Turin is growing ever closer, and the line-up for Eurovision 2022 is quickly being confirmed. Australia is next to choose their act, with Eurovision – Australia Decides just around the corner! This Saturday February 26th at 8.30pm AEDT (10.30am CET), 11 acts will take to the stage, and artists are busily preparing themselves for their live performances.
In the lead-up to the show, we caught up with talented Toowoomba-based singer-songwriter Jude York, and learnt about his song, his advice for young queer artists, and those comparisons to a certain global pop star!
Thank you for joining us today, Jude! What inspired you to participate in Australia Decides? Were you a Eurovision fan before the opportunity for Australia Decides popped up? Do you have a favourite Eurovision song?
I’ve been a Eurovision fan certainly my whole adult life and following it pretty closely since 2016. Once I became aware of Australia Decides and that you can actually submit a song and be a part of it, that’s been my goal since 2019. I’ve been trying to go for it since the start!
Eagle-eyed fans would know you’re not entirely new to the Australia Decides competition. As the Beamish Brothers, you and your brother wrote a song, “Nature”, that just missed the cut in 2020. What do you think was the difference that got you over the line this time?
I think “Nature” was Ben and me thinking, “Ooh, we have this song and it could work so let’s give it a go,” but we were so convinced that (scoffs) we don’t have a chance, so whatever. But once we got that response and [SBS] were like, “This is really good, guys, we think you might have a chance of being in the top 10,” we were like “Oh, okay!” This time around, I was a lot more intentional – I’m actually going to submit a song which I genuinely believe could be an amazing Eurovision song and hope for the best!
Pardon the pun, but “I Won’t Need To Dream” is such a dreamy tune!
Yeah it is! (laughs)
Lately I’ve been hearing the name Harry Styles floating around a lot to describe your style! How do you feel about that?
I mean, I feel good about it! I think it’s the clothes. I’m rocking some very flowy blouses and high waisted pants, and I don’t want to say that I was wearing them before Harry Styles, but I was! (laughs) No, it’s always been my style. I’ve always been that person who’s gone to op shops and picked out these old man pants and really big oversized flowy shirts so I’m happy that I get to bring that into Australia Decides this year. And maybe it’s the song! Maybe there’s an element of Harry Styles-esque-ness in it. I’ll take that!
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard your music before?
It’s music you can dance to and cry to. A warm hug and a shoulder to cry on. I try to understand the listener emotionally and tap into that when I write, so it’s a lot of emotional music and it explores my sensitivities but I try to have layers so it’s never just this ballad, it always has another element to it, whether that’s danceability or some movement to it or, as is the case with the Eurovision song, it has this 180 flip halfway through where it changes into this anthemic, dreamy, lush vibe.
You were the first songwriter announced for Australia Decides, and later it was announced you were to perform your track yourself. Did you initially have another artist in mind?
I was never told, “We have this artist who is interested,” or “We want to give it to this artist.” I had my own little list of, “I think these people could do it well,” but I don’t know if I want to say it now, because it’s so past that point and I’m just happy to be here!
And we’re so happy to have you!
My manager was like “If we get Hugh Jackman to sing it, that would be amazing”, and I was like “Yeah, it would.” If Hugh Jackman sings it, I’ll happily stand down and let him do it. (laughs)
You’re a huge advocate for queer representation, and a perfect example of the power of hard work, immense talent and social media combined. What advice would you give to young queer people looking to make their mark in the arts?
Thank you! I guess I would say, “Don’t be afraid to share your art, and to share it in the vision that you have for it.” One of the things that I try to do with my social media – and that’s how I’ve got the attention that I’ve got – is to try and execute all of my ideas to the best of my ability, as much as I possibly can with my skillset, so even though I’m not a videographer or a director or anything like that, I would always try my best to experiment with lighting or design. I’m not a stylist but I would still try my best to put together an outfit which was eye-catching and things like that. Ultimately you attract people not just through the quality of your work, but through the heart you share, so it’s always great to be vulnerable with the people who follow you. Especially as queer people – I hope that my queer followers know that I’m not this distant figure. I chat with them online all the time, and I think that brings the community together.
You mentioned styling – can you give us a quick insight into your staging concept?
No one’s said that I can’t (laughs), but I have a feeling that I’m not supposed to give it all away. It’ll be very dreamy obviously. It’ll feature some nostalgic themes. I think there’s a little bit of Disney romance, not in the romance of two people, but this romantic view of the world. And then yeah, everything’s gonna explode and it’s gonna go crazy and it’s gonna be a really ethereal experience, I hope.
What is your favourite lyric in the song?
“Where the past and future meet, I’ll wake up where I’m meant to be”, that’s probably it.
Have you listened to the other artists’ songs? Which are your favourites, and who do you think is your biggest competition?
Of course I’ve listened to the other artists’ songs! They’re all really good actually, so it’s gonna be hard to compete with them. I think Charley’s song is one of my favourites for sure, I’d definitely be crying to that one in the shower. Who else? Jaguar Jonze’s song is amazing. Andrew Lambrou’s song is also really cool, it’s just such a bop! There’s a lot of really great songs. Voyager, also really cool. I have a feeling there’s gonna be pretty fierce competition. I haven’t even seen anyone else’s performance or staging yet so it’ll be new to me when it’s new to you.
Thank you so much for your time, and best of luck for the national final!
Jude York will close Saturday’s show with his entry, “I Won’t Need To Dream”. You can watch the show live here!