An Interview With The Soul-Inspired Singer-Songwriter, ALFIE ARCURI!
Get to know Alfie Arcuri! Distinctively emotive, this soul-inspired, singer-songwriter reached the mainstream in 2016 as the winner of The Voice Australia and more recently as a Eurovision Australia Decides Finalist in 2019. He is the 2019 brand ambassador and spokesperson for Jaguar and the Sydney-based musician brings his exciting fresh new pop sound to the U.S. with new single “Same.”
Alfie co-wrote “Same” with Jesse Thomas (who co-wrote Martin GarrixFt. Troye Sivan’s “There for you”). “Same” was a recent finalist among more than 4,000 entries (including Dean Lewis, Amy Shark and Conrad Sewell) in the Vanda and Young Songwriting Competition. The new single has drawn comparisons to Sam Smith, Troye Sivan, Nick Jonas and George Michael and has been featured in Spotify Australia’s New Music Friday and New Pop Sounds playlists as well as Italy’s A Fine Giornata.
Since winning The Voice, Alfie has headlined some of the biggest Australian television appearances, including The State of Origin (3 million + viewers), Melbourne Cup’s exclusive Bird Cage, Channel Nine’s Carols by Candlelight (2 million + viewers) and Eurovision’s Australia Decides (1 million + viewers).
Alfie’s self-penned debut single “If They Only Knew” has amassed nearly 4 million streams across all platforms and was featured in Billboard’s Pride’s Top 30 Gay Love Songs 2017 alongside Troye Sivan, Frank Ocean, and Sam Smith.
Connect With Alfie Arcuri Online Here-
Learn more about Alfie Arcuri in the following All Access interview-
What does a typical day look like for you? What do you have scheduled the rest of today and this week?
One of the things I love about my life currently is that no day is ever typical. Prior to winning The Voice back in 2016, my life was very routine-based where I would head into the office every day as an architect (yes I’m a certified architect lol), finish work, go to the gym, have dinner then start all over again. Now my weeks are spent in the studio writing, performing at various gigs and stages across Australia, spending time with my little French Bulldog Gary, spending time with my family/friends and maybe a bit of design to keep my brain active. I’m about to fly off to Melbourne to kick of my ‘Live & Intimate tour’, which I’m very excited about.
Now that we are in the latter half of the year, how has 2019 treated you? What are some goals that you have had for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them or did you already? What are you already excited about for this fall and even looking towards 2020?
This year has been a great one for me! It started off with me participating in the first ever ‘Eurovision:Australia Decides’, I released two singles ‘To Myself’ & ‘Same’ and more recently I was invited to be apart of the Golden Stag Festival in Romania.
One of my goals was to have my new single ‘Same’ synced to a Television show… it hasn’t happened yet but the year isn’t over yet.
2020 – Bring it on!! The one thing that scares me and that equally excites me simultaneously about this industry is the ‘unknown’! I have no idea what next year and the universe has in store for me and I am so excited about where the music will take me…one thing for sure, is I can’t wait to put the final touches on my EP and get it out in 2020.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be in this industry? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
My relationship with music has evolved – it started off as my refuge but solely as an appreciative listener. Growing up as a teenager knowing I was gay, I felt like all I had was music. It was my happy place and my companion. While I would listen to certain songs, it was as though for those 3 minutes, everything was going to be ok.
When I came out, as strange as this may sound, my voice also came out! My relationship to music had changed yet again! I discovered that I could use my voice not only as a form of expression but also as a gift of healing. I remember when we found out my sister was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (a form of Cancer) 3 weeks before her wedding, our world fell apart and I just wanted to do something to make her feel safe and special. So I decided to offer to sing her first dance on her wedding day as a gift (my sister is thankfully now healthy/happy with 2 kids in remission) and it was this moment that changed my life forever. It encouraged me to apply for The Voice and potentially give up my career as an Architect (which i studied 6 years for). I was quickly notified by the show’s producer that I had an audition and before I knew it, I had won the national singing competition!
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
Funnily enough I’m very new to music, I was an architect for longer than I have been a musician. So the answer is no, I could never imagine giving up music and performing for a life in the office. I do however still love designing, it has now switched from my job to my favourite past time.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all? What has been the best part about it all?
My career in music has come with so many different surprises and challenges, which have made the journey so far incredibly exciting and also terrifying at times.
I think the biggest reality check for me was the transition from winning a TV singing competition show to entering the music industry! When you are thrown in the deep end as quickly as you are from a show like The Voice, you have to learn fast about how to be a singer and also who can trust and who has your back in the industry. To survive this, you literally have to be willing to endure the incredible highs and the constant lows. You must leave your ego at the door! The last three years have been so challenging for me to establish myself as a Artist and songwriter, and not just ‘another reality show winner’.
I think the best and most rewarding part for me so far has been the discovery of my craft but also people discovering my stories from all around the world. I love receiving messages from people, particularly young people who have connected to or have been moved by my music/stories. It makes the lows all the more worthwhile.
What did you learn from being on The Voice Australia and winning it all? What about being a finalist on the Eurovision Australia Decides? What were these experiences like for you? Would you recommend that other new musicians audition for a singing competition like this one?
I think the general misconception that comes with winning a reality singing show is that from the moment you win, you are catapulted to stardom and everything will be a breeze and set up for you. This is far from reality! I went into the competition knowing that this wouldn’t be the case, and I learned very quickly that my intuition was right. The last three years have been some of the most challenging of my life. Some challenges great, others not so much! However, from these I have actually become a much stronger person and have learnt so much about the industry.
I also realise that without a platform like The Voice I wouldn’t have had some of the opportunities that I have had today, like Eurovision: Australia Decides, so I’m grateful for the experience. This was incredible. Although I didn’t win, it gave me an opportunity to show Australia who I have developed and evolved as an Artist and songwriter. I was able to showcase my original music and perform it alongside some of Australia’s most talented performers, many of whom I have idolised my whole life.
How did you get to be the spokesperson for Jaguar?
I was fortunate enough to form an alignment with Jaguar due to my voice and presence in the Australian LGBT community. I pride myself on being a representative and role model in the community, and these were characteristics that the brand were looking for in their next ambassador alignment. My song ‘Love is Love’ was the official anthem for the Marriage Equality Campaign the year prior in Australia and I felt the synergy between our brands was such a great fit.
Let’s talk about your newest single “Same.” What was the inspiration for this track? What was it like writing it with Jesse Thomas? How would you say that it compares to your previously released track, “If They Only Knew”?
‘Same’ tells the story of when you come across somebody who has all the same things as the person you lost except for the fact that it’s just not them… So basically the inspiration for the track was my first two relationships. Writing the track with Jesse Thomas was so much fun, we instantly gelled from our stories and experiences in relationships and before you know it the lyrics started to pour out! To think that I almost cancelled the session because I was feeling incredibly hungover from my mates arriving in LA the night before.
I think sonically ‘Same’ and ‘If They only knew’ differ quite a bit. ‘ITOK’ has the vibes of early 2000 Switchfoot or The Frey even while ‘Same’ has this current ‘edgy pop’ vibe. Thematically however, the songs sit side by side. ‘Same’ is literally the sequel to ‘ITOK’ when it comes to the lyrics thematically. I am so proud of them both.
Typically, how do you go about writing your songs? Do you follow one process for them all?
I always start off with a theme, usually it’s something I’m going through or have gone through that I need to get off my chest, always a cathartic experience for me. Sometimes it starts off with a few simple words in my notes on my phone or more often, i’ll record melodies on my voice recorder and develop the ideas later.
When do you plan on releasing more new music and a full collection of new songs?
My next single is currently in discussions – I have two very different contenders that I am currently trying to decide between.
Where can people see you perform next? Do you have any fall tour dates scheduled yet?
I’m presently amidst a solo ‘Live and Intimate’ tour across Australia. Melbourne was my first show and it was so much fun! I love nothing more than being on tour and performing my original music to my fans. And it’s so exciting to test out new material to the audience and feel what they are connecting with most. Next stop is Sydney, so I’m currently in rehearsals for that.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
I have had to learn incredibly fast how to develop as a musician. As mentioned earlier, this industry is so new to me. I think being burnt a few times has taught me some vital lessons. But the most important one has been to build a team around me who truly believe in my project.
This has allowed me to continue to grow and develop and evolve into the Artist that I am today. I am much more confident as a performer. I remember when I first won The Voice, I could literally count on two hands how many times I had performed in front of people. I felt like i had this ‘title’ as a performer, however I didn’t feel like i had earnt it yet. Now, i have performed hundreds of times since in front of crowds ranging from 40 to 65,000! I still get just as nervous every time however now i feel like i have earned my stripes. I feel worthy of my title as a performer.
How do you feel about social media? What do you think social media has done for your career so far?
I honestly find social media so stressful haha!! I appreciate the value of it for my industry and I think it does wonders for our careers as musicians. But on a broader scale, i think Social media has incredible implications on the mental health of the youth and also for adults.
Australia is currently trialing the hiding of ‘likes’ in facebook and instagram posts, which i believe was such a bold and courageous move on their part. I feel this will take so much pressure off people and will our usage will revert back to its initial intent of posting beautiful content not validation of ‘likes’.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Ahh I love this question, particularly because my answer has changed so many times over the years. My influences growing up (2000’s) were many soul/r&b artists such as Usher, Craig David, Chris Brown, Brian Mcknight, Mariah Carey, Boys II Men, Joe etc. I believe my soulful tone derived from me singing along to such artists.
As I got older, I discovered more alternative/pop music such as David Gray, Damian Rice, Sia, Switchfoot, Ed Sheeran, Daniel Merriweather and more recently (coming out) Madonna, George Michael, Whitney Houston, Adele, Sam Smith.
It would be a dream of mine to work with Adele and Sam Smith!
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
Wow this question is hard! Maybe on location in Tuscany or New York city! That could be cool…and very romantic!
Where would you love to hear a song of yours played?
I still haven’t heard one of my songs played on the radio. I think when this happens I won’t be able to contain myself. I would love to be riding down Santa Monica Blvd one day with the top down and my song comes on the radio haha!
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
Honesty and Authenticity. I want people to feel safe in my stories, in knowing that someone else is going through or has gone through something similar to them. I believe that music is one of the most powerful forms of communication.