After eight years of entertaining millions of kids worldwide, veteran member of the popular children's musical group Hi-5 Stevie Nicholson will be flashing his final high fives to fans.
Nicholson, 31, announced last month that he will be leaving the group at the end of the year.
The chirpy blond explains in an interview with Life: "Although I'm extremely sad to be leaving the group, the time is right for me to move on and pursue other creative projects that are associated with children."
One such project is his children's book Superdudes, which will be released worldwide later this month.
In the meantime, the Australian, who is based in Melbourne, is ensuring that he bids farewell to fans as the group travels around the world for its latest stage show Hi-5 House Of Dreams.
BOOK IT / HI-5 HOUSE OF DREAMS
WHERE: MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands
WHEN: 10.30am, 2.30 and 6.30pm on Saturday and Sunday
ADMISSION: $45 to $115 (excludes booking fee; call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)
The group, who also include Dayen Zheng, 24; Ainsley Melham, 23; Mary Lascaris, 24; and Tanika Anderson, 21; will be performing the show this weekend at Marina Bay Sands, before continuing on to Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.
Nicholson, who joined the group in 2007 to replace former member Tim Harding, says: "Being on Hi-5 has been a dream come true. I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to sing, dance, record albums, make a TV show and travel the world... this doesn't feel like work."
The group has brought smiles to the faces of more than 10 million children worldwide with more than 15 television series to date, as well as its infectious and catchy music and dance routines.
It made its debut in Australia in 1998. Over the years, 10 cast members have come and gone.
Two years ago, the television series, Hi-5, was recreated into Hi-5 House, where each of the traditional segments was adapted to take place in a room in a house, such as the kitchen and living room, so as to make Hi-5 more realistic.
For Nicholson, the current tour is special as it is his chance to bid farewell to fans.
He quips: "I would like to genuinely say thank you and goodbye to as many fans as possible during the tour. I have nothing but love for Hi-5, the cast and crew and all the kids and parents."
1. The Hi-5 crew has been to Singapore many times over the years. What keeps you guys coming back?
I have been to Singapore with the group more than 20 times now. In fact, it was the first nation Hi-5 visited in 1999 and I heard that they accepted us with open arms. The fanbase here is strong and it is one of the countries where I can look out into the audience and recognise at least half of them. It helps that it's close to Australia too.
2. Tell us more about your children's book Superdudes.
It's a funny and silly collection of made-up superheroes. One classic example would be Superthumb, who has an important message to tell: that anything can be super, even your own thumb.
I have included a page in the book where kids can create their own superhero and it's been amazing so far to see what they have come up with when I visited some Australian schools to introduce the book.
3. What is Hi-5's winning formula?
It's a mixed bag of ingredients, but a key part is that the cast are presented as older brothers or sisters to the fans.
We educate the kids in a fun and entertaining way on important real-life messages, such as keeping fit and going outdoors, without seeming like we are lecturing them.
Also, the children will identify with one particular cast member based on their personality. This makes the show more personable for them.
4. What will you miss most about being a Hi-5 member?
I will miss touring with the gang. They are fantastic to work with.
What I will miss more, though, is having the opportunity to sit down with the kids, talk to them and find out what their hopes and dreams are. It's amazing the way they think and see the world.
5. What is one thing adults can learn from the little ones?
There's so much to be learnt from them. I have probably learnt more than I have been able to teach.
It is their willingness to interact with anyone and be open to new experiences. They just do what they feel like doing and are happy.
That's something adults need to think about instead of working so hard all the time.
6. What do you like to do during your free time?
I like to spend time with family and friends or head to the beach. I do sports such as tennis, basketball and Australian football.
I like travelling. Once in a while, I go on an adventure.
Last year, my friends and I headed to the airport with just a backpack, looked at the flight information board and picked our destination there and then. We went to Hawaii for a week. It's nice to just roll with it sometimes.
7. Besides writing, what other plans do you have?
I think a creative person will always remain creative, so I want to keep at writing, painting and acting. I want to do everything as I feel one shouldn't limit oneself.
8. How would you like to be remembered?
As a cheeky, fun guy who looked like he was always having a ball and who was genuinely digging what he was doing.