One half of an Australian celebrity power couple, singer and entertainer Tim Campbell chats to Marc Andrews about his inner disco diva and those weird thoughts that made him gay!
Handsome, blond and hunky, it’s no surprise that 38-year-old Tim Campbell is one of Australia’s most recognisable showbiz faces. He’s appeared in soaps like Home And Away, hosted some frightful programs ( Celebrity Singing Bee, Million Dollar Wheel Of Fortune and National Bingo Night) and starred as part of a gay couple bringing up a child together in the hit series House Husbands. He even found spare time to don sequins for Dancing With The Stars and has a not-so-secret penchant for musicals, appearing in Wicked, Rent, Shout and The Boyfriend.
Now he’s turned his talents to music, specifically his love of disco and pop classics. His debut covers album, High School Disco, is released this month. Tim amply shows off his vocal talents as he whips through fizzy hits from the likes of Madonna, George Michael and even re-roasts the disco chestnut Shake Your Groove Thing.
Tim hasn’t previously talked much about his seven-year relationship with Australian Idol runner-up Anthony Callea, but DNA wasn’t about to let him get away that easily… DNA: Are you finally sharing your inner disco diva with the world? Tim Campbell: I think it’s fair to say I’ve been doing that for years. Although as a tall lanky boy from the western suburbs of Sydney, I may not be the most qualified dancer! What’s the most recent track on the album? I sometimes say at my gigs, “If it was written after 1995, I don’t want to know about it!” Tongue firmly in cheek, of course. Callea will kill me for that alone [laughs]! Probably George Michael’s Faith would be the most recent! Didn’t you want to add any originals to the mix? I never say never to originals in the future, but I don’t profess to be a singer/ songwriter. I say singer/entertainer. What do you think the Queen Of Pop will make of your version of Holiday? Now you’ve put the fear of Madonna into me! I am a big fan of early Madonna – she is the original Gaga for Gen X. I think we’ve put a fresh spin on this track, while still honouring those great synth sounds of the Queen’s version. If she ever hears it I will wet my pants, whether she likes it or not! What does disco mean for you: glitter balls, platforms and hair chests? Disco is all about fun – chest hair optional [laughs]. Have you seen American Hustle and any chance of you stealing Bradley Cooper’s perm from it? I haven’t, but you had me at Bradley Cooper. Off to track it down! Were you always a lover of disco? God, yes! I was
born in 1975, right in the middle of the disco era. For me the songs have never died, but then I’ve never followed what others say is daggy or cool. I do what feels good. I mean, I’ve never stopped drinking chardonnay! What’s your best disco move? On stage, you can’t go past finishing a song with the Saturday Night Fever finger point! Always a winner! If you’re confident with it, people think you’re actually a dancer. I’m so not, but have been called one before. Do you and Anthony have disco parties at home and get out the wigs? God, no, we don’t have wigs! We do have an eclectic mix of music during dinner parties, but leave the dancing to the dance floors when we’re out. The only musical moments are when I jump on the piano at about midnight after a few bottles [laughs]. What does he think of the album? He has no choice but to love it and be involved. I have lived through a few of his musical projects, so it’s great we can share ideas and help each other. Of course Anthony is one of the best vocalists live and in studio. He has been an incredible asset to this recording process. No duet from you two on the album – we were hoping for No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)? [Singing from the classic disco duet] I can’t go on, I can’t go on! I did a duet on his latest Christmas album, that’s enough for now. What else does 2014 have in store for you? I’ll be touring this album in June and July, my first ever live tour. I have done musicals and tours with my band on outdoor and corporate gigs, but this is the first time I’m opening to a paying audience in the clubs and other venues. It’s a simple mix of fright and utter excitement. Honestly, I can’t wait to bring High School Disco live to life. Anthony told DNA he was keen to have children at some stage. What’s the date on that? Still not clucky, sorry. I know, I know, my clock is ticking [laughs]. Is it hard being in a celebrity gay couple? Honestly, there’s nothing hard about being yourself. I get where the celebrity tag comes from, but it hardly influences our life together. We’re just a couple at the end of the day. What age were you when you came out? I was 20 and thankfully had an incredible family and friend support network that made it so much easier than I predicted in my head. I know that I’m lucky. Many don’t get to have
Disco is all about fun – chest hair optional!
that experience, but don’t ever be afraid to be yourself. [Pondering] I didn’t always know; I didn’t even know what gay was until I had those “weird thoughts”. Once you understand it in your own way, and in your own time, it is so much more rewarding. Were you bullied at school at all? Thankfully, no. I was teased on occasion as we all were, but never bullied. I was a lot more into sport at school and did fairly well in that domain. Music, however, has influenced many stages of my life. I can’t put on [Mariah Carey’s album] Music Box without the possible odd tear on a couple of songs. I love that music can influence many emotions. As an out gay man what are your hopes for the world in 2014? Putting Russia aside, I believe there are positive steps being made worldwide which is inevitable once education can shine through. Yes, we have a conservative government presently, but I don’t feel that progress can’t continue. Also, I like to equally focus on issues that don’t wholly relate to my sexuality… embrace it all [laughs]. What’s your message to the readers of DNA? Buy a subscription, it’s a great magazine. Is that what you were after [laughs]? Speedos or boardshorts at the beach? Definitely board shorts. Callea and I debate this often, but I’m there for the waves and a swim!
more: High School Disco is released through ABC Music/ Universal Music
Tim and partner Anthony Callea.