Open main menu

Anthony Cosmo Callea (born 13 December 1982) is an Australian singer-songwriter and stage actor who rose to prominence as the runner-up in the 2004 season of Australian Idol. Callea's debut single, a cover of Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli's song "The Prayer" is the fastest-selling single by an Australian artist,[1] held the No.1 spot on the ARIA Singles Chart for five weeks, a record for the debut single of an Australian Idol contestant,[2] and was the second-highest selling Australian single of the last decade.[3]

Anthony Callea
Anthony Callea at the 2012 Multicultural Festival Canberra.jpg
Anthony Callea at the 2012 Multicultural Festival Canberra, in February 2012
Background information
Birth nameAnthony Cosmo Callea
Born (1982-12-13) 13 December 1982 (age 36)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
GenresPop, pop rock, dance-pop
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musical theatre actor
Years active2004–present
LabelsSony Music Australia
ABC Music (2013–2015)
Sony Music Australia (2016–present)

Callea has accumulated a string of awards including an ARIA Music Award, Channel V Artist of the Year, Pop Republic Artist of the Year, MTV Viewers' Choice Award, Variety's Young Entertainer of the Year, MO Award and a Gospel Music Award and is known for his powerful trained voice and his versatility in a range of genres in releases and live performances. All but one of the tracks on his second album A New Chapter were co-written by him. October 2011 saw Callea release his first new music in four years, a single titled "Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh", self-funded,[4] released and distributed as a fully independent venture through his own production company, Vox Enterprises. The dance-pop track was co-written in LA with two-time Grammy-nominated and official DJ for the Black Eyed Peas, Poet Name Life.[5] It signals a departure from the ballads for which he is known and was released in digital format only.

His albums, DVD and singles have all debuted in the top 20 of the ARIA Charts with the exception of "Oh Oh Oh Oh", an EP titled Last To Go released in February 2012 and his fourth album released in 2013.[6] However, "Oh Oh Oh Oh" debuted at number 6 on the Official Independent Music Charts AIR Charts,[7] and in its first week, peaked at number 17 on the ARIA Top 20 Australian Artists Singles Chart.[8] Last To Go reached number 7 on the Independent Distribution Singles Chart.[9][10]

In March 2013, it was announced Callea signed a record deal with ABC Music and would release his third studio album on 26 April 2013. The new release, entitled Thirty, was the first of two albums released that year, and were distributed by Universal Music.[11] The second, released on 8 November 2013 was a Christmas album titled This Is Christmas. In August 2014 Callea released his third album with ABC music but, in contrast to previous albums, this was a Live DVD/CD "Ladies & Gentlemen: The Songs of George Michael" filmed and recorded at the Palms at Crown Melbourne. The DVD debuted at number 1 on the Australian ARIA Charts. On 5 August 2016, after three albums with ABC Music, Callea announced that he had re-signed with Sony Music Australia and would be releasing his sixth album Backbone along with an East Coast tour, due to be released in September 2016.

Early lifeEdit

In his first venture into television, Callea, credited as Anthony De Fazio, appeared in an episode of Funky Squad, "The Wrong Side of the Tracks", in 1995. He began entering talent contests as a child and trained with the Johnny Young Talent School.

Australian IdolEdit

He was selected for the final 30 in the television series Australian Idol in 2004. Based on viewer votes, he did not make it through the first round of competition, but was invited back as a "Judge's Choice Wildcard", where his performance earned him a place in the final 12.

Over the weeks of the competition, his popularity with the Australian public grew. During his run on the show, he gave several performances that earned him high praise from the judges, including his rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water", Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is" and Andrea Bocelli and Céline Dion's duet "The Prayer." Judge Ian 'Dicko' Dickson said Callea's performance of the latter was the finest he had seen during his two years with the show. The competition concluded in November 2004 with Callea finishing as runner-up to Casey Donovan. He cited Cosima De Vito as his favourite contestant of the first series of Australian Idol. Callea was the first idol contestant in the competition that had never been included in the bottom three for the contestants who had the lowest votes each week.

Australian Idol performancesEdit


Callea was immediately signed to Sony/BMG Records, and his first single, "The Prayer" was released in December 2004. It debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number one, and remained there for five consecutive weeks. Within seven weeks, it was certified four times platinum, selling in excess of 280,000 copies.[12] In 2010 ARIA named it as the second-highest selling single of the last decade, which also made it the second-highest selling Australian artist song of that decade.[3] His next single, the double A-side "Rain"/"Bridge over Troubled Water" spent two weeks at number one. His self-titled album debuted at number one in the week of 4 April 2005, and remained at the top of the chart for three weeks. His third single "Hurts So Bad" debuted at number ten on the ARIA Charts, while the album's final single, "Per Sempre (For Always)" debuted at number five.

Callea's DVD Live in Concert was released on 7 November 2005. It debuted at No. 3 in the ARIA DVD Chart and was awarded

Platinum status.

Callea released the single "Live for Love" on 26 May from his second album A New Chapter, the only song on the album which he did not co-write. Both the single and the album, released on 25 November 2006, debuted at number 9. The album contains a mix of genres characteristic to Callea, including power ballads and more up-tempo songs. Callea also contributed his version of the Brian McKnight song, "Home", to the compilation album Home: Songs of Hope & Journey, which was released in order to raise funds for BeyondBlue, an anti-depression organisation. The second single "Addicted to You" debuted at no. 19 when released in February 2007.

Callea's third release was released independently.[13] Callea released the lead single "Oh Oh Oh Oh" to his upcoming EP in 2011. It reached No.17 on the Australian Artist Singles Chart.[8] A 2012 EP titled Last To Go peaked at No. 7 on the Independent Distribution Music Chart.[9][10]

His third studio album Thirty in 2013 is a collection of inspirational songs embracing the artists and music that had influenced him, with some original tracks.[14]

Callea released a 2013 Christmas album, This Is Christmas with duets with the National Boys Choir and husband/actor Tim Campbell.[15]

Callea released Backbone in 2016, which debuted at no. 1.

His Aria no 1s in symphony, released September 2017 also debuted at no.1 and makes Callea only the fifth Australian male artist to achieve 3 albums to debut in top place on the Aria Chart

Charity workEdit

Callea was part of the Tsunami Relief Telethon and was invited to perform at the Red Cross Ball in the presence of Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark. He has worked with The Starlight Foundation, the Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital, The Mirabel Foundation and The Salvation Army. Callea was the ambassador for the 2007 Perth Telethon for the Royal Children's Hospital and in 2007 was appointed official ambassador for Vision Australia. For the second time he was official ambassador for 2009's Vision Australia's Carols By Candlelight. 2016 marks the thirteenth year in a row Callea has performed at this event.


In July 2005, Callea made an east coast of Australia tour adding dates along the way in 2005. Supporting Callea on tour was Tina Cousins. From July to September 2007, Callea embarked on his A New Chapter tour with his four-piece band. Callea performed the songs in his album A New Chapter as well as some of his classic songs, playing 18 shows across the country. On 6 December 2008, Anthony Callea took a night off from his run in Wicked and returned to the music stage for an exclusive Australian show at The Palms in Melbourne. In Sweden, he headlined at the 2011 Stockholm PrideFestival.[1][16]

Callea supported his 2013 album Thirty with a 7-date tour around Eastern Australia. On 16 May 2014 will perform a one-off concert titled "Ladies and Gentlemen - The songs of George Michael".[17][18] This concert was recorded and will be released as a 17-track CD/DVD on 1 August 2014.[19] In June, Callea announced an extension of his "Ladies & Gentlemen: The Songs of George Michael" concert, with dates in September and October through Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Collaboration eventsEdit

At the Tattoo Spectacular 2007, Callea performed his songs accompaniment by massed bands and the Tattoo Choir.

In 2008 Callea and several Australian performers performed with the Sydney Symphony at the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House, in tribute to the greatest film songs ever written. In 2012 Callea and others performed a series of concerts with the renowned 65 piece Australian Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) for New Year's Eve 2012 Timeless Classics at the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne's Hamer Hall.

Callea was support act for the Australian leg of Diana Ross's I Love You 2006 tour. During the Australian leg of Westlife's Face to Face Tour, Callea was the support act, Westlife's Arena Tour in February 2007. Likewise in Australia 2008, for Celine Dion on her Taking Chances world tour, he special guest support act.

Callea was special guest of the Australian leg of Whitney Houston's Nothing but Love World Tour in Brisbane 2010. The arena tour played in Brisbane, Hope Estate Hunter Valley, Sydney, Melbourne, and finished in Adelaide.

He joined Tina Arena as special guest on her 2012 National Australian Symphony of Life Tour. They performed The Prayer and I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You the love duet from The Mask of Zorro. The final show of the tour at Melbourne's Hamer Hall was filmed for a Foxtel special aired in 2012 and released on CD and DVD 23 November 2012.

Anthony was handpicked[20] to support Mariah Carey for her first Australian shows in 14 years. He performed at one of three concerts at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in 2013.

Anthony once again joined Arena when she returned to Sydney and Melbourne in February 2013 for four shows due to public demand for an Encore performance of her highly popular Symphony of Life concert.

Notable performancesEdit

  • One-off special concert for the Australian Flood Victims at Rally For Relief at Rod Laver Arena Melbourne in January 2011[21]
  • February 2009 joined Tina Arena to perform an impromptu performance of "The Prayer" at Melbourne's Grand Hyatt re-launch[22][23]
  • chosen to sing for Queen Elizabeth II in March 2006 at Commonwealth Day Church Service in Sydney
  • 2004 tsunami victims tribute performance at the 2005 Logies Awards
  • In 2005, on what was to be Luciano Pavarotti's last trip to Australia, at the request of Pavarotti, Callea was flown to Perth to sing at a Gala event to honour the operatic tenor.
  • sang "The Prayer" at the 2005 ARIA Music Awards after winning the highest selling single of the year.

Television workEdit

It Takes Two season 2Edit

In 2007, Callea was one of the professional voices on the Seven Network's weekly musical competition program, It Takes Two, in which celebrities from non-musical fields were teamed with professional singers to perform a duet each week. Callea was paired with radio DJ Jo Stanley and finished in second place, competing against Jolene Anderson and David Campbell at the finals.


It Takes Two season 3Edit

In 2008, Callea again performed as one of the professional voices on the Seven Network's weekly musical competition program, It Takes Two, in which celebrities from non-musical fields are teamed with professional singers to perform a duet each week. Callea's partner for season three was ironwoman Candice Falzon. Callea and Falzon were eliminated in week seven, finishing in fifth place.

Ultimate School Musical: FameEdit

Callea joined the cast of Foxtel's Ultimate School Musical: Fame documentary in 2010[24] filming the series alongside Ruby Rose and others in Melbourne. The show features school children attempting to put on a professional musical in just six weeks. Callea is the series' voice coach.

After nationwide auditions the students of Essendon Keilor College in Melbourne were cast in the 10-part series to premiere exclusively on FOX8 under the guidance of director Eddie Perfect, theatre producer John Frost, choreographer Kelley Abbey and singer Callea.[25]

I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Series 2Edit

On 31 January 2016, Callea was revealed as a contestant on season 2 of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Australia. Callea placed fourth in the series behind the ultimate winner Brendan Fevola. He also described his time in the jungle as one of the best experiences of his life and hoped that it bought more awareness to his chosen charity Lifeline (crisis support service).


In September 2007, in his first musical production, Callea played a supporting role in Dead Man Walking, the true story of Sister Helen Prejean, an unconventional nun, who accompanies murderer Joe de Rocher to his death by execution. It explores the opposing desires for vengeance and forgiveness in this extreme situation, and the commitment required to love or to hate a fellow human being.

In November 2007, Callea played the lead role Mark Cohen, a filmmaker and video artist, and Roger's roommate, in the Perth production of American Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical Rent. This was Callea's second musical production. He starred alongside his now-partner, Tim Campbell. Callea took the role of Boq in the Australian premiere of the Broadway musical Wicked, in Melbourne 2008-2009 and in 2013 he was cast as Rydell High's rock star student Johnny Casino in the Australian production of Grease (musical) alongside Rob Mills as Danny, and Gretel Scarlett as Sandy. Bert Newton, Todd McKenney, Lucy Maunder and Stephen Mahy also starred.

Personal lifeEdit

On 27 March 2007, after speculation and tabloid rumours dating back to his Idol appearances, Callea publicly acknowledged that he is gay by issuing a statement confirming his sexuality and thanking his fans and his then-partner, Paul Riggio, who worked as a talent coordinator on Australian Idol during Anthony's run on the show.

"Yes, I am gay," Callea said. "I have no issue with my sexuality now, but it's taken time to become confident with who I am and happy with who I am. I'm comfortable enough to come clean now. It's a weight off my shoulders".[26]

On 30 March 2007, Michael Kirby, then a judge of the High Court of Australia, described Callea as an "admirable Australian" for coming out. Justice Kirby added, "In terms of influencing popular culture and understanding of the reality of human sexual diversity, I would trade ten judges for one popular singer."[27]

Callea has also admitted to suffering from depression in his teenage years, saying, "I went through major depression. I hated myself. I had to see a psychologist. I wasn't talking to anybody. My parents didn't know what was wrong with me."[28] Callea has since supported beyondblue, an Australian initiative against depression, by contributing his version of a Brian McKnight song, "Home", to a compilation album, Home: Songs of Hope & Journey by various Australian artists to raise funds and bring attention to the organisation and its cause.

In February 2008 he and actor/singer Tim Campbell confirmed that they were in a relationship after they broke up with their respective partners to be together. On 18 August 2014 Campbell and Callea announced their engagement.[29] They were married in New Zealand in November 2014.[30]



Award Category About Result
Pop Republic Awards 2007 Australian Male Artist of the Year Himself 3rd
Australian Gospel Music Awards Outstanding Achievement Award "The Prayer" Won
MTV Australia Video Music Awards 2006 Coca-Cola Viewer's Choice Award 2006 Himself Won
Dolly Teen Choice Awards 2006 Hottest Album of 2006 Anthony Callea Won
Pop Republic Awards 2005 Artist of the Year Himself Won
Variety Club Heart Awards 2005 Young Entertainer of the Year Himself Won
MO Award 2005 Australian Performer of the Year Himself Nominated
MO Award 2005 Contemporary Rock Performer Himself Won
Channel V's Oz Artist of the Year Award 2005 Oz Artist of the Year Himself Won
ARIA Awards 2005 Highest-Selling Album Anthony Callea Nominated
ARIA Awards 2005 Highest-Selling Single "The Prayer" Won
ARIA No.1 Chart Awards 2005 ARIA No.1 Single "Rain"/"Bridge over Troubled Water" Nominated


  1. ^ a b McCabe, Kathy (18 July 2011). "Anthony Callea =Daily Telegraph".
  2. ^ "The Aria Report" (PDF). 17 January 2005.
  3. ^ a b ARIA’s End Of Decade Charts* Archived 21 January 2012 at WebCite(PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. 7 January 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Callea goes it oh oh oh oh so alone". 23 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Two-time Grammy Nominee POET NAME LIFE". 23 October 2011. Archived from the original on 9 September 2011.
  6. ^ Discography Anthony Callea Archived 24 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 15 October 2011
  7. ^ Retrieved 18 October 2011
  8. ^ a b ARIA Top 20 Australian Singles Chart Archived 6 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine ARIA Australian Recording Industry Association Retrieved 16 October 2011
  9. ^ a b Last to Go. iTunes. Retrieved 19 March 2012
  10. ^ a b Independent distribrution Chart. Independent Music Charts. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012
  11. ^ "New callea... easy as abc". 2 March 2013.
  12. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2004 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 13 October 2006. Retrieved 14 November 2006.
  13. ^ "Anthony Callea". Anthony Callea. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Anthony Callea, Latest News". Archived from the original on 13 April 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Buy This Is Christmas (SIGNED PHOTOGRAPH) Anthony Callea, Christmas, CD". Sanity. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Stockholm Pride presents". Stockholm Pride org. 18 July 2011.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^
  18. ^ Suzanne Carbone. "Ten solid years of singing is the answer to an idol's prayer". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  20. ^ "We'll see Mariah in the raw: husband". The Daily Telegraph. 12 December 2012.
  21. ^ "Anthony Callea To Perform For Flood Victims Today - News". 16 January 2011. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  22. ^ "Anthony Sings An Impromptu Performance Of 'The Prayer' With Tina Arena".
  23. ^ "Anthony Callea and Tina Arena". Archived from the original on 31 March 2012.
  24. ^ "Ultimate School Musical". Foxtel Fox 8. 24 March 2010. Archived from the original on 23 April 2010.
  25. ^ Clune, Richard (24 January 2010). "Idol's fame on screen". Sunday Telegraph.
  26. ^ "Anthony Callea's Official Site". Archived from the original on 22 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007.
  27. ^ Ross, Norrie (31 March 2007). "Gay Idol receives high praise". Sunday Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2007.
  28. ^ AAP (27 March 2007). "Anthony Callea comes out". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 January 2008.
  29. ^ "Singer Anthony Callea announces engagement". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  30. ^ "Anthony Callea and Tim Campbell marry in New Zealand". 17 November 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.

External linksEdit