SINGER-songwriter Colin Hay feels as though he's lived three different lives across three continents.
The Scottish-born former vocalist of Aussie icon Men at Work has lived in California since leaving Melbourne in the late '80s to build a well-earned cult following across the world.
Despite his international touring schedule, Hay, who performs at Warrnambool's Lighthouse Theatre next Wednesday, told Offbeat he never really stopped coming back to the "land Down Under" he helped make famous.
"It wasn't that I wanted to leave," he said. "
But I felt at the end of the '80s it didn't seem anyone was particularly interested in what I was doing, so I left to base myself in California so I could tour North and South America, Europe, and that's what I've been doing for the last 20 years.
"I'm not going to pretend it hasn't been difficult to find an audience, but it's been getting better for the past 10 years.
"The old stuff has its own life.
"Men at Work is a brand, something with a very strong significance and is more well-known than my name in itself, so because my shows are under my name it means people have to be interested in what I've been doing since then."
Hay said having songs played on TV series Scrubs and indie film Garden State had opened up his catalogue to younger audiences.
"It's very helpful and it doesn't just come along.
"It comes through constantly working nothing happens if you're sitting on your arse.
"You have to do shit and keep touring and working for those opportunities to happen.
"Having songs pop up in Scrubs and having new material, there's an interest in what I'm doing."
Hay's Find My Dance regional tour, with 23 shows in just 32 days, was inspired after a backstage interaction he had years ago with an Aboriginal man.
At a time he was admittedly "drinking too much" and performing without his typical spark, the man encouraged him to search for his identity.
"He said 'You lost your dance and you have to go and find it'. That's what I've been doing and it's not really a literal thing, it's metaphoric in many ways.
"We have to try and become who we are and get closer to who we are as people.
"Sometimes we have to get out of our own way to do that. We have to let the light in.
"Previously I've just played in major cities so this tour is an experiment to see if I do have an audience in these places."
The tour, which began last week in Western Australia, will involve Hay travelling across the nation before finishing at the Sydney Opera House next month.
"It's a very powerful place, Australia, but not for the stereotypical, flag-waving reasons people normally associate power with," he said. "If you travel outside the cities, inland a bit, it's truly awesome in the true sense of the word.
"There's even more of a reason to look at who we are and where we live and just how we can protect what we have.
"The south-west has some of the most beautiful parts of the world.
"My old manager Russell Deppeler is from Port Campbell, so one of the rituals I'd indulge in whenever I was back in Melbourne was to take a drive down the Great Ocean Road.
"I'd drive as far as I can and disappear in the Otways and wander among the trees."
Hay will also perform at Hamilton's Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday.