Gabriel Lal to open for Stan Walker

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A SOUTHLAND singer-songwriter was “stunned” to find he would be warming the stage for one of his music idols, Stan Walker, this year.

When 17-year-old Verdon College pupil Gabriel Lal was told the news he would open for Walker’s New Takeover Tour show in Invercargill, he found it all a bit “unreal”.

“That morning I mentioned to my mum that it would be cool if one day I could meet Stan Walker, he’s such an inspiration to me.

“I got the news later that night. I was ecstatic, over the moon, it was crazy,” Gabriel said.

The chance to open for Walker came from his connections with people in the industry, he said.

Despite only realising his musical abilities in the past two years, the pianist and singer has made waves in the Southland music scene, this year taking out the Smokefreerockquest Southland regional finals for the solo/duo category, as well as landing a top 30 spot in the overall competition.

The chance to open for Walker could “open a lot of doors” for his music career, but he was staying level-headed, Gabriel said.

“[Walker is] definitely an idol in the New Zealand music scene, and definitely an idol to me.

“I’m pretty chilled about the whole thing, it’s awesome, but it’s just good to keep a clear head about everything, and don’t let it get overwhelming.”

Gabriel will play a 20-minute set before Walker takes the stage at Tillermans Music Lounge on October 26.

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