When Taylor Swift handpicks you to be the opening act for her much-hyped about 1989 World Tour, it means you're something special. And, with a chart-topping debut album Dream Your Life Away (out now) and a standing spot on the Billboard Hot 100, Aussie singer-songwriter James Keogh (better known by his stage name Vance Joy) definitely fits the bill. (His chosen moniker was pulled from Peter Carey's book Bliss, and is based on the father of the protagonist who tells the story.)
With a towering frame a little over six-feet tall and an accent that's sure to make Swifties swoon, the well-read 27-year-old has wooed audiences from his native Melbourne to, most recently, the flower-crown adorned crowds at Coachella. We caught up with the singer at the InStyle offices in between playing two rounds at the Palm Springs fest. Here's an excerpt from our chat:
How was your first experience at Coachella?
Palm Springs is such a bizarre place. I wasn't expecting the grass to be as green as it was—I was expecting it to be a bit more gritty. I was a bit nervous to play there because it's so well-known. There's more hype around Coachella than any other festival.
What bands did you see?
St. Vincent was incredible—she's such a great performer and guitarist, and her dance moves were on-point. Florence was awesome too. She had such a '70s vibe with her white flares. Something felt really vintage and classic about the whole set.
And Drake came on after her, but he was about a half-hour late.
The whole thing is so finely tuned—you know when your time to go on is. A half-hour is a lot of space to fill—he probably knows he's going on at 10:45 but just looks like he doesn't care. I doubt he's just sitting there waiting!
How did you and Taylor connect?
I met her when she was doing a soundcheck at The Late Show with David Letterman, and I was doing a show at Webster Hall. Someone asked me last-minute if I wanted to meet her and her band. She was lovely. I'm really excited [for the tour], because it means playing for heaps of more people. It'll make me lift my game a lot.
Who were you excited to meet at the festival?
It was funny, other bands that I know had all these cool actors, but I didn't have any crew with me. I did see Usher walk in though. It's crazy that this festival has such a culture of famous people coming.
But you've got T-Swift in your corner!
That's true—I've got the number one Ace of Spades.
Watch the video for “Georgia” below, and purchase Dream Your Life Away for $8 from the iTunes Store.