Stan Walker can joke about dying, but when it comes to speaking about the horrible reality of fame he's extremely serious about how lonely and soul destroying it can be.
About 80 Waikato students were given a reality check today when their music idol shared his honest view about what the music industry is really like and told them it wasn't all glitz and glamour.
The musician was in Hamilton to inspire students to follow careers in music and performing arts and to back the soon-to-be built Waikato Regional Theatre.
Walker told the students to dream bigger, work hard, surround themselves with good people and that fame was tough.
"When I talk about stuff like being in the industry and being an artist I don't sugar coat things. Like when people ask me for advice. I'm really no one to give advice, I don't really know much, but I know from my own experience and I just share exactly what my experience is and it's not always the best so I tell them the truth.
The toughest lesson he taught them today was that fame was hard, he said.
"Fame is a monster. Fame is not glitz and glam that's what people see at the end of the thing. But fame is the ultimate sacrifice. You are literally giving yourself up to everybody to be theirs and you are no longer yours anymore. No matter how much you explain it to people. or how much you need you know time or something...
"Fame is sacrifice, it's no sleep, it's lonely, it's tiring, it's soul destroying. That's why I tell people you better be ready if you want to step into this world because it's not easy...
"So I tell them the truth. But it's also so rewarding, but it's also a lot of hard work."
Walker is in New Zealand to tour for the first time in five years. He cancelled his tour in 2016 after his mother was diagnosed with cancer and plans to come back in 2017 were also shelved after he was diagnosed with cancer and he had his stomach removed.
"I'm back," he said.
When asked how his health was, Walker joked: "Oh I'm dying."
He then quickly reassured everyone with a cheeky grin that he was feeling great and didn't even think about his well-documented health struggles the previous year.
"I'm real good. I feel real good, healthy as. Somebody said that to me today, they were like we watched your thing and I was like had forgot all about that, I didn't even think twice to mention it because I had actually forgotten about it. I was talking about other stuff so if that's an indication of where I'm at - then that's where I'm at."
Walker was excited to kick off his tour at the end of next week and his only complaint was the early starts.
"I can't wait. It's only a week and a bit away. I haven't really been doing much for it, but I'm ready."
Walker said he would always have a connection with Hamilton as it is where he lived for several years, attending both Fairfield Intermediate and Hamilton Boys High. He was also excited about the opportunities the Waikato Regional Theatre could provide to inspiring artists and said it didn't matter whether you were from the hood like him as that's where some of the most talented people came from.