Sewell’s wild ride to the top
ARIA winner shares his highs and lows
FOR someone who was sending out their demo at eight years of age, Conrad Sewell was always destined for a career in music. But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. In this chat, Conrad shares some of the ups and downs, including his time in the US and the moment he became clear about who he was and what he wanted to sing about.
Matt Collins: Has your success been a surprise, even to you?
Conrad Sewell: It’s been a wild ride I’ll say that. Working just doing one thing after the other. It’s been an incredible up and down journey. I’ve toured with huge acts and won an ARIA but I still feel like there is still so far to go. For me, I haven’t even touched the surface of what I can do and what I want to do.
MC: You mentioned the ups and downs then, what have been some of the highlights of your career so far?
CS: Performing with Ed Sheeran was great. When I was living in the States I was on Jimmy Fallon and I played Madison Square Garden. But I’m still searching for that thing that is going to completely blow me out of the water where I am the biggest artist in the world. For me, that is the next stage I am trying to get to.
MC: You’ve played with some great artists. Have you chatted with them? Do they say there is that moment where you explode to the next level?
CS: I think it doesn’t happen overnight, but when the ball starts to roll it doesn’t stop rolling. For me, I have had the ball start to roll and then it stops for a little bit. Then it starts to roll again. It’s this ongoing battle of stardom. I think it also has to do with where I was at in my life. I had been through stuff personally and I was partying a bunch and that was taking me away from what I actually loved, which is the music.
MC: With great success comes challenges as well. What have been some of the bigger challenges you’ve had so far?
CS: I think the industry itself. Not being able to control everything that happens. I guess finding myself musically too. I’ve really had to sit down and think, what do I want to be? What am I trying to do here?
I could put an album together and I could have a Justin Timberlake song at one end of the album and a rock-and-roll song on the other end. Because I have grown up singing so many styles of music. So for me, the challenge was figuring out who Conrad Sewell was and what I want to say and what I want to sound like.
MC: I grew up with bands like Rolling Stones, Dire Straits, Led Zepellin. What did you grow up with?
CS: Mine was very much about the voice early on. Motown was huge in my house. So was The Temptations, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross. But my mum was a huge Mick Hucknall fan so I got into Simply
Red. But then I just found different voices I fell in love with over the years and then I found rock-and-roll.
MC: On this incredible journey you’re on, what are one or two things that have blown your mind so far?
CS: Coachella for me was something I’ll never forget. I’ve met Bono and different musicians that I have grown up idolising. It’s kind of weird, because it shows anything can happen in life.
WHAT A JOURNEY: Conrad Sewell says he is still searching for that thing that will completely blow him out of the water and take him to the top of the music industry.