BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE
If ever there was an artiste who pushed the boundaries for success and chased it with the vigour and passion of a man possessed, you cannot go passed Alston Koch, one of the best musicians not to have received due respect or recognition in his adopted country, Australia.
With US Congresswomen Diane Watson and Diane Cook at the G.O.D awards ceremony in New York
Yes, controversial as this may sound, in selective Australia, he has from time to time being given a limited window of opportunity to promote himself on Australian TV and Radio. But the acknowledgement has been so few and far between that music buffs in Australia today would quip, Alston who??. This, despite the huge successes he has had on the Arias and other recognised mediums of the music industry all over the world in the past few decades.
If we had to look at things in perspective, and on the bigger scale, yes, the ‘Grandpa of Pop/ Rock/ Disco’ is now in his mid 60’s, although you could never tell by just looking at him. But he recently shocked the Australian, in fact the world music scene by producing a chart busting release,”Dont Funk with me” which rocketed up the charts till it reached number two and number 18 on the Aria charts in Australia and was even good enough to be used at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne viewed by millions worldwide.
The publicity he received for it was almost negligible, but being the determined battler he is, the Sri Lankan born singer has carried on undeterred landing contracts with Sony Lifestyle and several other top labels dating back to Casette and Vinyl to confound his sniggering critics here in Australia. Outside of home, Alston Koch is widely respected for his contribution to music, acting, and his huge role in charitible organisations and Environmental isues.
He has received numerous accolades for his active role within these organisations which has made him the globetrotting superstar from Down Under. He has mixed with Royalty, moved with world leaders and entertained millions throughout a career spanning over four decades.
Despite the highs and lows, Alston Koch remains the consumate gentleman of the industry always at hand to promote an event or propogate a cause. His affable nature has endeared him to thousands worldwide making his success no mystery to his adoring fans.
A flashback to the 70’s would reveal that it was Alston Koch with his popular band Dark Tan that introduced Disco music to a mostly Rock’nRoll and “Country and Western’ oriented Australia at the time. Their hit “Disco Lady” was a massive hit worldwide and gave Australia recognition as the album claimed Platinum.
He did have regular stints in TV with Australian icon Bert Newton’s Morning Show and Donnie Sutherland on Channel 7 during the time ‘Disco Lady’ and ‘Island in the sun’ were big hits in Australia which spanned an on an off appearance for 14 years.
Most recently, Alston Koch was honoured at the United Nations headquarters in New York as ‘The World Artist of the Year’ in the prestigious 2nd Annual Global Officials of Dignity (G.O.D.) Awards, presented by We Care for Humanity (WCH).
Alston at the United Nations to receive his G.O.D award.
The G.O.D. awards is the leading International recognition honouring excellence of individuals who have outstanding civic and charitable stewardship, and have significantly improved the quality of life in their communities through their expertise and talents in the fields of diplomacy, business, economy, philanthropy, and entertainment.
Alston Koch was honored at this humanitarian summit as ‘The World Artist Of The Year’. The Daily Telegraph and News Ltd in Australia & the Southern Hemisphere along with the biggest selling monthly ‘Woman’s Day’ tagged Alston’s recent chart success as ‘The Good News Chart Success Story of the year while the international media and the music industry dubbed him as ‘The Funk Master and “The Grand Pa of Trance’ amongst other accolades.
“I am truly blessed to have been selected although this was not an award for just my musical prowess but also for the humanitarian things done and my musical commitments in the wake of misfortune like the Tsunami (MTV worldwide concert and broadcast for UNICEF with international stars Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson etc., where I was a presenter…Indonesian LIONS Club concerts throughout Indonesia & Asia when my song ‘Try Again’ was eight weeks at No 1, The America’s Cup Album etc., and the first music video to appear on MTV before it went worldwide after 1986).. And then when everything should have been related to the past, my album hitting No 2 in a recognised music chart at age 67 when I am not on a first name basis with the world or for that matter my hometown…. So I was blessed, he says.
Alston Koch needs no introduction to the world of music. He has captivated audiences and dignitaries from around the globe and was once Asia’s Pop Guru. And that was not so long ago. Among his other achievements was his induction into the Grammy Foundatation as a privilege member meaning he gets to vote on the nominees for a Grammy Award.
Having migrated to Australia in 1970, he now lives with his family at his new Beverly Hills home in U.S.A. where he is being given due recognition for his efforts. He is still very much Australian, based in Blackrock, in Melbourne’s affluent suburbs, but finds the USA as an ideal launch site for his music and other interests.
Just to prove that his talent is not one-dimensional, Alston Koch took on the challenge of acting, landing a role in one of the most famous murder stories that came out of Sri Lanka which is being filmed as a movie by well known Hollywood Director Chandran Rutnam.
Playing the lead role in, ‘According to Mathew’, an upcoming 2014 film directed by Chandran Rutnam set for release later this year, Koch stars as Rev. Father Mathew Pieris, an Anglican pastor of the Church of St Paul the Apostle, in Colombo, Sri Lanka who was convicted of the double murders of his wife, Eunice Pieris, and Russel Ingram, the husband of his lover.
His co-star in the movie is Bollywood starlet Jacqueline Fernandez another Sri Lankan born, who has taken the financially lucrative Indian film industry by storm.
The movie is expected to be a huge success.
With the legendary Joel Diamond producer of Englebert for 25 years, Helen Reddy, Gloria Gaynor, Al Martino etc 2 Grammy nominations & 35 Gold records later to work with me.
A review here in Australia described urban singer/ songwriter Alston Koch as having already found success abroad with new single ‘Trees of Babylon’, released to Australian radio. “It’s got to the ears of the producers of a new movie ‘The Vicarage Murders’ (a real life story about a priest who was jailed for killing two of his congregation) who have shortlisted it as a theme song. “I’ve had other songs used in films and peace campaigns but this is the closest I’ve got to Hollywood,” quips Koch who made a comeback with ‘Don’t Funk With Me’ which hit #16 on the ARIA chart and spun in clubs in Europe and Asia.
And just when all other Grandpa’s think retirement may be a good option, Alston, whose contribution to the music industry has not gone unnoticed in the US has landed a 10-year contract for the production of background music for movies and advertisements. This in itself is a fantastic effort.
Alston’s son Fredrick has already launched himself as a top actor in Hollywood appearing alongside world famous, Sir Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross in “A common man”. His Daughter who goes as Ramona Dee is a popular singer in Australia making it a success story for the Koch family all round. Pity the media here have less interest in his success.
With Sri Lankan superstar Mahela Jayawardene
Alston and wife Yolande in Dubai
Alston the actor as Fr. Matthew Peiris with Bollywood star Sri Lankan Jacqueline Fernandez.
Alston in “According to Matthew”