The Earth Song

The Earth Song

Alston Koch. Picture by Shan Rambukwella

 

Great philosophers understood that music is essential to human happiness thus they said `without music, life would be a mistake.” Music becomes his passion and he pursues the happiness music brings without hesitation. Not merely making people happy with his singing, he takes every effort to save the planet Earth.

Alston Koch, is a Sri Lankan – born Australian singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, international recording and television star. Koch is probably the only Asian entertainer, singer-songwriter, producer and actor to be awarded “World Artist of The Year” at the “Global Officials of Dignity Awards” presented at the United

desmond kellyNations in New York and also received a certificate of special commendation from the US Congress and US Senate for improving the lives of the communities in America. Alston Koch is still the only International award winning recording artist from Sri Lanka to have been signed to R.C.A and SONY Records with International hit songs and music videos to his credit.

“Currently I am involved in a huge protect to save the planet from plastic. We recently heard even in Sri Lanka how plastic brought death to an elephant. Plastic is one of the greatest invention but it is high time people shift into using degradable plastic,” he said.

Koch launched his song, A Symphony for Change to raise awareness of the problems caused by plastic waste in the environment, on the World Environment Day which was celebrated in Mexico City on June 5, this year.

“The new theme song is backed by almost every organization. They believe in changing the world through singing,” he added.

Koch migrated to Sydney, Australia where he was most successful in the entertainment and professional music industry while recording for RCA/Laser Records and the Australian TV Network Channel 9’s “Living Sound” recording label. In Australia, he formed his band Dark Tan and recorded three international hits on the RCA label. He has performed internationally with Dark Tan, S-witch, and as a solo artist. One notable appearance was during ‘The Stars & Stripes Concert’ in 1976, performing under the Sydney harbour bridge on a floating pontoon for Radio 2SM.

Koch has often been lauded in the Australian and Asian media as “Asia’s King of Pop” or “Pop King of Asia” after gaining international success in the late 1970s. He has performed worldwide including Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, India and Sri Lanka among other places. Since 1975 Koch has released 21 singles and 4 albums through record labels such as RCA, BMG, EMI and Sony.

“I started off singing with Jet Liners here in Sri Lanka in the 60’s. Since then on my journey I have been blessed to meet and collaborate with world famous song writers, musicians and artists including Elton John and Neil Diamond. They think I am unique because I don’t stick to the rules,” Koch said adding that he never writes music for his songs but only writes the lyrics.

In 1986 Alston Koch was selected and commissioned by the Australian Task Force to write, produce and perform the America’s Cup album, The Kookaburra Connection with the theme song “Kookaburra” released both as a single and music video broadcast during the race. His first self-written major hit, “Disco Lady”, earned him his first gold record. The song also won him and Dark Tan the ‘Best New Talent’ at the 1979 International Disc Jockey Association Awards and that same year Dark Tan won Australia’s Observer newspaper’s ‘Best Disco Band’ award.

Koch received his first ARIA (Accredited Award) for Melissa ‘Read My Lips’ (1990). He is also the recipient of three Gold Awards and one Platinum Award from ARIA (accredited).

“In 2008, I wrote a song about climate change for a United Nations WTO presentation in London. The song was also presented by Geoffrey Lipman Chairman of ICTP at the ‘Live the Deal Climate Change’ conference in Copenhagen to all the World’s leaders. I was the Goodwill Ambassador for the campaign, and the song has been promoted globally by ICTP in their campaign for green growth. Barbara Follet (Minister of State for Great Britain) certified it as ‘A gift in song to the world suffering due to Climate Change’ and the song received a standing ovation,” Koch recalled.

Koch was commissioned by Cricket Australia to sing the National Anthem at the One Day International Cricket matches and the important Boxing Day Test. In 2009, he was appointed to the committee for the Cricket World Cup 2011 tournament staged in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and was the Official ‘Goodwill Ambassador’ for the tournament. Koch wrote and performed an official song for The Sri Lankan cricketer and world record holder and world champion Muttiah Muralitharan in the year 2007.

“I have never played cricket but I believe it is the only sport that helps Sri Lanka take a claim anywhere in the world,” he said.

Since 2007, Koch has been the Ambassador for Tourism for Sri Lanka and launched the song `Land like no other’ for this purpose. “I am also the Ambassador for Climate Change for Sri Lankan Airlines. With my songs I take the message of green initiative across the world. It gives me immense pleasure to see my music video on flights,” Koch added.

He also played the Lead Actor in the film ‘According to Mathew’ opposite Bollywood star Jacqueline Fernandez.

“It was a privilege to be a part of this movie which could take the country to the world. I see this film as a possible step into Hollywood and it was wonderful working with Jackie,” Koch explained.

“I am also being featured in a Hollywood film as Alston Koch which is a big milestone for me,” said Koch amused at being chosen to give life to his own character in a film. Wherever this singer, song writer, producer and actor roam his motherland Sri Lanka always takes a prominent place in his heart.

“Whole reason Sri Lanka is called the paradise because the country is blessed and people around the world know that. We own a culture which goes back 2,500 years. I think Sri Lanka is not a pearl but a diamond which is more precious. Anywhere I go I wave Sri Lankan flag and do a lot of work to support the country,” he said with much patriotism.

“My grand uncle Roslyn Koch was the Minister of Public Administration in the first Government of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and I have had family who served the Government here from Secretary to the Governor General to advisers in the administration during the time of the British and as administrators of the Dutch Forts in Galle and Jaffna. So I am very much a part of the culture of the country,” he said.

Looking out of the window where his eyes fall on Port City he utters, “It is amazing how Sri Lanka is growing. It is gratifying to see the country developing. We are in the right path and moving in the right direction. This is what the country needed. I hope to do a big show here one day.”

Member of The Grammy Academy (U.S.A)
Member of The Australian Performing Right Association.(APRA)
Ambassador for Climate Change (I.C.T.P)
Ambassador for Sri Lanka Tourism
Member of PPCA (Performing & Publishing Copyright Association of Australia)
Member of AMCOS (Australasian Mechanical Copyright Organisation)
Ambassador for FAMILY FILM AWARDS (USA) for Australia
Ambassador for The ARTS FOR PEACE FOUNDATION (U.S.A)

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