By the age of 13, guitar prodigy and leukaemia survivor Nathan Cavaleri had just about done it all.
He’d jammed with Mark Knopfler, toured with B.B. King and hung out backstage with Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, REM and Elton John.
He’d played in stadiums in front of thousands and in the White House in front of President Bill Clinton.
That performance at the White House, however, was close to the last time he performed for anyone for many years.
Cavaleri stepped out of the limelight at age 15 but returned to playing as an adult and by 2010 was touring again.
But by 2012 Cavaleri started having panic attacks before gigs.
“The stage was always my safe place,” he said. “Then the panic started following me on stage. Every tiny thing was overwhelming. It was just paralysing.”
Some doctors called it chronic fatigue, Cavaleri now identifies it as anxiety. He did a course on mindfulness, visited a psychologist, met a clinical nutritionist to address biochemical imbalances and undertook activities away from music, like surfing and meditation.
Now 34 and a father he composes music for film and commercials but is also quietly making his way back on to the stage.
After the success of a performance at The Brass Monkey last October, Cavaleri is making his return to the Cronulla venue.
Cavaleri’s set consists of his own tunes, which draw heavily from vintage blues.
With an album in the works and a big tour coming up, Cavaleri’s Brass Monkey gig will be a great chance to catch the musician in a more intimate setting.
- Nathan Cavaleri + Dylan Wright: Brass Monkey, Friday, January 19.