Interview: Sheldon Riley shares his Eurovision 2022 experience and future with the Contest
It has been five months since Eurovision 2022 in Turin where Sheldon Riley represented Australia with ‘Not The Same’.
The young talent finish in second place in his semi-final getting Australia back into the Eurovision Grand Final, where he finished in 15th place.
Just last week Sheldon released a rendition of 'Never Enough' from The Greatest Showman film which he performed on The Masked Singer, and is now preparing for a huge Eurovision concert in Amsterdam, Het Grote Songfestivalfeest 2022.
We caught up with Sheldon where we talked about his Eurovision 2022 experience in Turin. We asked him what he thought of the whole Eurovision experience:
“It was amazing. It was honestly the best experience of my entire life, very difficult, a lot harder than what anyone could have prepared me for. But I'm so grateful for it. It was, just something I'll never forget.”
The staging for 'Not The Same' at Eurovision was huge, which saw Sheldon climb moving staircases while singing and wearing a mask while also carrying his very heavy outfit.
For the event he worked with a creative team which included Eurovision legend Sasha Jean Baptiste and we asked Sheldon what the creative experience was like behind the scenes.
"I mean, it was it was fun. There was a lot of cooks in the kitchen, a lot of people that wanted to give ideas and that's already hard enough when my creative visions [are] already very strong on what I want. But I mean, I've loved Sasha for a very long time. There were a lot of differing opinions with her because she, I mean, she takes on some very big clients year after year. I think that the issue there is that no one can ever put all their time into one artist when they're taking on a few. I just said let's just roll with it. She is the best in the business. I saw Switzerland last year with Gjon’s Tears and what they did was just on the money spot on and I honestly, I couldn't have done that whole experience."
"I genuinely could not have done that experience without her. Italy what not the most prepared and it was great to have, you know, Sasha go in there and just kill it. It was the most inspired I've ever been by anyone in the working world ever. She was just so honoured. But if I'm honest, I don't regret anything but I definitely would have made some massive changes if I had you know my time back again. I mean, all that 50 kilo outfit in a three storey staircase. And you know what I mean? There's the shoes, the mask, the everything. It was a lot. I think I was trying to prove something to myself, but I'm still very proud of it. Oh, I still can't believe I did it."
When it comes to whether Sheldon would consider a return to Australia Decides or the Eurovision Song Contest, the young talent shared his enthusiasm for a return to the Contest.
"I don't think I would do Australia Decides again. I would definitely consider Eurovision again though. I don't know, I can't say too much. I'm planning some things at the moment. I definitely need to do Eurovision again, I have to. This year [I am] so extremely proud of myself. I did more therapy during Eurovision than what people do in 30 years I'm so grateful for the whole experience. I learnt so much about myself, but I think there was something about Eurovision that I have been working towards for so many years. That the final result was a little corrupted by how much I was working on it, five, six years ago if that makes any sense. I think now that the mask is gone and I'm working on my own music, finally, I think doing so many TV shows I've never really taken any chances for myself. Eurovision was the first time I'd ever done something that was really about my own music and I think there's a lot I can do with what I'm doing now and see what's possible."
In our interview Sheldon shared experiences with his delegation hosts, his exchange with Conchita Wurst in Turin, his time on the Masked Singer Australia, performing at the 2022 NRL Grand Final and exciting projects he has coming up. Check it all out here:
Coming up next month, Sheldon is set to headline the Feast Festival in Adelaide on November 5. The Feast Festival is a not-for-profit LGBTIQ+ Queer Arts and Cultural Festival, which this year is celebrating its 25 year anniversary. Sheldon is performing at the Opening Night Carnival Party located in Victoria Square in the centre of the city. You can get tickets to the event here.
Straight after that Sheldon heads off to the Netherlands to perform at Het Grote Songfestivalfeest 2022 in Amsterdam. The event is a Dutch televised concert which features past Eurovision artists. You can find out the full line-up and more details here.
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