $1 million to various charities throughout Australia. Most notably he donated the earnings from two of his platinum singles "C'mon Aussie C'mon" and "Don't Give Up". Noll additionally makes appearances and personally raises funds for charities.
Noll regularly appears in fundraisers for 'Movember', a foundation that supports research into Testicular cancer. Noll's involvement with the organisation began in 2006 with the first of three bouts of cancer, with the last ending in 2014 after a successful Orchidectomy operation.
Noll married his long-time girlfriend Rochelle Ogston at St Peter's Church in Cremorne, New South Wales on 2 October 2004. They have two sons Cody (born 2001) and Blake (born 2002), and a daughter Sienna (born 28 September 2006).