Russell Crowe says his critics should ignore his Hollywood fame and try to understand his music “objectively” — as he announced an intimate concert in London.
The Oscar-winning actor will perform with his five-piece band, Indoor Garden Party, at the Union Chapel in Islington in September.
The line-up includes West End star Samantha Barks, who appeared with Crowe in the 2012 film version of Les Misérables.
Crowe, 53, started recording music in the Eighties, before his film career, and said anyone who thought he should stick to acting was “ridiculous”.
“I went through a period of time where people thought I shouldn’t be involved in music because I was famous in something else,” he said.
“To me it’s ridiculous — you take away music out of my life and you’re taking away some of the most important moments and individual experiences in my life.
“I’m impelled and compelled simultaneously to express certain experiences in poetry — it’s the way it is. It’s what I do. That doesn’t mean that we’re all deadly serious when we do the shows — it’s the exact opposite. They are a lot of fun and we tell stories.”
He added: “I’d played guitar from a young age, it was something natural to me. If you criticise it, go ahead, whatever.
"But in a funny way, and maybe I’m being over-protective of it, when people are overly critical of my music, I know they haven’t listened to it properly.
“Because if they could simply listen to it with an objective ear, beyond whatever they think of my reputation or my acting, there is a reason that I write songs and it’s a really good reason.”
The Gladiator actor, who separated from his wife Danielle Spencer in 2012, bares his soul on his latest album, The Musical.
Its lyrics describe his difficulties balancing his work and family life, and include the line: “Everything I touch bursts into flames.”
Crowe, who has two sons, Charles, 13, and Tennyson, 11, said: “In a funny way, my songs will tell you so much more about who I am. They end up predicting your life sometimes. I was a father before I became a man. There is no man who is ready to be a father until it happens.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get that balance right between your work life and your family life, and that [lyric] was probably really connected to a period where I wasn’t working that balance as well as I could be.”
His other bandmates are American actor Scott Grimes, who played Will Scarlett to Crowe’s Robin Hood in 2010, Swedish singer/songwriter Carl Falk and Canadian artist Alan Doyle.
Indoor Garden Party perform at Union Chapel in Islington on September 28. Tickets available from gigsandtours.com