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  • Writer's pictureKyriakos Tsinivits

Australia Decides 2022: Interview with Paulini

Today we speak to one of the biggest names in the Australian entertainment industry. She has captivated us from her time on 'Australian Idol,' competed on 'I’m a Celebrity' and 'The Masked Singer' just to name a few shows, made her way onto the theatre stage and is now set to compete in ‘Eurovision Australia Decides’ 2022 on the Gold Coast. It’s the incredible Paulini.

Thank you for joining us. How are you?

I'm very well thank you. It's okay, in Sydney. I mean, the weather's been all over the place. But it's good I can't complain.

Well first of all, congratulations on being selected for Australia Decides 2022, after the reveal you got a lot of love on your socials from your fans and even Eurovision fans. How has the reception been since the announcement that you are competing on the Gold Coast?

It's been great, I still can't believe that I'm going to be part of this amazing show, I'm still trying to figure that out in my head. And, you know, as we kind of figure out what the, like, I've got an amazing song. But as we try and creatively figure out the performance aspect of it, and how we're going to get it out there to people to listen to it gets more exciting. And I love that, you know, I love that. It just keeps the momentum going and builds, you know, the excitement builds, and I can't wait to get on stage in the Gold Coast and perform. If I do go, if I do get chosen, it is going to be an honour, that's all I'm gonna say because to this is gonna be the first time I'll ever really kind of get on stage representing, you know, Australia. So, for me that's a massive deal. You know, not everyone gets that opportunity. So I'm very grateful and thankful for everything that's happening.

Talking about your song, we would love to know about your Australia Decides entry. In the SBS announcement you mention that your performance will be a Diva moment, and that you’ll be taking us back to your musical roots. Some people have said, is it 'Fireman' 2.0. What more can you tell us about your entry?

Look, I'm not gonna say it's not, like it's a dance track, so it is very similar to 'Fireman', maybe not as fast. It's a dance track that has elements of my upbringing. So I, you know, basically learned how to sing and grew up singing in church. And so a lot of those elements are in there. But the song is about empowering people to come together, unify, you know, through love, that's the only thing that's going to get get us past this whole pandemic, and all of these things are happening that are, you know, crazy, is our unified love for one another and respecting one another's opinions and choices. So, it's got an element of everything. Like when I say diva, I'm not like, I'm not saying like, you know, I'm a diva. And, like, kind of like I'm Mariah Carey. I just mean, I'm coming from a place where, I'm bringing my experiences and the things that I've gone through into the song and it's an anthem that I'm trying to kind of get out there to people and to get them to think about the things that are happening and that the only thing that we really need to do is just be there for one another and show kindness and love.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. But when I say "diva", it's more like me being a hustler. And about me still being here today. You know, if since Idol days, I'm still kind of trotting along and trying to stay in this music industry and it's a hard industry to be in. You've got to kind of try everything you've got to get into the dancing and the acting and all of those things. So that's what I mean by "diva". But like, I'm bringing all of those things to work and hard work and, hopefully pays off. It pays off, but it's gonna be, it's gonna be all elements of who I am as a performer and, you know, my experiences in life.

Did you submit a song to the portal and were you approached for Australia Decides?

Yes, I was approached by Australia Decides, which was I couldn't believe and I got the phone call, I was very excited. And I basically so I kind of, I had a vision of what kind of song I wanted. So I, they, you know, I pretty much said to them, okay, this is kind of the things that I want to talk about in the song. And if you have anything in the portal that kind of talks about these things, and send them through, and I think I've got five or six songs. And I basically just listened to those songs. And, you know, chose the one I liked the best and the one that I thought I could put my experiences in and make it as real as possible for myself and for others out there. You know, I didn't want to get up there and just perform something that wasn't true to me. And I basically heard this song and lyrics and I had to do a few tweaks. Lyrically, I had to tweak, a few lyrics here and there. And the track, we basically, like, redid the whole track, so it is nothing like the original track that I first got. So yeah, it's exciting. Like I said, the process of creating something new, and just the whole performance side of of what I'm going to do on the night, that excites me, and I love the song. The song is is something that I believe in very much. And I stand by, you know, I think that's something that we all need to, we all need love at the end of the day. That's all I can say.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think you may actually be our first Pacifika contestant at Australia Decides, how important is it to have Fijian representation on the Eurovision Australia Decides stage?

It blows my mind, when I do, you know, when I think about that, I feel like I'm very honoured that I am the first Pacific Islander to be part of it. But it's also such a massive achievement for myself. You know, it's humbling and I never thought that, you know, I never thought I'd be chosen to be one of the contestants because when you're growing up, you kind of go oh okay, I'm just going to try my best and see how it goes. And you don't think that massive doors like this will open. So it humbles me that I am the first Pacific Islander to be a part of something that's so big. Yeah, so that that question to me, like, just really humbles me I get quite emotional because it's, it's something that I never thought I would get asked to do. You know, especially, being born like I was born in Fiji. I came over here when I was four. It really is an honour to be the first Pacific Islander to be on Australia Decides.

When it comes to Eurovision songs, you actually covered Denmark’s 2009 entry ‘Believe Again’, you sung it in a duet with Ronan Keating on 'The X Factor' back in 2010. The song landed on the ARIA Singles charts. So Eurovision has crept into your career before. What does the Eurovision Song Contest mean to you?

The Eurovision Contest for me is... it's like because I am, you know, because I am Fijian and I've come into a country that's given me so much opportunity, I love the fact that all of these different countries are coming together. You know, there's no judgment, there is none of that, like, as quirky as you are, as loud as you are, as big as you are, as different as you are. People are accepting of that. And I'm glad that I'm a part of that, you know what I mean? Like, because I'm also, in a country that I wasn't born in but I've had so many amazing opportunities. So I love the fact that there are so many different countries, so many different cultures, so many different styles of songs and singing, and entertainment. All coming together as one, and I guess that's the beauty of music, it's a unified language that we all can understand. It doesn't matter what language you're speaking or whether you have an accent in the song or whatever it is, how you look. It's about music and that's what kind of unifies everyone. It's like different countries coming together and you're all unifying as one and that's how it should be.

And do you have any favourite Eurovision entries?

I love the I think her name is Loreen. Yes. 'Euphoria'. Yes, that's something for you. That's we came out with oh my god hands down. For me. It was like, yes, go Yes. Like, do your thing. Like, that was so amazing. Like, I love that performance. And that track was on repeat for like weeks. I gotta say that was one of my favourite performances on the show. And I loved Kate Miller-Heidke, she represented... there's quirkiness about her and she's an amazing singer. I know this because I have seen her live. And you know, it just like those two performances for me really kind of like stand out. And, and of course, you know, Guy's and Jess's and Dami Im. But for me, I Loreen like, that kind of changed my perspective on Eurovision if you get what I mean. I think she came out man, I was like, oh, my Lord, like that is insane. Like that performance was just incredible.

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?

What would I take? Okay? Oh geez. Okay, I will take, my phone because of Spotify, and I need to listen to music, not because of social media. Um, I would take... it's a hard one. I would take my joggers because, you know, I'm going to have to be working out every day just to kind of keep the energy up for you know, the performances over there. And you know my Asics are the most amazing Asics ever. And a nice book... maybe 'The Alchemist'. Something that's gonna keep me kind of entertained.

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

You can check out the full interview below where Paulini also talks about how Covid has impacted her, the latest projects she is currently working on and more!

You can catch Paulini performing at ‘Eurovision - Australia Decides 2022’ on the Gold Coast on February 25 and 26 with other amazing Australian artists all vying for the coveted spot to represent Australia at Eurovision 2022 in Turn, Italy. Tickets are available here, also you can watch the Australian Eurovision national final on SBS on February 26.


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