After a massive reaction to his first single “If they only knew,” Alfie Arcuri has released an emotional anthem in support of the ‘Marriage Equality’ campaign, “Love is love.”
Alfie spoke to Amnplify’s Pauli Dee about the song, the video & announces his next live show, amongst some fun & random questions.
Hey Alfie, thanks for chatting with me. I wanted to talk to you first of all about your newest single “LOVE IS LOVE.” Can you tell me a little about its conception and the writing of it?
Yeah it kind of happened almost accidentally. I was working with a producer around the time that the marriage equality plebiscite was announced & a lot of my friends & people I knew in the (gay) community were feeling a little defeated & anxious, so I wanted to write a song, both for myself & the community that was sort of up-lifting to give us a little bit of hope & remind us what the whole thing is about.
How are you finding the reaction?
It’s been great. I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me & thank me & say they love the song, so it’s been really good. That’s the beautiful part of what I do, seeing people’s reactions to the songs because I write them from a very honest place, so to hear people’s feedback is always great.
The song’s based around the marriage equality plebiscite that’s happening at the moment in Australia, which is coming to an end soon. How do you feel about that?
It’s a bit nerve-wracking, but I’m pretty confident that most people would be for something like that because everyone’s got a heart. Obviously there are people out there that don’t support it, but I’m quietly confident because I’m a normal human being that works and have feelings just like everyone else. The old me at high school, the anxious, closeted Alfie that thought there was something wrong with me is gone and now I just don’t understand why it’s a debate. When I’m in love it feels natural & I want to be able to marry my partner one day, when I have one again. I just don’t understand it. I think love is beautiful in any colour & form that it comes in. I actually wrote the song because I have a little nephew, Harry & he changed my life when he was born because Ive never felt that kind of love for a kid because I don’t have my own children & having a baby nephew inspired a lot of the lyrics in the song because I want him to grow up one day & never have to apologise for who he is & I never want him to have to fight for something that is so natural to him.
Has a lot of your feedback come from the younger members of the gay community?
It’s usually the younger generation that reach out to me, but I had a dad send me an email the other day. He was an Italian catholic dad, like my own dad & his son had just come out to him the day before & he was at work & wasn’t really dealing with the world very well. He wasn’t sure how to approach his son & he was on YouTube & my video popped up as recommended, so he watched it and he said it really affected him because it was such a coincidence that it came up, so he thanked me for writing the song because he didn’t know how to respond to his son and he didn’t understand what it was to be gay & music is such a powerful form of expression. It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to put my work out there and have help or inspire people myself. The response to my earlier video “If they only knew” has been amazing, it’s had almost a million views, it just went off one day on YouTube & I read the comments all the time. People are asking for a part 2 so my next single is actually the part 2 to that song. That song is so personal and the song I wrote after it, which is called “Same” is literally the part 2 to that song, so I’m really excited to explore the video to that song next.
You wrote these songs in the states. How was that trip?
Oh my god, it was amazing. I was over there for a month. I’ve realised in this industry, you have to be very pro-active, so I said to my label “If you can send me overseas and hook me up with these writers, I had a list of writers that I wanted to work with, I’ll fund the whole trip & they did! I was with these amazing writers like Toby Gad, who wrote John Legend’s “All of me” & this girl that I worked with had written with Troy Sivan & Ariana & all the One Direction boys individually & we just clicked. We wrote this song so quickly, it was like 3 hours & it was amazing, I loved it so much. I worked with a guy, Michael whose Dad is a Grammy-award winning writer, he wrote with Whitney Houston & Celine Dion on their first albums! It was just amazing. I love song-writing so much.
Wow – Is that not intimidating to work with someone of that stature?
Well the thing is all of these people I’ve worked with, oh except one, are… we’re all on the same emotional level & I think that’s why they’re song-writers. I always go into a writing session completely open. Sometimes I have an idea or an almost finished song & we work together & then it becomes their project as well. It’s early cool. I was really scared of writing when I first finished the show, because I had convinced myself that I wasn’t able to do it, you know, I was an architect and was new to the music industry. I was just a consumer of music that just happened to love singing, but I have so many stories & as soon as I started telling my story, it turned into “If they only knew” which was my second song, but before that I was introduced to Kate Ceberano & I went over and had dinner at her house & she wanted to hear my story and where my music comes from, so I told her a story about my ex and his family & how we couldn’t be together & how if they only knew how much we loved each other, bla bla bla! When she heard me say that line “If they only knew” she said “Darling, you have to write that song” so I approached it like a diary entry & then from there I just got more confident in my writing & I started writing whole verses, then choruses and these songs just started evolving & I’ve worked with so many writers since, it’s been great.
Did you record over there as well?
Yeah I recorded 5 songs in the 4 weeks that I was over there. It was a bit of a holiday as well, a few of my friends came over & met me there, but it was mostly writing. I went over there very open & at times I actually worry about the people in my life because if they’ve affected me, there’ll probably be a song written about them! Hahaha There’s nothing malicious, I’ve never written a malicious song, but that honest music is what makes me want to sing.
So you wrote & recorded music in the U.S. Have you written and recorded back here in Australia?
Yeah! I’ve worked with Audius, who wrote with Delta Goodrem on her first album “Born To Try” and he’s worked with Jess Maubouy. I’ve been very lucky to work with these amazing song-writers & I try to do as much as I can because now, working in this industry is so different to my old 9 to 5 job in architecture where I can be really busy for 2 weeks, then I don’t have a lot on for 2 weeks, so I try and fill in that time with writing music as much as I can.
Do you miss architecture?
Not really! Sometimes I miss the creative side of it, like meeting with a client & designing their house, because that’s a pretty cool thing to be able to do, but I don’t miss the politics of architecture. Music’s very creative as well, so that takes care of that area!
The video for “Love is Love” is cool. Did you have much to do with the concept of the video?
Well the thing with the video is, it sort of came out of nowhere. I didn’t really have any plans to release it, I just wrote the song in the studio one day and this amazing man named Gary Leeson heard it & he loved it & he wanted to a) direct the video & b) pay for the video, so I was just like “OK” because I’m sure that doesn’t happen very often. So we worked on it together. I got involved because I wanted to make sure it was done tastefully & I didn’t want it to look like it was about me, I wanted to make sure that the message was clear & I think we accomplished that.
Well it sounds like you have a lot of material under your belt. When can we expect an album?
I’m hoping for February. I’ve probably got enough material for 2 albums, but I love dropping singles as well. I wouldn’t mind just dropping singles & videos! I, myself haven’t bought an album for a long time, I just sort of go single by single, but I guess it depends on what the people want. Having said that, I’ve just been streaming Sam Smith’s new album all day & it’s so good. I love him so much.
He’s recently announced some Australian shows. Will you be seeing him when he comes out here?
I hope so, because he’s on the same label as me & my marketing manager is friends with him, so I said “If he comes out here & you don’t introduce me, I’m going to be very angry!” He’s my idol and I love his music so much. He’s got a song called “No peace” & I listened to it once and just fell in love with it, it’s incredible. He’s just so inspiring.
Ok, so writing, recording… what about performing live? Have you got any shows coming up?
Yes! I haven’t announced it yet, but I’m doing a show to coincide with “Love is love” on the 17th November at Gingers at the Oxford hotel. I’ll also be singing at the same-sex plebiscite reveal in Sydney, I think that’s on the 15th of November, so hopefully I’ll be singing to a positive outcome.
I also read that you may be performing at next year’s Sydney Mardi Gras. Can you confirm that?
I don’t know yet, but I hope so! I’ll be there anyway! I only went to my first Mardi gras this year & it was so emotional. I had never been before. Every year since I came out, one of my straight mates has had a bucks night on Mardi Gras night, so this year there was nothing on, so I went to the parade & it was just beautiful. My best friend Elise and I were crying because it was just beautiful! Next year, hopefully I’ll be there performing, I’d love that!
I read somewhere today that you were invited, but maybe you haven’t been told yet!
Look at that! We’re giving each other the exclusives today!
Have you spoken to your mentor from “The Voice,” Delta Goodrem lately?
Yeah, I was in the gym the other day & I got a facetime call from here. She loves a facetime & it was so funny I thought if anyone walks passed me, they’d have no idea that I’m facetiming with Delta Goodrem! She’s been so good to me, I love her so much. It’s been 2 years since the show, she could have gotten rid of me by now, but she’s stuck around & been very supportive, so she’s awesome!
Connect with Alfie
- Pauli Dee
One Random Minute with Alfie Arcuri
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
I was meant to have eggs until I realised I didn’t have any, so I just made a protein shake & a coffee!
Oh it’s so bad & I’ll have some tonight, but it’s ice-cream with that cookie dough that you buy from Coles. I’ll mash that in together & add ice magic to it as well! That’s why I have to walk 18,000 steps to the gym every day! I have to walk off my cookie dough!
What’s the most played song in your ipod at the moment?
Probably Sia’s “Move your body” It’s a great song when you’re in a sombre kind of mood & need to be lifted & I’m feeling Sam Smiths album creeping up very quickly!
Apples or bananas?
Boxers or briefs?
Briefs. Definitely briefs.
Favourite super hero?
To look at? Hahaha I love Thor, but that’s probably just because I’m obsessed with Chris Hemsworth! He’s beautiful!
If you were a Spice Girl, what spice would you be?
Posh! She was my favourite growing up. I don’t think I reflect her personality, I just love her attitude. I think I love what she’s done. She’s married David Beckham and built this empire, she can’t sing! But that’s not important! Hahaha!