My Number One: Anthony Callea brings back ARIA hits

Anthony Callea’s most recent album is the ARIA #1 Hits in Symphony, a project that saw him record some epic tunes that have topped the Australian charts. He’s heading to Perth in July for a live show and caught up with OUTinPerth.

Callea told us that recording with a Symphony Orchestra was something he’d longed to do.

“This is an album that I’ve been wanting to do for years, but to try and to get a symphony orchestra onboard, let me just say it’s one of the hardest things to do, and one of the most costly things to do!

Setting up the project took several years and Callea was thrilled when it was the orchestra from his hometown who were lined up for the project. To add to the pressure, the last time the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra headed into the studio to a full album with a pop singer was when they teamed up with Elton John in 1986.

“For them to say yes, it was a great privilege. I’ve worked with Symphony orchestras before including the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, there’s nothing like walking out on stage in front of a full orchestra, you’ve really got to bring your A-game.” Callea said.

To make the track listing for the album Callea narrowed down tunes that have taken out the top spot in the Australian charts are focussed on songs that he had personal memories of. Working with Jon Foreman, the pair locked themselves away for a fortnight and figured out the best way to present the songs.

“We started like we’d never heard these songs before, we started by making sure they were in the right key and then working on the arrangements.” Callea said.

While the Callea’s last few projects have focussed on delivering his interpretations of well known songs, he is still writing original material and hopes to put out some new music in the future, but he’s not sure if it’ll be his next project or a little further down the track.

“I’m always writing and hooking up with other writers, especially of late I feel like I’ve got to say. I’m not promising anything.” Callea said. “I’ll release it when I know that I’m happy with it, it’s so personal putting your own lyrics and melodies out there.”

Callea and his husband Tim Campbell were married in 2014 in New Zealand, the couple are one of the few high profile same-sex couples in the Australian media landscape, but Callea said they try not to think of themselves as role models.

“We’ve been together for ten years now, and we’ve been married for four. I love that has a positive effect on society, but we don’t go out there trying to make a statement or a point. Essentially we’re just two people living our lives together, but I know from people coming up to us that just us living our lives has a positive effect on people and that’s a beautiful thing.”

“I don’t want that responsibility though, I’m just a singer.” Callea said.

Anthony Callea plays The Astor Theatre on 7th July, tickets are available from Ticketek.

Graeme Watson

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