I fell fast for Conchita when she graced the Eurovision stage in Copenhagen in 2014. I had never seen anything like her. Looking beyond the beard, she performed with such poise and passion. I was entranced. When she gave her victory speech and uttered those immortal words, “We are unstoppable” I applauded loudly from my lounge room. Her victory seemed to stand for something bigger. While “Rise Like a Phoenix” was undoubtedly the song of the competition, her win went beyond the ballad, indicating an acceptance of diversity and difference so timely as the world fought for marriage equality.

Unlike so many Eurovision winners, Conchita has refused to fade away. She’s visited Australia several times since her big win, but last Thursday was her first full-length concert in Sydney. And didn’t she do it in style. Backed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, on the stage of the Opera House’s concert hall, supported by some of the best talents in the land, this show was so deserving of the diva.

Conchita started the night paying tribute to one of her greatest inspirations, Dame Shirley Bassey. “Where Do I Begin?” was such a fitting introduction to the night, easing us into the performance before Trevor Ashley, appearing as Ms Bassey herself, joined Conchita for a stunning cover of “Diamonds are Forever.” Never one to hog the limelight, Conchita graciously stepped aside to give “Shirley” her moment on “Goldfinger.” Dame Shirley’s shoes are big ones to fill, but Trevor’s vocals and mannerisms were spot on.

The night continued in much the same vein, with Conchita treating us to some of her favourite covers and tracks from her own album, interspersed with anecdotes about her journey and life after Eurovision. She was joined every now and again by our homegrown acts. Courtney Act seems like she’s only gotten stronger since Australian Idol. She joined Conchita for “River Deep, Mountain High” because going solo with an emotional performance of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.”

Paul Capsis showed why he’s one of Australia’s most acclaimed cabaret performers, joining Conchita for a breathtaking cover of “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).” The enthusiasm with which he performed Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” was something to behold.

On paper Guy Sebastian might have seemed a little out of place, a fairly vanilla addition on such a fabulously colourful night. However, reprising his breakout Australian Idol performance of “Climb Every Mountain” with Conchita was sublime. “Tonight Again,” the song he sang at Eurovision, was the perfect solo song for this crowd.

And of course there was Dami Im, Australia’s newest Eurovision star announced on the night. Her incredible version of “Waterloo” should have left no doubt in the audience’s minds that she’s the right woman for the job.

There were so many stars, but none shone brighter than Conchita. She anchored the evening beautifully, performing with such elegance and style. She has so much charisma and one of the best voices I’ve heard. I was feeling a little fatigue after so many concerts close together, but as I rose to my feet and confetti rained down while Conchita waved goodbye, I was on cloud nine. What a way to end such a busy concert period.

Image source: own photos

I’m sitting here bleary eyed and bursting with pride following this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. I’m an unashamed Eurovision tragic, and I’ve been up at 4:55 am three times this week (just enough time to grab a piece of paper to take notes to remember who to vote for and a Coke to wake up). This was the big one though, Guy Sebastian’s appearance, the first time Australia has competed and voted in the competition’s 60 year history.

Other singers got pitchy as the nerves caught up with them, but not Guy. A consumate professional, he truly did Australia proud with “Tonight Again,” a song that had me grooving around the loungeroom. But of course, a great song and performance is no guarantee of Eurovision success. There was a part of me before the event that worried that there might be some backlash from people who thought Guy and Australia had no place in Europe’s contest. I feared we might end up getting no points at all. Instead we got 196, including two douze points (that’s the maximum of 12 for those playing at home). Thanks Sweden and Austria! That put us in fifth place, behind the winner Sweden, Russia, Italy, and Belgium.

Fifth is more than credible in a field of 27, especially considering some of my favourites Lithuania and Cyprus were number 18 and 22 respectively. It’s not enough to see us back next year, but more than enough for us to hold our heads high. Personally I’ve had so much fun voting and even getting up early for it. It was amazing to feel part of a contest that’s been one of my year’s highlights for more than two decades.

Thank you Austria for including us in the celebrations. And thank you Guy for doing this country proud.

I always think it’s a bit weird when I get press releases about songs without links to videos or at least the audio. What’s the point in telling me there’s a song unless I can experience it? I don’t really want to tell you about it if it’s terrible. So I tend to do my own research, which is what led me to this cool acoustic version of Guy Sebastian’s new single “Linger.”

Now I haven’t caught the song on radio, although I’m told it’s there, but I have a hunch this sounds dramatically different to the version Guy recorded with Lupe Fiasco. Anything with Lupe Fiasco probably doesn’t sound this mellow and cool. But I like it, so that’s what I’m going to post.

Guy will promote “Linger” and the album it comes from, Madness, when he tours all around the country next year. Tickets are on sale now.

12 February 2015 – WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong
14 February 2015 – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
18 February 2015 – Qantas Credit Union Arena, Sydney
21 February 2015 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
25 February 2015 – Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide
28 February 2015 – Perth Arena, Perth

Taylor Henderson has done the unthinkable, knocking boy band of the moment One Direction off the top of the charts and claiming the number one spot with his self-titled debut. His single “Borrow My Heart” is also at number ten this week. I’m also pretty sure it’s the first time an X Factor runner-up has gone to number one on debut, so he deserves serious props!

His X Factor competitor Dami Im continues to sell truckloads with her self-titled debut. The platinum-selling album sits at number seven this week.

Billy Birmingham’s also doing big business with his latest effort. Willy Nilly – The 12th Man’s Biggest Hits climbs one position to land at number three this week.

Human Nature have also jumped one position. They sit at number five with their festive offering, The Christmas Album.

Guy Sebastian is the best of the Aussies on the singles chart this week. “Like a Drum” is holding steady at number six. Justice Crew also haven’t budged. “Everybody” sits at number nine.

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Dami Im continues to ride the wave of post-X Factor success. Not content with a number one single a few weeks ago, Dami’s debuted at number one with her self-titled album. It features that number one hit “Alive” as well as tracks performed during her stint on the reality TV juggernaut. Her album’s the 12th by a local performer to hit number one on the ARIA charts this year. That beats the previous record of 11 Aussie number ones set in 2004. Does 2013 have another Aussie number one in it?

It seems plenty of us are already feeling festive, as Human Nature’s The Christmas Album has jumped into the top ten this week. It sits at number nine, three positions better than it was last week. Tina Arena’s also still hanging around the top ten. She rounds out the top ten with Reset this week.

Dami’s fellow X Factor finalist Taylor Henderson is also holding his own. His single “Borrow My Heart” is sitting at number five this week. Guy Sebastian’s “Like a Drum” is showing it’s got real staying power. A month after its release it sits at number seven. Justice Crew have dropped a couple of positions, but they’ve still claimed a top ten spot with “Everybody.”

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When I watched Katy Perry perform her smash hit single “Roar” on the X Factor finale, I remember thinking that Dami Im sang the song better a couple of weeks prior. So perhaps it’s fitting that Dami’s roared louder on the ARIA Charts this week and beaten Miss Perry to the top spot. The reigning X Factor queen has scored her first Australian number one with “Alive.”

Guy Sebastian’s appearance on the finale appears to have done him some good too. His latest single “Like a Drum,” the first to come from his forthcoming seventh album, is sitting at number four on debut. The song is Guy’s 12th top ten single.

Last year’s X Factor contestant Nathaniel continues to do great business with “You.” It only slipped slightly this week to claim the seventh spot on the charts. It pipped Justice Crew’s newie “Everybody,” which jumped ten spots to sit at number eight.

Last week’s number one album, Triple J’s Like a Version Volume 9, has fallen to number four this week. It beat out Kerser’s S.C.O.T. and Tina Arena’s Reset, which sit at number five and six respectively.

Click below for a closer look at this week’s top tens.

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Our very own Guy Sebastian has lent his voice to “Bed of Clouds,” the debut solo single from Montreal rapper Swift K.I.D.

“Bed of Clouds” is the follow-up to “Hey Hey Hey”, a triple-platinum collaboration between Swift K.I.D., Laurent Wery, and Dev. Guy said he “really loved that track,” so he jumped at the chance to be involved with Swift K.I.D.’s next musical venture.

“He is a cool cat and got some good things coming,” Guy said.

I really love the way Guy’s soulful voice works with Swift K.I.D.’s rapping. There’s also great potential here. “Hey Hey Hey” chalked up more than eight million views online. Can you imagine what it’d do for Guy’s career abroad if this song got similar attention?

“Bed of Clouds” is available for digital download now.

Guy Sebastian is once again sitting pretty at the top of the ARIA Albums Charts. His latest smash Armageddon returns to the number one spot this week. He’s the lone Aussie in the top 10, but things are a little brighter for local talent on the singles chart.

Again we see Guy; his latest single “Get Along” is holding steady at number five. He’s keeping company with recent X Factor graduates Samantha Jade and The Collective. Sammy has slid back a little this week, but her single “What You’ve Done To Me” is still performing well. It sits at number two. The Collective are also making their presence felt with “Surrender.” It was just pipped by Guy’s number this week, but a number six debut is nothing to sneeze at.

Click below to see this week’s ARIA top tens.

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X Factor winner Samantha Jade has soared into the ARIA countdown to claim the top spot on the singles charts. Samantha Jade’s debut song “What You’ve Done to Me” achieved gold status in just two days, and wasn’t challenged for the number one.

She’s keeping company in the singles chart with her X Factor mentor Guy Sebastian. His latest release “Get Along” zoomed from number 34 all the way up to number five this week. Talk about a big mover!

Guy’s also the best performing Aussie on the albums charts. Armageddon’s jumped up one place this week to sit at number four.

Click below to read this week’s top tens.
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Another week gives us another Aussie number one album, but Guy Sebastian continues his reign on the singles charts. “Battle Scars” continues to perform, making it the equal best performing number one for the year with Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones.” Meanwhile Pink’s The Truth About Love is her fourth consecutive album to debut at number one. It bumped off The Amity Affliction’s Chasing Ghosts, which has fallen all the way down to number 15 this week.

We have seen some impressive album debuts by up and coming local acts though. The Rubens’ self-titled album has rocketed in to the charts at number three, while Aussie hip hopper Seth Sentry is sitting at number six on debut with This Was Tomorrow.

The Sapphires and The Presets round out the local talent in the top 10. The soundtrack from the Aussie flick is steady at number seven this week, while The Presets’ latest release Pacifica has fallen from number three to 10.
Again we see Justice Crew keeping Guy Sebastian company in the singles top 10. Their unstoppable song “Boom Boom” sits at number seven after a massive three months on the charts.

Click below for this week’s top 10s.

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