Audio Jimmy Little talks about being an entertainer, 2008

TLF ID R10111

This is an edited sound recording of the Aboriginal singer-songwriter Jimmy Little offering advice about being a successful entertainer. Little says that entertainers must have faith in themselves and sing or entertain to suit the 'mood' of the audience. He suggests that this mood can be changed throughout a performance by the selection of the songs or other means of entertainment. He also states that he aims to enjoy performing, and to share this enjoyment with his audience. This recording was made in July 2008.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This recording outlines the onstage philosophy of one of Australia's most successful Indigenous singer-songwriters. At the time of this recording, Little (1937-) had been performing for more than five decades. His style has varied, but he is known mainly for his country music. His many singles and albums since 1956 include 'Royal telephone', which topped the charts in Australia in 1963. Little has also worked as a stage and movie actor.
  • Little indicates here why he has never used his popularity to sing about Indigenous rights - a position that has been criticised by some Indigenous activists. he says that it is 'no good' singing protest songs to an audience as it would be like pointing a finger at the audience and saying 'I don't like you and don't care what you think about it'. Rather, he says, his aim is to provide entertainment and enjoyment.
  • In this recording, Little suggests that people wanting to be successful entertainers need to have faith that they are 'gifted' or 'multi-gifted', and then find their 'niche' to show their musical, dancing, or other talents to the public in an enjoyable way. He says that 'being different' should not be regarded as a hindrance or a setback.
  • Little is a Yorta Yorta man and grew up in the Cummeragunja Mission on the New South Wales side of the Murray River near Barmah. For many years he was the best known Aboriginal music star in Australia. Most of his musical work has been designed for a general audience and has not referred in any way to his Aboriginality, although some works have focused on it. An example is the album Yorta Yorta Man (1994).
  • Little has received numerous awards for his contributions to the Australian music industry and to reconciliation. One highlight was his induction into the music industry's ARIA Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2004 he was awarded an Order of Australia and named one of Australia's Living National Treasures. In 2005 he was presented with an honorary doctorate in music by the University of Sydney, where he had been a guest lecturer since 2000.

Other details

  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Remarks: Copyright Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Content provider
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 2008
  • Name: Jimmy Little
  • Remarks: speaker
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
Learning resource type
  • Sound
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  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.