Australia Decides 2022: Getting to know Jude York
Jude York was initially, back in October, the first songwriter revealed for ‘Eurovision – Australia Decides 2022’: his entry ‘I Won’t Need to Dream’ was selected from 700 songs submitted via the SBS song portal over the four-week entry period.
It has been revealed that Jude York will now be competing as an artist with the song he wrote. It is one of the 11 songs chosen to compete for a spot to represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin, Italy.
The multi-talented musician is best described as “a warm hug, a confidence boost and a shoulder to cry on all in one package”, according to the young artist's own YouTube profile.
But who is this young songwriter and up-and-coming Australian artist?
We spoke to Jude about his musical background, artistry and his Australia Decides entry ‘I Won’t Need to Dream’.
Who is Jude York?
Jude York is a 22-year-old singer-songwriter who began sharing his song-writing skills and vocals only this year on his socials.
From Toowoomba in regional Queensland (around an hour-and-a-half's drive west of Brisbane), Jude describes himself as an explosion of life, in which he combines sadness and happiness to create music which you can dance to but which also prompts an “emotional, crying, deep reflective experience”.
Jude is an artist who is not afraid to explore many music genres. His artistry has versatility and, coupled with his clever lyrics that flow like poetry, his music is slick, mesmerising and catchy.
Jude values the opportunity to be involved in something on the scale of ‘Eurovision – Australia Decides’, especially as a young queer artist. He was keen to express the importance of queer representation:
“I know that I would have loved to see so much more queer representation growing up and that would have helped me and probably my own family to understand the experience better and to enter this whole journey with a much more excepting view. That means a lot to me that people watching get to see queer representation and also to the people that aren’t familiar with it. They aren’t exposed to it, they don’t have queer people in their family. Seeing a gay man on stage, anyone, trans, bi, ... it can all start to break down those barriers and lead to more acceptance and understanding of that experience.”
The Beamish Brothers
Any keen Eurovision sleuths out there might have recognised Jude from ‘Eurovision – Australia Decides 2020’.
Together with his brother Ben, Jude formed the duo The Beamish Brothers, who submitted their song ‘Nature’ for the Australian Eurovision national final. Their entry ‘Nature’ is extremely catchy and an anthem for self-empowerment and environmental awareness.
The indie pop duo just missed out on selection as one of the top 10 songs for Australia Decides 2020. They did, however, make an appearance on the show as they were featured in the APRA AMCOS segment of singers and songwriters that had been shortlisted that year.
Reflecting on the experience, Jude explained:
“Ben and I submitted that song kind of on a bit of a whim. We didn’t think anything would come of it and then, yeah, it got pretty far in the selection process. We were really surprised and amazed that it was considered”
The duo live by the motto “politics into pop”, with their songs delving into concepts such as mental health and LGBTQ+ rights. Their music has even taken them as far as Japan and South Korea, where they toured with Tia Gostelow, an Indigenous Australian singer-songwriter from Mackay, Queensland, opening her shows.
Debut single as a featured artist
Jude's first debut single as a featured artist was released in July 2021 and saw him collaborate with a Brisbane-based producer and motion designer, Wastemall, on 'Glaciers'.
We asked Jude what it was like to work on Wastemall's release:
"Honestly Wastemall is so easy to work with. His label sent me the instrumental and I just kind of instantly loved the track and I recorded my vocals over the top of it. Then literally I think two months later the song was already out, so it all happened so quickly, which I love when that stuff happens. Almost always demos sit in demo land for years so that was great, and yeah it was really cool."
The highly colourful, impressionist style music video was animated by Wastemall. 'Glaciers' received air play on Triple J, the Australian youth public radio broadcaster, and on 'Rage', a music video show on the national broadcaster, ABC. Jude then started to get noticed and this was to mark just the beginning, as only months later he was selected for Australia Decides.
Australia Decides 2022 – ‘I Won’t Need to Dream’
Jude's Australia Decides 2022 entry ‘I Won’t Need to Dream’ has been co-written by Jude and Billy Stonecipher, a songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia (USA). It was produced in Jude's garden shed.
Jude shared with us how they came up with the song:
"Basically we were both feeling quite down in the dumps the day we wrote it. We were kind of feeling a little bit defeated. I think this is a common experience for aspiring musicians. We kind of decided we wanted to write the song we needed to hear and that message that we hope everyone else feeling down and really pessimistic about their own life can feel uplifted after listening to it."
The pair were inspired by uplifting optimistic classic songs of the 1930s and 1940s like ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and ‘Dream’ by the Pied Pipers, but have given the song a 21st century twist.
Since the announcement that Jude's song had been selected for Australia Decides, he has been giving fans a taste of the vibe of his entry. So far, he has shared a cover of Sarah McLachlan 'When She Loved Me' from the movie 'Toy Story 2'.
Jude didn't have an artist in mind when writing ‘I Won’t Need to Dream’. Jude writes music with himself in mind in order to maintain an emotional and genuine story.
The song was originally written as a piano ballad without Australia Decides in mind. However, when Jude and Billy decided to submit the song, they made the track longer in order to meet the submission criteria: they returned to the studio to give it a revamp with a "newer section which comes in halfway" and gives the song a "really big - like - anthemic positive feel".
Advice to future songwriters
When it comes to advice for new and up-and-coming songwriters who would like to submit songs for 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' in the future, Jude shared some wise advice:
"Really think about how you could see it being performed on stage, on TV. Like, I don’t know if that’s what made the difference between my Beamish Brothers submission and Jude York’s submission, as I don’t make the decisions. [But], I think when Billy and I went back into the studio to kind of revamp it a little bit, I was really thinking how can I make this sound like something that has that theatre, the drama, that’s going to make it translate onto TV screens."
Jude York's ‘Eurovision – Australia Decides’ entry ‘I Won’t Need to Dream’ will be the young singer's solo debut single.