Singer Kamahl credits media mogul Rupert Murdoch as being instrumental in his success in Australia.
Speaking on Anh’s Brush with Fame, the Malaysian-born singer recalls being invited to sing at a function in the Adelaide Hills in 1958.
“There were about 80-90 people and the reaction was quite unbelievable. Next thing, this guy rushes towards me, almost like a rugby tackle, takes my hand and puts his hand over it. I looked and there was a 10 pound note. In those days, I would have given people money to listen to me!” Kamahl tells Do.
“A few months later, I saw his picture in a newspaper, saying that this man had bought a television station, Channel Nine. His name was Rupert Murdoch.”
By the early 1960s he was getting front page covers on TV Week, singing classical songs on ABC, and pop songs on Nine and Seven.
“In 1962, Rupert used to come every week to see his investment at Channel Nine. He said to me, ‘You should come to Sydney.’
“But he wouldn’t take no for an answer. And next thing, I get an air ticket to Sydney to sing at the Hotel Australia on Castlereigh Street. I was there for six weeks. At the end of the sixth week I went back to thank them (to say) ‘You’ve been very kind, very generous. Thank you.’
“I was about to leave and Rupert grabbed me by my coatsleeve and said, ‘Where do you think you’re going?’ I said, ‘Back to Adelaide of course.’
‘No, no, no, you’re going to stay here. You’re going to make it big here,'” Murdoch told him.
“I didn’t believe a word he said. Where would I stay?” Kamahl continues.
“He said, ‘Come and stay with us.’
“So I stayed with them for the next two and a half years.
“We still keep in touch but I wouldn’t say we are friends. I owe him. I owe him almost my life.”
Anh’s Brush with Fame with Kamahl airs 8pm Tuesday April 20 on ABC.