Carl Risely

“Auditioning for Australian Idol wasn’t planned. I simply lost a bet and had to audition. I didn’t think a jazz singer had a place in the competition, but I was certainly proved wrong. I wasn’t at all nervous about going on the show as I love performing. The things I get nervous about are the internet and technology!

Before I entered Australian Idol I was a musician with the Royal Australian Navy for five years, and loved it. Travelling to Iraq and providing moral support was amazing and very moving. I’ll never forget seeing the smiles edge across the faces of our Aussie troops while they forgot about what they were involved in, even if it was just for an hour while we performed. It was one of the best experiences of my life. It gave me a new perspective, I don’t sweat the small stuff.

Before Idol I had no formal training in singing, only in trumpet playing. Being on the show helped me develop into an all round performer. I was overjoyed to finish in the top three, and very excited about moving forward with my career. I would certainly encourage other young people with talent to follow in my footsteps. If you are umming and ahhing about auditioning, stop right now and go for it, the opportunities are endless.

I have now released two records. The Rise was a dream of mine, to create a fun-loving, big band album, performing with Australia’s great musicians. The Stillest Hour is my new sound. It is a little more serious, and this is the way of the future for me. Lately, I’ve been touring with a great live show. Performing with Kate Ceberano at the Sydney Opera House was an amazing experience. I’m also hard at work writing originals for a new album which I hope to release next year.

Animals have always played a special part in my life. In our family we have always had a beautiful little dog. Our two long timers were maltese terriers by the names of Snoopy and Jazzy. Oh, I miss them. All animals should be treated humanely. They are living, breathing creatures just as we are.

I dislike the use of live animals in safety tests for consumer products. If there are alternative tests that can be done, there should be no question. When it comes to those who still use live animals in tests, I would ask them if they had “pets” themselves. We need to find out what their barriers are, and why they haven’t changed to the alternative tests.

“Celebrities should speak out about things they think need to be changed. Celebrities have more of an influence on people than they realise.”