Anthony Cosmo Callea (born 13 December 1982 in Melbourne to Italian parents) is an ARIA Award-winning Australian singer and was the runner-up in the 2004 season of Australian Idol.
Anthony currently holds the record for both the highest and fastest-selling single in Australia for his debut release "The Prayer".
Anthony has accumulated a string of awards including an Aria Award, Channel V Artist of the Year, Pop Republic Artist of the Year, MTV Viewers' Choice Award, Variety's Young Entertainer of the Year, MO Award and a Gospel Music Award and is known for his powerful trained voice and his versatility in a range of genres in releases and live performances.
All but one of the tracks on his second album A New Chapter were co-written by Callea and his albums,singles and DVD have all achieved Top 20 status
Callea began entering talent contests as a child and trained with the Johnny Young Talent School. He auditioned and was selected for the final 30 in the television series Australian Idol in 2004
During his run on the show, he gave many performances that earned him high praise from the judges, including his rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water", Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is" and Andrea Bocelli and Céline Dion's duet "The Prayer." Judge Ian 'Dicko' Dickson said Callea's performance of the latter was the finest he had seen during his two years with the show. The competition concluded in November 2004 with Callea finishing as runner-up to Casey Donovan.
Callea was immediately signed to Sony/BMG Records, and his first single,"The Prayer" was released in December 2004. It debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number one, and remained there for five consecutive weeks. Within seven weeks, it had become the highest-selling Australian single of all time, it was certified four times platinum, selling in excess of 280,000 copies. His next single, the double A-side "Rain / Bridge over Troubled Water" spent two weeks at number one. His self-titled album debuted at number one on the week of 4 April 2005, and remained at the top of the chart for three weeks. His third single "Hurts So Bad" debuted at number ten on the ARIA Charts, while the album's final single, "Per Sempre (For Always)" debuted at number five.
Callea's DVD Live in Concert was released on 7 November 2005. It debuted at #3 in the ARIA DVD Chart and was awarded Platinum status.
Callea released the single "Live for Love" on 4 November 2006, the first from his second album A New Chapter, the only song on the album which he did not co-write. Both the single and the album, released on 25 November 2006, debuted at number 9. The album contains a mix of genres characteristic to Callea, including power ballads and more up-tempo songs. The second single "Addicted to You" debuted at no. 19 when released in February 2007.
Callea also contributed his version of the Brian McKnight song, "Home", to the compilation album Home: Songs of Hope & Journey, which was released in order to raise funds for BeyondBlue, an anti-depression organisation.
Anthony has embarked on two successful national concert tours, playing to sell-out crowds across Australia and appeared as special guest for touring international superstars including Diana Ross, Westlife, Celine Dion and more recently Whitney Houston. Anthony has also performed for a host of international dignitaries including the late Luciano Pavarotti, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark.
Anthony has appeared on many special television events such as the Logies, Australia Day Concert, The Aria Awards, Good Friday Appeals and the Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight to name a few. Anthony's entertainment and mentoring skills have been witnessed by millions of television viewers in recent years as he featured on Channel Seven's It Takes Two and Foxtel's Ultimate School Musical
Callea has been involved with many charities. He was part of the Tsunami Relief Telethon and was also invited to perform at the Red Cross Ball in the presence of Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark. Callea has also worked with The Starlight Foundation, the Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital, The Mirabel Foundation, Beyond Blue and The Salvation Army. Callea was the ambassador for the 2007 Perth Telethon for the Royal Children's Hospital, and in November 2007 was appointed the official ambassador for Vision Australia, an honour also accorded in 2009.
Rumors of his sexuality began to surface in the tabloid press as far back as 2004, and after intense media speculation in 2007, Callea publicly acknowledged that he was gay on 27 March by issuing a statement confirming his sexuality and thanking his fans and his then-partner, Paul.
"Yes, I am gay," Callea said. "I have no issue with my sexuality now, but it's taken time to become confident with who I am and happy with who I am. I'm comfortable enough to come clean now. It's a weight off my shoulders".
On March 30, 2007, former Australian High Court judge Justice Michael Kirby described Callea as an "admirable Australian" for coming out. Justice Kirby added, "In terms of influencing popular culture and understanding of the reality of human sexual diversity, I would trade ten judges for one popular singer."
Callea has also admitted to suffering from depression in his teenage years, saying, "I went through major depression. I hated myself. I had to see a psychologist. I wasn't talking to anyone. My parents didn't know what was wrong with me." Callea has since supported beyondblue, an Australian initiative against depression, by contributing his version of a Brian McKnight song, "Home", to a compilation album, Home: Songs of Hope & Journey by various Australian artists to raise funds and bring attention to the organisation and its cause.
In February 2008 he and actor/singer Tim Campbell confirmed that they were in a relationship.
Dead Man Walking
In September, 2007, in his first musical production, Callea played a supporting role in Dead Man Walking, the true story of Sister Helen Prejean, an unconventional nun, who accompanies murderer Joe de Rocher to his death by execution. It explores the opposing desires for vengeance and forgiveness in this extreme situation, and the commitment required to love or to hate a fellow human being.
In November, 2007, Callea played the lead role Mark Cohen, a filmmaker and video artist, and Roger's roommate, in the Perth production of the critically acclaimed American Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical Rent. Based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème, the musical centers on a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York's Alphabet City in the last days of the Bohemian East Village, under the shadow of AIDS.
The Subiaco Post reviewd the show stating - "Anthony Callea is wholly believable in his Musical Theatre debut as filmaker Mark" and the West Australian reported that "Anthony Callea is perfect as the somewhat detached Mark, the observer with the camera who cannot help but be caught up in life."
This was Callea's second musical production. He starred alongside his now-partner, Tim Campbell.
Wicked: The Broadway Musical
On 12 February 2008, it was announced that Callea had taken on the role of Boq in the Melbourne production of Wicked, which opened in July 2008 at the Regent Theatre. Callea played the role of Boq, garnering excellent critical reviews.
He completed a six month run in Jan 09 and decided to not renew his contract in order to spend time writing and recording for his upcoming third album.