Sheldon Riley heads to Eurovision with ‘Not the Same’

Sheldon Riley is heading to Turin Italy to represent Australia at Eurovision 2022, the singer won Eurovision – Australia Decides on Saturday night with his powerful song about discrimination and exclusion.

Riley was one of eleven Australian performers competing for the privilege to be Australia’s entrant, he scored highly with both the industry judges and the public.

The judges scores saw Jaguar Jonze top the leaderboard with 51 points, but Riley came in a close second with just one point less. When the audience votes were added into the mix Riley shot to the top of the pack.

Perth band Voyager came a close second trailing by just three points, while Jaguar Jonze fell to third place.

The voting between the industry experts and the public had some notable differences of opinion, girl group G Nation didn;t find favour with the judges, but got a bump from the public vote, while Isaiah Firebrace and Evie Irie’s duet scored well with the the judges but bombed out when the pubic vote came in.

The final results were Sheldon Riley (100), Voyager (97), Jaquar Jonze (91), Charley (63), G Nation (56), Paulini (52), Andrew Lambrou (51), Jude York (47), Isaiah Firebrace and Evie Irie (45), Erica Padilla (45) and Seann Miley Moore (23).

Riley took to the stage to perform his song Not the Same at the closing of the show but was overcome by emotion.

Sheldon Riley explains the story behind Not the Same 

Not The Same has dark elements found very familiar in many of Riley’s viral live performances. Unlike his last singles Left Broken and Again lyrically is a more obvious story ready to be heard, followed and visualized.

Written from the perspective of young Riley who was told “he would never quite be understood.” Not The Same is heartbreaking but gives a sense of hope to those in similar situations.

The singers mesmerising performance saw him remove his trademark mask, ready to take on the world.

Speaking on the track, Sheldon Riley said, “Not The Same is the story I never thought I’d ever feel I’d be able to tell. Written from the memories of a child who at age 6 was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Growing up in public housing, moving from home to home, unaware of my sexuality, among a deeply religious family. A path already laid that I would never be able to properly understand or interact with other people.”

The track was written, musically and lyrically by Riley and brought to life in production by Australian Producer Cameron Nacson. The instrumentation and lyrics alike shed moments of light and dark, fear and hope, following tentatively alongside the growing vocal to assist in telling Riley’s story of although you’re Not The Same, you’re not alone.

“I actually wrote this song back around late 2015, I had sent myself the lyrics on my old Facebook account. It was more of a poem back then though, reflecting on how far I had come, recently having come out to my family and feeling so free to speak my mind more and more each day,” Riley continues.

“I have always connected to darker Disney Animations, characters that were perceived to be different, evil, misunderstood and weren’t given a chance to explain parts of themselves that they ultimately couldn’t change. Maleficent, Cruella DeVille, Ursula. It probably explains my dark aesthetic.”

“I mention this because Eurovision really was my first real life Disney fantasy, filled with outcasts and artists who just didn’t fit the mold of mainstream music and the competition gave them a loud enough voice that showed people will choose different if given the chance. That is what I connected so strongly to. I wanted to put a song forward that came from that same place.”

“The song is really a gift back to any one who might be in my position when I first fell in love with Eurovision. Regardless of gender, sexuality, race, financial position, trauma, color, age, shape or size.”

Sheldon Riley released his debut single More Than I in late 2020, setting the tone for his original sound. Showcasing his captivating vocals, formidable songwriting abilities and exquisite style and soundscapes, More Than I is representative of Sheldon’s own truth and the instincts and intuitions that co-exist.

Riley released his sophomore single Left Broken which combined the worlds of luxury fashion and brooding dark pop music. The artwork for Left Broken features Sheldon wearing an exclusive custom made mask from San Francisco based avant-garde fashion designer Lance Victor Moore (Lady Gaga, Mila Jovovich). The track was a polished, stylish sample of Sheldon Riley’s genuine self that Rolling Stone Australia dubbed, “an intimate, unforgettable experience.”

Sheldon Riley released his latest single AGAIN a confession to self sabotage and torment, in October 2021. This orchestral and emotional new-age cinematic track has the heart of a SIA classic with the modern soundscapes from the likes of FKA Twigs. Riley’s music showcases his empathetic and impactful song writing abilities along with his exquisite and captivating vocals.

Not The Same is available on all platforms now.

OIP Staff

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