By Jeremy Sollars
Ladies from across the Rose City and beyond are set to swoon this Saturday when singer, songwriter, dancer, actor and all-round nice guy Johnny Ruffo hits town for the 2017 Warwick Picnic Races at Allman Park this Saturday.
The popular entertainer responded enthusiastically to a request from the Warwick Turf Club to perform and MC at ‘the Picnics’.
Johnny shot to fame on series three of ‘The X Factor Australia’ in 2011 and is also known to ‘Home and Away’ fans for playing the character of Chris Harrington for three years between 2013 and 2016, and from the recently-premiered mini-series ‘House of Bond’.
It turns out that Sydney-based Johnny has a link a little closer to home, in the form of girlfriend Tahnee Sims’ dad Kevin, who is a horse trainer in Toowoomba – and who may have a runner at Allman Park on Saturday.
Johnny told the Free Times it would be “an absolute pleasure” to entertain the Picnic Races crowd, performing a selection of his music and being the MC for the day, along with hosting and judging the popular Fashions on the Field.
“We get up to Toowoomba a bit to see Tahnee’s family, so that’s more or less how it all came about – through the racing connections,” Johnny said.
“But it’s my first visit to Warwick and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ll be keeping it upbeat and fun – I guess if people have had a couple of drinks I might be able to get them up on the dance floor, but I’ll just be doing my best to keep everyone entertained throughout the day.”
Johnny will arrive in Warwick late on Friday in time for a dinner with race day sponsors.
“I’ll be having a pretty quiet night – I need to be fresh for Saturday,” he laughed.
In between co-hosting ‘Studio 10’ and doing gigs around the country of late, fans will be excited to know that Johnny – originally a Perth boy – is currently writing songs for a new album to be released later in the year.
And he says it’s going to be “a little different” to his previous releases.
“It’ll be a lot more personal and a bit less ‘bubble-gum’ pop, I guess you could say,” Johnny said.
“It’ll still have the pop vibe and you’ll be able to dance to it, but I’m touching a bit more on things like growing up and the experiences I’ve had over the last couple of years.
“I’m trying to paint a picture of what life has been like and exploring what I’ve learned.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio lately, I’ll probably have 20 or 30-odd songs and then I’ll narrow them down to the ones I’m happy to have on the album.
“I can’t really say at this stage when it will be released, I’ve still got a lot of work to do on it and I’d rather push it back until I’m really happy with it.”
Johnny says while he doesn’t have a mentor as such these days, Guy Sebastian – who mentored him on ‘X Factor’ – is still “a good mate” and he’s also been doing “a bit of writing” with Shannon Noll, and Michael Jackson remains his “all-time greatest musical inspiration”.
Catch Johnny Ruffo at the Allman Park Ergon Energy Picnic Races in the Elders Real Estate Pavilion this Saturday 13 May. Gates open from 11am.
And don’t forget the Friday night Calcutta at Allman Park – free entry from 6.30pm, bar open, smart/casual dress.
For more information see the Warwick Picnic Races page on Facebook or visit warwickturfclub.org.au