Anthony Callea at Werribee Mansion
BY LISA FOREMAN
ARIA winner Anthony Callea is proud to say he is a Werribee boy through and through.
After shooting to fame as runner-up in the 2004 series of Australian Idol, Callea still lives in Wyndham and has fond memories of growing up here.
The 25 year old, soon to fly to New York to start work on his third album, recalls living with his parents in Yalonga Avenue, off Duncans Road, and then in another house near the Princes Highway.
He spent his primary school years at Corpus Christi before attending McKillop College.
Callea says he has heard all the jokes about Werribee's smell and no longer bats an eyelid.
"To be honest, people can take the piss out of Werribee as much as they want, but for me it was a great place to grow up," he said.
"It was a great place and I don't have any regrets about my upbringing in Werribee, I loved it."
Since Idol, Callea has released two albums and holds the record for both the biggest and fastest-selling single in Australia for his debut release, The Prayer.
Callea was five when he turned to his mother and told her he wanted to be a singer.
"Mum used to drive me to Richmond once or twice a week for singing lessons," he recalled.
"At that age I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I just enjoyed it and loved doing it and thankfully it led to something I could actually make a career out of."
To expose his talent, he would take part in school holiday singing competitions at Werribee Plaza.
"No matter how cool you think you are, everyone has been a dag at least once in their life."
His first accolade came when he won the Wyndham Young Achiever award: "I think I was in year 8 or 9. I remember going to the cultural centre and getting my little trophy and medallion."
Things have certainly changed since then.
He auditioned for the second series of Australian Idol.
"I just thought I'd be stupid not to give it a go.
"It was a tough three months, but I'm glad I did it as obviously I wouldn't be doing what I am doing now."
The gamble paid off.
Callea has accumulated many awards, including an ARIA, Channel V Artist of the Year award and MTV Viewers' Choice award and has sung for dignitaries including the late Luciano Pavarotti, the Queen and Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark.
He has also taken his talents to the theatre, starring in the musical Wicked.
Callea's next project will see him team up with partner and former Home and Away star Tim Campbell for a performance at Crown casino in Melbourne on December 6.
Tickets from http://www.ticketek.com.au/ or on 1300795012.
article sourced from The Werribee Banner