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  • Cooper Olsen

Australia Decides 2022: Getting to know Sheldon Riley

Sheldon Riley has been announced by the Australian broadcaster SBS as one of the second set of artists competing at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' 2022.

From his television debut on 'X Factor' to his appearance on 'America's Got Talent', Sheldon has been wowing audiences across the globe.

Before he steps onto the Australian Eurovision stage, we take a look at his music career that led him to 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' 2022.

Who is Sheldon Riley?

Hailing from Sydney, New South Wales, but has recently moved to Melbourne, Sheldon was born on 14 March 1999 to an Australian mother and Filipino father. He grew up in the Gold Coast, where he started watching Eurovision.

Sheldon has kicked off his career as an artist and songwriter with a bang.

He is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and has been open about his struggles growing up with the notion of masculinity and what it meant to be a man in Australian culture. His life has shaped him into the incredible artist he is today, not afraid of showing a more androgynous front to his exuberant persona.

'The X Factor Australia' and Time & Place

Sheldon first appeared on the eighth season of the Australian version of 'The X Factor' back in 2016. He impressed the judges during his audition with an a cappella rendition of John Legend's song, 'Ordinary People'. Sheldon was rejected during the bootcamp round of the show but was giving a second chance when judge, Iggy Azalea decided to place him in a boy band known as Time & Place with three other contestants who were also let go.

The group then performed 'You Don't Know Love' by Olly Murs during the three-chair challenge round of the show. Their coach, Iggy decided to take them through to the next stage of the show. Time & Place made it to the live shows but was voted out in ninth place during a quadruple elimination.

'The Voice Australia'

It wasn't long after 'X Factor' that Sheldon returned to Australian screens, competing in 'The Voice Australia' 2018. Sheldon managed to get all four coaches to turn during his audition singing 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?'. He decided to join Boy George's team and quickly became a fan-favourite. The same season, Sheldon competed against many Australian Eurovision artists including Junior Eurovision representative, Bella Paige and 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' 2019 artist, AYDAN.

While on the seventh season of the show, Sheldon performed covers of hits like, 'Diamonds' by Rihanna, 'Creep' by Radiohead, 'Born this Way' by Lady Gaga and 'Young and Beautiful' by Lana Del Rey . Sheldon made it all the way to the Grand Finale where he placed third overall.

During Sheldon’s first run on 'The Voice', music industry legend, Boy George took him under his wing as his coach on the show. After the programme aired, Boy continually supports and mentors Sheldon’s career. The two instantly understood each other and their similar experiences in the music industry has led Sheldon to grow even more in his identity as a musician.

A year later, Sheldon returned to the show during its 'All Stars' format where he joined team Delta. He showcased his incredible artistry with breathtaking performances. During the final episode on the eighth season of 'The Voice', Sheldon confided in his coach explaining that his ultimate dream was to represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest. Now three years later, he's one step closer to making that dream a reality.

'Americas Got Talent' and music releases

After conquering Australia, Sheldon had his eyes set on the world stage.

In 2020, he competed in season 15 of 'America’s Got Talent'. His incredible performance of Billie Eilish’s ‘idontwanttobeyouanymore’ impressed the judges' panel made up of Howie Mandell, Sofia Vergara and the music industry giant Simon Cowell. The judges all voted yes and sent Sheldon through to the quarter-finals.

Due to Covid-19, Sheldon couldn’t be in the US, but that didn’t stop him from competing in 'America’s Got Talent'. For his quarter-final performance, Sheldon performed an incredible rendition of Kylie Minogue’s ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ from Luna Park Sydney.

Unfortunately, Sheldon did not get enough votes to advance in the show but did receive praise from Kylie herself. Kylie Minogue took to Twitter to express her love for Sheldon and his version of her song.

During 2020 and 2021 Sheldon has released a number of singles including 'More Than I', 'Left Broken', and 'AGAIN'. These songs show the type of artist Sheldon strives to be. He also takes to social media to show off some amazing covers and share his passion and enthusiasm for Eurovision.

We can't wait to see what Sheldon brings to the 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' stage in February. There is no doubt that it is going to be anything less than extraordinary!

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