Australia's Got Talent finalist earns NSW TAFE Indigenous Encouragement Award

PROUD: Matthew White, 32, with his daughter Evelyn, 3, in their Port Stephens home, after he received the NSW TAFE Indigenous Encouragement Award. Picture: Sam Norris
PROUD: Matthew White, 32, with his daughter Evelyn, 3, in their Port Stephens home, after he received the NSW TAFE Indigenous Encouragement Award. Picture: Sam Norris

Matthew White has broken away from his TV talent show days to embark on a career his little girl can be proud of.

White, who was known as ‘The Bandit’ on Australia’s Got Talent, who has won a NSW TAFE Indigenous Encouragement Award for his Certificate I studies in Information, Digital Media and Technology.

Last week was a big one for the former rapper who also enrolled in a Diploma of Community Services. Rather than ‘do battle’, his goal is to help the ‘real battlers’.

“I think of how I can share what I learn with my daughter and I get really excited,” he said.

“I’m confident I can come into my daughter’s life as a man and a dad, and be that person she can look up to.”

White said the music industry was a broken dream.

Being a finalist in Australia’s Got Talent, 2011, earned him a contract, and saw him collaborate with Thirsty Merc and singer-song writer turned show host Brian McFadden. Then, while away for a radio spot promoting Father Riley’s Op Shop, he became involved in a physical altercation at Wauchope. He narrowly escaped jail time after he claimed self defence.

As he explained to Fairfax Media in 2012, he had been confronted by jealous people in the weeks after the show’s grand finale.

“Most of the time I’ve been able to talk my way out of a problem but there have been occasions when things have turned pretty ugly,” he said.

Port Macquarie District Court ordered him to undertake an 18-month intensive correction order for reckless wounding with a coffee mug. 

During this time, his daughter Evelyn came into the world. He now enjoys the peace and quiet of living in Port Stephens, out of the spot light, with his almost four-year-old.

“This is why I’ve stepped back – a combination of all these things –  this is what I want to do, help people,” he said.

“To grow up with the dream of being in the music industry, once you get there, it’s nothing like you imagined. I wasn’t prepared for it and I didn’t have that support like so many people who have been on reality TV.”

His steps toward work in the community services reflects the work he did with school students in 2004, painting, song writing and playing didgeridoo.

“My message is education, it’s about knowledge and how important the lessons are from the mistakes we make make,” he said.

“The people I’m studying with in these courses want to help, they all have these qualities of being caring people and surrounding myself with these people is inspiring.”

To win the encouragement award was “massive”.

“The big thing was not the $500 cheque it’s the certificate for my resume,” he said.

“To also have the support of the Aboriginal Learning Circle at Tighes Hill has been great.”