Sheldon Riley reveals how Eurovision changed his life

Sheldon Riley reveals how Eurovision changed his life

Video transcript

SHELDON RILEY: For me, Eurovision has always been the big dream. It's always the number one thing I wanted to do. Forever, it was told it was never going to happen, mainly because-- I think because I'm an independent artist and Eurovision costs a lot of money, like, a lot, a lot, a lot of money. And they only help out so much.

So we left Eurovision with a very, very outrageous amount of debt. And I'm so happy about that, though, because, I mean, I worked my entire life to get to that. But before that-- I mean, I come from nothing, hey. Absolutely nothing.

No money. No real support financially, with everything that I wanted to do. So I've always wanted to create cinematic music.

Orchestral music. Songs that, even without vocals, take it off. It's just musical masterpieces.

That's all I've always wanted to create. But, I mean, working with real strings and working with real music, it's expensive. And it's not easy to come by. And to create especially in Australia, it's not easy to produce.

So I've written music and I've released stuff that I've loved-- I've written. But I've never, ever been happy with the sound. It always felt very artificial or computer made.

And I mean, artists like Amy Winehouse and Adele, and people who have real, real music behind them. All of the 007 tracks, I loved. And it really wasn't until Eurovision that I've really started to be able to make the money to create what I want to make and be the person that I've wanted to be.

I grew up all through public housing. I went to-- I think it was 11 different schools. I had to fill out a government form of how many different houses I lived in. It was insanity. I've never had stability in life to be able to do what I want to do, or the finances to create what I want to create.

So, I mean, it's just my partner and my two dogs now. And that's just-- it's just awesome. We work our absolute butts off.

And I haven't stopped. I work so hard. But it's to create what I want to create.

And I feel like this is the first song that I can really look at and be like, shit, we have come a really long way, from having absolutely nothing to creating music that's not cheap. I'm recording with a real orchestra and a real quartet. And I'm producing with people who are just so good at their craft. And creating outfits like this-- the outfit is insanity.

It's all human hair. 36 meters of it. It cost a fortune, but we did it because that's what I want to do. And I love it. And you can see it. You can see when something's of good quality.

This is what I've always wanted to do. These are the images I've always wanted to create. This is everything I've always wanted to be. But it wasn't until after Eurovision that, especially in Australia, anyone took me seriously enough to let me work and finance what I do.

I'm completely independent. I've never had a label backing. I've never had a publisher. I've never had any kind of finance come in any other way than the work that I do myself solo.

So if it wasn't thanks to gay bars and LGBT venues, I would never have made a dollar off what I love to do. But as grateful as I am to that, now that I've done Eurovision, I can do these crazy corporate events. I can release my own music.

And then, I can release merchandise. I'm doing all these different stuff. And I'm becoming my own business for the first time ever because we've got the finances to do that. So this song was kind of a good example of that. Just music I've worked on forever and being able to listen to it and go, Oh, that's what I want to listen to.