Early life and education
Temperley was born in Mosman Park, Western Australia and grew up in Fremantle. At seven years of age, his name was changed to ‘Satyam Kavyen Temperley’—Temperley is his mother’s maiden name and ‘Satyam Kavyen’ means “Poet of Truth”. The Temperley family were members of the ‘Orange People’ (Sanyassin) movement and made trips to Oregon, United States (US) and India throughout the early 1980s.
Between the ages of seven and 12, Temperley attended the Lance Holt School, a Fremantle community school. At the age of thirteen, he accompanied his mother on a trip to India, where they stayed at the Osho International Meditation Resort in Pune. It was during this trip that he enrolled an international alternative boarding school in Devon called Ko Hsuan that is based on the teachings of controversial Indian mystic Osho. Temperley was accepted as a boarder and remained at the school for a year:
That was an amazing place, musically. They had a really good music room. If we had two periods of math, in between we’d run off and jam for 10 minutes. We’d come back and be totally chilled because we’d gotten all that nervous energy out of our systems.
Temperley referred to his time at Ko Hsuan as his “saving grace”, and it was there that he discovered a passion for music before he returned to Fremantle and John Curtin High School due to homesickness:
Then I thought I was going to become an actor until I started wagging school and writing songs.
At the age of seventeen, Temperley met future band member Joel Quartermain during a musical performance by the latter at Temperley’s high school. At the time, Temperley was already friends with Stuart MacLeod, as they were neighbours since the age of 6.
At the age of eighteen, Temperley returned to England in an attempt to re-kindle friendships with his former classmates at Ko Hsuan. He subsequently returned to India, where he again stayed at Pune. While in India, Temperley decided to become more serious about his music. In a letter to McLeod, he states
When I get back, I really think we should turn this into something serious, because we’ve got some good stuff going on.
Upon his return to Fremantle, Temperley informed Quartermain of his decision; at the time, Quartermain was playing in funk metal band Freud’s Pillow. While at university, Temperley, McLeod and Quartermain formed Eskimo Joe for a Battle of the Bands competition. Initially, Temperley had written a number of folk-type and power pop songs, and he later revealed the band’s thinking at the time:
If we write four more of them we can win the campus band competition! So that’s exactly what we did, and for a while thanks to radio play of a song called “Sweater”, we wallowed in the world of power pop. Funnily enough, it wasn’t until Girl, our debut album, that we returned to the sort of songs we had intended to do at the beginning, the sort of songs that had inspired that letter to Stu. Once we found that sound though, we never looked back.
Temperley sang a reinterpreted version of the song “To Look at You”, with INXS, on the 2010 cover version album Original Sin.
A National Office for Live Music was launched by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in July 2013 and, as of August 2013, Temperley is the state ambassador for Western Australia.
Temperley and his wife Abeni Dara are parents of a son named Hunter, who was born in 2008.