Hi-5's Nathan Foley on the reality of being in the group and what he's doing now

Original Hi-5 member Nathan Foley sat down with Yahoo Lifestyle Australia to talk all about his time in the group.

Nathan's got a brand new album coming out on 23 September 2022, so make sure to follow him on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/16nyNpcRcPcVr6wkLLZBmk?si=lbLWkVKaR2eUKAVWyS3uRA

Video transcript

NATHAN FOLEY: He said, oh my god! Nathan, I haven't seen you for ages! You still singing? What are you doing? She said, I thought you were dead. I'm like, OK.

I got into a program called the talent development project, which is funded through the Education Department, where you go in twice a month, and they give you pointers on your performance. Well, at the time, I didn't have an agent. So they called me after I left.

I was only 18 at the time. And they said, Nathan, there's some auditions going down at the ABC studios for a new kids' show, looking for five presenters, singers, dancers, actors. And I went, OK, so I went down there, did the audition.

They put us into five groups of five. And then, they put us-- our combination-- so myself, Tim, Charlie, Kelly, Kathleen-- into this group. And our voices just gelled. Like, everything, the harmonies, everything was just, you know, it's one of those big moments, and they said, that's our group.

I actually knew Kathleen since I was about 12. We did shows together back in the early days. She was two years older than me, but we did a shopping center show together for Christmas. So I knew Kathleen and her family.

And then, when we got put together, it was like, it was already established she was like my older sister anyway. The other guys, I had never met before. But as I said, we're all very young, and you know, you have your ups and down days. We were like a family.

It was busy. I mean, it was exhausting at the same time. I think there's not a lot of groups in the world that actually do the TV thing, but also do the recording, and also go and visit the children's hospitals, and also have no time. You know, we were teenagers. We were loving the ride, but it was long hours.

I mean, we were filming-- was it 2 and 1/2 days a week? Rehearsing the rest of the week. Our scripts were about this thick per week as well. We didn't have autocue. We had to learn our scripts for our segments.

Then after that, we toured for seven months of the year, doing three 1-and-1/2-hour shows a day, six days a week, around Australia, Asia, New Zealand-- the whole of the UK. We toured over there. So it was-- it was a lot of hard work. I mean, there was a couple of times there that I nearly ended up in hospital, just from exhaustion.

I was buggered, you know. So even though we were young, we were still working so, so hard. I guess I can speak on a majority for all of us. It wasn't just about the music. It wasn't just about the touring.

It was about giving back to these kids, especially when we went to the children's hospitals. Like, there was this one time we went and saw this little girl. I think she had-- she was, you know, she was pretty severely sick. She had a couple of weeks to live.

And we walked in, and she was in bed. Her mother was standing beside her bed, and she looked up, and she smiled at us. And I'm getting chills already. And the mother started crying.

And she says, that's the first time my daughter's actually smiled in a couple of years. And we're like, all of us just went, pff! And it made you put things into perspective that it wasn't just a pop group. We were out there to make a difference and changing lives at the same time.

And that really, you know, was-- it was a heartfelt, horrible moment, but it was also beautiful at the same time, knowing this little girl-- we've actually given something to this little girl, who didn't have a long time to be on this earth.

I've got a 2-and-1/2-year-old now, and I'm-- first time in my life watching kids shows. I'm like, oh my god. I can't watch this. But I think "Hi-5" had that special combination of having a parent-- they could sit down and have a bit of a laugh as well at things we said, or the music was very pop-orientated, lyrically.

It was for the kids. But obviously, musically and melodically, in the way that was produced, it was a pop. It was primarily just pop music. You could play it on radio, obviously, without the lyrics.

No, not at all. I mean, the funny thing is we were asked that question a lot back in the day, and I was like, well, no. I mean, if you look in the adult world of music, there's thousands of people out there competing. There's thousands of people on radio and on television.

So it was only a handful of us in Australia, you know. The Wiggles, Hooley Dooleys, Hi-5, I mean, that was pretty much it. I had my moment. I had my time. Obviously, I missed doing the show.

But after 10 years, it kind of got to the point. I'm like, yeah, I want to go back to my roots, go back to what I do. What you saw on TV on "Hi-5," minus the colorful clothing, was generally me. Like, I've always had lots of energy. I've always been a singer, dancer, actor.

It's what I've always done so. So just the music's changed, I guess. So it's still me, but it's just putting me into a different chapter of my life, a different chapter of my entertainment and career.

Just to be part of something that was iconic, part of something that touched many people's lives, and that is still very much a part of people's lives now-- I believe that if a show is special enough or has a beautiful message, or it was strong musically like ours was, that it is something that will live on. I mean, obviously, it'll date eventually over time in the fashion, and then it may come back. You never know.

But I think if you're a part of something so special and so iconic, it's going to stay with people for a long time. And I'm very grateful and very privileged to be a part of that journey and be a part of the lives and upbringing of kids around the world, for that matter.

Oh, we stay in contact now and again. Obviously, we're all in different states of Australia now, and we've all got our own lives and our own journeys and our own goals. So now and again, we put a phone call in and say g'day, or send a text message to see how everyone's doing.

But yeah, I mean, we all love each other, you know. I mean, obviously, it's a very hard thing to say when you see rock bands out there and say, oh, this person hates this person. But we never hated each other.

Obviously, we were just like brothers and sisters. And yeah, we have such a respect for each other even today. You know, and we all have that one thing in common that we shared-- something special together. And that will-- that will never die.

This girl came up to me, and she was in her early 20s. She said, oh my god, Nathan! I haven't seen you for ages. Are you still singing? What are you doing? She said, I thought you were dead.

I'm like, OK, all right. No worries. I'm not old. She says, no, no, I didn't mean it that way. She says, I just haven't seen you around. I said, well, I'm not on TV every day, you know. Obviously, I'm doing more music side of things these days.

And I've got to be able to record my brand new album, which comes out in September. Yeah. And a couple of music videos, too-- actually, two of the singles are already out now-- "She Devil" and "Hurricane," but there's another couple coming out over the next couple of months.

And it's rockin', man. Like, it's so cool. Like, it's not following any trends, but it's got pop, rock, soul, dance. It's got everything. It's just a very sexy kind of album. It's very different from Hi-5.

But it's something for everybody. Like, I know that it's going to be across the board and across the genres and across to different age groups. Everyone's going to really, really love it, and I can't wait to share it with everybody.

Listen out. Spotify, iTunes, maybe even vinyl, but also come along to the gigs. Through November onwards, I'll be on tour as well. So I'd love to see you guys then. You never know I might even throw a little Hi-5 cover in there as well. We'll see how I feel. [CHUCKLES]