He might be a public figure in the Philippines but Brett Beckhurst still loves coming home for a Higgins pie and Mr D’s cola.
‘‘Home is always home and even though I didn’t exactly grow up here, there’s no place like home,’’ he said.
Born in Shepparton and with his family dotted throughout the area, the singer and dancer attended Bourchier St Primary School.
But as a youngster, Brett moved to Queensland which would end up paving the way to a successful career in the entertainment industry.
The success would not be without taking several bold steps towards achieving his dreams, however, with the first being his decision to leave school in Year 10 to attend the Queensland Dance School of Excellence (Queensland Ballet) while completing Years 11 and 12 by correspondence.
‘‘So that’s how it all started,’’ he said.
Another giant leap would see Brett truly cement himself in the Australian dance industry when he expressed interest in attending Patrick Studios Australia in Melbourne in 2010.
After penning the director an email on a Friday, by Monday Brett had received a call to let him know he had been accepted into the school.
‘‘It was a completely new world,’’ he said.
‘‘It was the first time I’d ever been to Melbourne so I was completely beside myself.’’
By the end of 2010 Brett had received his first major contract — dancing in the Australian Opera’s performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
‘‘I was an acrobatic fairy,’’ he said. ‘‘That was amazing because I’d only ever done eisteddfods and little competitions so the first contract was on this major three-story stage.’’
For six months Brett sat in hair and make-up for two hours preparing for the show with his entire body painted blue for the performance.
‘‘After the six months I had this lovely green tinge to my skin,’’ he said.
Brett spent the next three years dancing in Melbourne, picking up corporate gigs at Crown Casino, performing at the ARIAS and on Hey, Hey It’s Saturday, having trained in jazz, ballet, tap, contemporary, musical theatre, acrobatics, hip hop, lyrical, commercial and circus.
‘‘My teacher was sending me to auditions so it was just one thing after another,’’ he said.
But in 2012, Brett’s grandmother died and he came home to Shepparton to look after his mother and make sure she was alright.
‘‘My mum always said to me dream big, keep going, and to be the best version of yourself you can be,’’ he said.
‘‘She was one of the biggest reasons why I did (dance). She was always pushing me.’’
After spending time with his mother and supporting her, Brett went back into training to refine his skills.
‘‘From then everything just hit the ground running,’’ he said.
Having grown up with Filipino friends, Brett decided to travel to the country where things began to take off for him.
‘‘I found an artist called Jason Dy; he was the first international artist I met,’’ he said.
‘‘I really appreciated one of his songs so I did a concept video to it — choreographed it, filmed it and edited it and put it up on YouTube.’’
After the video began to get hit after hit in the Philippines, Brett began to gain some traction on social media.
‘‘I had a lot of people adding me on Facebook so I created a like-page and much to my surprise I’m now just under 23000 likes on that,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s been a bit bizarre.’’
Brett soon went from an average dancer trying to make it into the industry to a Filipino public figure with thousands of followers in the country where he now travels at least once annually.
‘‘(In the Philippines) I have a driver and a security guard that follows me,’’ he said.
‘‘It was really cool to walk out on my balcony in the morning and just have people see me from my balcony and start screaming.’’
Building a reputation throughout Asia, Brett received an email from a friend in China who asked for his show reel.
‘‘A week later I was on a plane going to China,’’ he said.
‘‘When I got there I realised we were performing for a live New Year’s Eve countdown show. It was in a massive arena.’’
What Brett also had not realised was the fact they would be dancing with Asia’s best pop stars on a 60m long stage that moved and had LED lighting.
Brett had begun to spread his wings far across Asia, hosting talk shows in the Philippines and teaching dance.
‘‘In July last year I packed everything up and I moved to the Philippines,’’ he said.
Having already been approached by Singaporean artist Nat Ho to choreograph and produce his music video, the pair spent a week travelling around the Philippines filming with a dance crew Brett had hand-picked.
‘‘We did it in like a week; the things that I got to see were amazing,’’ he said.
‘‘Nat Ho has become one of my great friends; we talk on a daily basis.
‘‘He’s an incredible human and I’ve learned so much from him about music.’’
Brett said he was incredibly excited for the video to come out in about four weeks.
‘‘It’s amazing to now start to see my choreography in music videos,’’ he said.
Having recently returned to Australia where he has based himself in Melbourne, Brett said he had enjoyed being able to spend more time at home.
‘‘Being (in the Philippines) is a completely different life so I love coming home and especially coming home to Shepparton because people know me here — like my family and friends — but I don’t have people running at me wanting photos,’’ he said.
Coming home has also enabled Brett to focus his attention on coaching indigenous singer Lillie Walker, who is his cousin.
‘‘I’ve been teaching her how to sing ... since she was about six,’’ he said.
‘‘It was interesting how it came about; we were on the back patio and I literally heard her singing Super Bass by Nicki Minaj, and I said to her mum ‘Lillie can actually sing’.
‘‘The rest has been history ... she ended up being the lead vocalist for Victoria’s School Spectacular, she does singing performances all over Melbourne and she went to the ARIAS.’’
The pair will now spend more time in the studio under the guidance of former Australian Idol contestant Emily Williams while Brett also prepares to star in her brother Jay Williams’ coming music video.
‘‘At the moment I’m living in Melbourne but I come home at every opportunity I can,’’ he said.
And in the meantime, Brett will also nervously wait to hear from Cirque du Soleil after completing a successful audition last year.
‘‘They said you just have to wait and when a job comes up that fits you we’ll give you a call if that ever happens,’’ he said.
‘‘In the back of my mind I’m just hoping for Cirque du Soleil. I would quit anything I’m doing just to be a part of Cirque du Soleil.’’
Despite Brett’s ongoing love of Mr D’s cola, he said it was his life mantra that had kept pushing him into the world of entertainment, far removed from his Shepparton comforts.
‘‘I adopted the approach — if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,’’ he said.