Love for live, stripped-back music fuels Anthony Callea's new album backed by orchestra

Anthony Callea worked with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to record his seventh album, ARIA Number 1 Hits in Symphony.
Anthony Callea worked with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to record his seventh album, ARIA Number 1 Hits in Symphony. Contributed

AUSTRALIAN singing sensation Anthony Callea says he's not an overly romantic guy, but love and loss is a common theme behind the tracks on his seventh album, ARIA Number 1 Hits in Symphony.

Adding to the romance is the fact Australian listeners have fallen in love with each track, so much so that each one hit the number-one spot on the ARIA charts when released.

Callea, 34, delivers what he considers modern classics with the help of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, something he said was a dream come true, but also a daunting experience.

"Once you're standing in the room with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra who've got 65 musicians playing these songs, it just takes them to a completely different, new level and it's just beautiful,” he said.

It was also done without "all the bells and whistles,” something he's extremely passionate about.

"It's all done totally live and I think in this day and age it's really rare that albums are made in this way,” he said.

"There's no sequence tracks, there's no auto tune. It's purely music recorded the way it's meant to be recorded.”

Anthony Callea in recording with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Anthony Callea in recording with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Contributed

The singer, who first found fame on Australia Idol in 2004, said each song on the album - from Roxette's It Must Have Been Love and Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U to the more recent hits like John Legend's All Of Me and Adele's Someone Like You - was picked because of the emotions and memories it triggered for him.

"I just wanted to pay respect to these songs and deliver my understanding of these songs because when you listen to a song everyone gets a different meaning,” Callea said.

"Music basically means so many different things to so many people. I'm hoping when you listen to this album it just takes you through a rollercoaster of emotions, some good, some bad, but I think that's the beauty of music.”

Along with today's album release, Callea has announced he will embark on a national tour to perform the songs from the latest offering, accompanied by a string section, as well as hits from his previous six albums.

"You spend so much time in the studio and on the promo trail but put me on stage, then all of a sudden I go, 'I feel totally at home,'” he said.

"I've always been drawn to amazing live singers and I think that's definitely going to be my call for the rest of my life”.

And as for the topic of love? Callea said his relationship with husband Tim Campbell, who he married in New Zealand, was one built on "truth, honesty and open communication”.

"It would be brilliant to have our marriage recognised in our country,” he said.

"It's just as truthful and honest as anyone else's relationship. I would love it if people were able to share that love and experience that love in our own country.”

ARIA Number 1 Hits in Symphony is out today and tickets for the tour go on sale this morning at 9am.


Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide: Friday, July 6, 2018

Astor Theatre, Perth: Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Palms At Crown, Melbourne: Friday, July 27 and Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Tivoli, Brisbane: Friday, August 3, 2018

The Star, Gold Coast: Saturday, August 4, 2018

The State Theatre, Sydney: Saturday August 11, 2018

Topics:  anthony callea australian tour live music

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