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  • Writer's pictureKyriakos Tsinivits

Australia Decides 2022: Interview with Charley talking Eurovision and Australia Decides

Photo credit: Ash Lim

Today we speak to one of the 10 artists revealed for ‘Eurovision – Australia Decides 2022’. Hailing from the Gold Coast but currently living in Sydney, this pop newcomer, singer-songwriter has released two singles and is the next generation of the Australian music scene it’s Charley.

Thank you for joining us.

Congratulations on being selected for Australia Decides 2022, what was your reaction when you found out you had been selected?

I was in a Zoom call with Paul [Director of Blink TV] and one of the people as well. And it was the most surreal feeling. They kind of said it. They're like, "So we're kind of offering you this now." And I was like, "Is this official? Is this it?" and they're like "This is it?" I was, ah, can I tell my mum now? Because I kept it from my family for so long. So yeah, it was surreal. Crazy.

You are not just a singer but also a songwriter who creates empowering and forward-thinking pop. How would you describe Charley?

I'm still learning about myself as we do, as we grow older. I'd say I'm a very dramatic human. And everything that I feel is very intense, and very deep. So I guess I like to put that all into my songwriting, which is, you know, such a good way. And I call myself Charley, and that's not my actual name. And that gives me, I guess, something to kind of just make myself confident and to not, you know, overthink my music as much and I kind of just write to make other people feel heard, I guess. Yeah, I'm still learning about myself.

We absolutely love your Eurovision Vlog, we love to see the perspective of the artist as they embark on their Eurovision joinery. In the vlog you mentioned that you wrote your entry two and half years ago with Jim Alexander about your biggest heartbreak. What more can you tell us about your entry?

Um, well, yeah, I wrote it two and a half years ago, in LA when I was there, and I was going through a very, very rough time with a person that you know, still hasn't moved out of my life yet. So it's a song that's still very real to me. And it's um, it's all about not being able to move on from someone basically, no matter what you try, and no matter what glamorous places you are, you still feel that kind of emptiness, that space that's, not there from that person that's left. So yeah, it's very, it's very real to me. But, you know, I feel like a lot of people go through a heartbreak like that for their first love.

So it must be very emotional experience going through that songwriting and the recording process?

Yeah, very, very, the entire time Jim [co-songwriter] and I were just crying while writing it. And then when I did my interview for basically what they show before the performance starts, oh my gosh, just talking about it made me oh my gosh, my heart just started, like rising so much. So in that interview, it's a bit a bit emotional. Yeah. Crazy.

We also know you had to cut your song down to 3 minutes, what was that process like?

I feel like the number one thing about, songwriting is you don't, you shouldn't mess with just the timing of it and how long it should be, it should feel how it wants to feel. And so yeah, it was originally a really slow ballad. And we cut the first pre chorus out and then that took a whole chunk out of it, but to me now it kind of feels better because it it kind of grooves along and it's a really big storytelling thing. So it's kind of nice that it's quicker. I think we did a good job of it.

We know you've actually been on 'The Voice' before, so you have had some TV stage experience. What can we expect from you on stage at Australia Decides?

So on 'The Voice', it was very...that experience was wild. I don't remember a lot of it, because I just, I was so anxious the entire time, I think because everything was being decided for me. And I think that's the most insane part about Eurovision is that you get such a say in everything, and you get to really work and collab with all the directors and all the creative people. Now I get to decide how I want my hair and makeup and dress and lighting and camera angles and write my own song, which is the biggest blessing, you know and I cannot reveal anything, but I'm about to put up a vlog two [shown below, released after the interview]. With a tiny bit more information, but I'm not allowed to say anything. Sorry.

You are not afraid to touch the big subjects in your music, in your second release ‘Arizona’, the song is about mental health and social anxiety. After the release you collected donations for Beyond Blue. How important was that song release to you?

Oh, my gosh, it was a so important. Because, you know, as I said, Charley gives me a way to express myself and to not feel really any fear about it, it really just gives me a lot of confidence. And I've had anxiety my whole life I've gone through, you know, all the mental health issues that everyone has. And I got to a point where I just, I was so anxious. And I was like, why haven't I written about this before? And it was at the end of the first lockdown. And I'd started hanging out with friends again, and my social anxiety disorder. And I just started getting anxiety attacks and everything. So wrote about that, put it in a song and I really just wanted to put a big, kind of message out there to people about how real it is. And yeah, make a donation. And I would love if everyone could donate to that, so I can give that to them. We still haven't reached 500 [dollars]. And that's the goal. So I really love that.

I made a music video and got to give my acting skills a go, which was actually kind of real because every time I tried to fake an anxiety attack, a real one would come up. It's good, though I'm very, very fortunate to be able to make a music video like that. And yeah, that song means a lot to me.

Let’s touch on Eurovision, in the SBS announcement video you mention that the Contest has been part of your world. Your family are obsessed with it. What does Eurovision mean to you?

My family has been doing Eurovision for quite a while and they all get up and they all have a big gathering and the only meals that they can make are foods from the country that's like being held in at that point. So my family is obsessed with it and they were just unbelievably proud telling every single person that I'm doing Eurovision. I just, I would love to represent Australia. I think that Eurovision is such a beautiful, amazing supportive competition. Yeah, very blessed to be part of that family now.

And do you have any favourite Eurovision entries?

I have a lot. Um, I mean, obviously ABBA and Conchita, The Common Linnets. But my favourite one is Måneskin, of course. Yeah, their way of writing music is just so, I don't know, it gives you this confidence and makes you feel empowered. But also it's so catchy and they're just very good looking.

What other projects are you working on, what other things can we might expect from you?

Oh my god. Well, Eurovision is literally taking so much of my time right now, which is amazing. Um, and then after that I may be doing a headline show. So that's what I'm working towards right now. I'm getting all my songs together. And yeah, I can't say when yet. But that's coming up. And then I've got another show after that. And then, we're working on the next thing, and I just, I don't know what to say. I don't know. I don't know what to not say.

Lastly if you got the opportunity to go to Turin for Eurovision 2022 but could only take three items with you, what would you take?

Vegemite? Probably. Because I need to know to know how good Vegemite is. Because everyone spreads it on so thick. And it needs to be with hot bread, ton of butter and a little bit of Vegemite.

I'd probably say because of all the cheese and pasta that I'd eat. I'd probably need to take my lactose tablets. Um, and my teddy bear, because I have a teddy bear that kind of comes around the world with me I'm just taking him everywhere. I don't know why. It's weird. Apart from my phone, because I'll need Google Translator, but we'll say my teddy bear.

We cannot wait for your song release and to see what you have planned, for Australia Decides 2022 in the Gold Coast. All the best Charley and thank you very much for speaking to Aussievision today.

Thank you so much for having me.

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