Anthony Callea: Absolutely Flawless

Anthony CalleaIt’s been ten years since Anthony Callea charmed the nation on Australian Idol and the singer is celebrating the career milestone of another openly gay artist. Thirty years on from George Michael’s first solo single, Anthony Callea is touring the nation paying homage to Michael’s long and varied career in his own special way. Callea’s upcoming tour ‘Ladies and Gentleman: The Songs of George Michael’ is coming to Perth is September, so we had a chat with him to see how it’s all going.

Callea said the tour came about after he decided to commemorate George Michael’s 30 year solo single anniversary by performing a show of his songs in Melbourne, but fate, and a healthy dose of enthusiasm, propelled him further. “Before I knew it, two months out from the show it was sold out and I’m like ‘Ok, so what started out as just a bit of fun, maybe I should take this out on the road! …I’ve decided to self promote this tour and I’ve basically put it all together myself and I’m very much looking forward to coming to Perth for this because I have never toured to Perth.’

At 31 years of age, Callea explained that Michael’s music has been a significant part of his musical landscape over the course of his life. “The thing about George Michael’s music is that it’s definitely not your typical pop music. It’s going to live on for generations to come because they’re just well crafted, honest songs. You go from ‘Too Funky’ and ‘Outside’ which is a little bit tongue in cheek to songs like ‘One More Try’ and ‘Patience’ …They’re songs that definitely have played a part I suppose in most peoples’ music landscape. There’s a song there that sort of fits in to every emotion that you go through in life from break ups and complicated times in your life to having a bit of fun with tracks like ‘Outside’ when you’re going to the clubs.”

It hasn’t been easy for the singer to choose his favourites from such a fertile, varied musical catalogue. “It was pretty cool putting it together but at the same time it was like ‘Oh, I have to cull it down’ and I think I started with about 30 to 35 songs and then I had to cull it down to 20. It was like ‘Oh, God!’ It was like choosing your favourite kids.”

Callea’s been feeling the pressure to live up to Michael’s vocal greatness, but he said he’s planning on putting his own unique spin on the iconic tracks. “He’s faultless and he’s got his own unique sound. It’s funny, I think there’s certain artists that a lot of people go ‘Oh, you just don’t touch’, one of them’s Whitney, I reckon another one is George Michael, and Celine Dion and for some reason I just went ‘No, I can do this. I’m going to do it.’ [Laughs] To be honest I was really nervous because as a fan of George Michael, I try and put myself from an audience point of view and go if I was walking into that theatre in Melbourne the first time I did it, I would be like ‘Do not F this up Anthony Callea, because if you do I’m going to be really disappointed.’

Aside from the upcoming tour, Callea has been finding success in musical theatre, performing in ‘Wicked’ and ‘Grease’. “if there’s one role in musical theatre that I would like to play, it would be ‘Aladdin’. They’d better hurry up and bring it to Australia. [Laughs] I think that’s the only one that I think I’m perfect for in terms of height, look, vocal. I love ‘Aladdin’ and when you look at any musical theatre roles for guys usually you have to be that tall strapping sort of look and I’m so not that so the one that I can get away with is ‘Aladdin’. So if anyone out there is producing the musical ‘Aladdin’ think of me!”

But he says ultimately, live performance is his first love. “I love being out there with my band and touring. That’s exactly where I feel at home and what I enjoy most.”

Sophie Joske

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