Paulini: “I’ve Been Around the Block Mate, This Time I Know It’s For Real.”

Paulini is a household name in Australia. A seasoned professional, with a multitude of creative endeavours to her name. In our final interview ahead of Eurovision – Australia Decides, Cain cornered her in the foyer of Gold Coast Convention Centre in the final hours before taking to the stage to sing the song of planet earth, the whisper in the wind that is We Are One

How’re your excitement levels?

I’m trying to keep calm, I know everyone’s getting excited around me, but I’ve got to keep my cool. I’m extremely excited, but don’t want to overwhelm myself–not over-sing, gas-out–I’m trying to pace myself. I still can’t believe that I’m doing this… I’ve been around the block mate, this time I know it’s for real.

I see what you did there, referring to Young Diva’s signature hit. But tell us about this one, this banger that is We Are One.

When I was sent this song with five others, this was the second I listened to and I was like, ‘That’s the one I’m doing.’ The team around me weren’t sure, they suggested another that could be more commercial. But, the reason I was drawn to this song is that I think it’s something people need to hear, to be reminded that we’re all the same. We should be unified… and kind.

I loved that message, the melodic line, that gospel feel… and I had a vision for it. The track you hear today is completely different from what it was originally. With my producers, Paul Mac and his brother, we asked how do we make this sound commercial, current pop, and Eurovision? What you hear now is what we came up with.

And I spoke with Rick Price and John Capek, who are amazing songwriters, and asked them if I can change a few lyrics, to make it more me, and they were open to it. And I love how this track sounds…

I believe the term you’ve coined for one of the remixes is ‘europhoric’.

Yes, it lifts! I want something to lift people’s spirits because I want to feel like that when I am on stage. I need to believe in it. I’m a big believer in every lyric, want to tell that story and need to get that message out there.

It’s crazy what is happening in the world right now, and I want people to not have to think about that and enjoy themselves.

What do you think the experience of being back on stage after the pandemic will be like?

I remember the first three months of the pandemic. I thought I could get really creative in the studio, and then after 5-6 months, then I was like, ‘Errr. Ok. I really need to get back on stage.’

For me, performing live is what I love doing. Everything that I do, the live performance aspect of what I do is where I feel most at home. I’m not afraid to admit that I did start to get a little anxious, and even now during rehearsals, I’m struggling to find my groove on stage. Because, you know, we haven’t done it for so long. Being a part of this is such a blessing for me… and I’m just so thrilled to be here.

Suppose that’s why they’re called rehearsals, so you can your groove back. What have rehearsals been like and what can we expect to see on stage?

You can expect an amazing performance from me, haha! There’s no doubt about that. Rehearsals happen quite quickly, but what you do before that really counts. I’ve been in Sydney, with my movement coach, working out the blocking remembering and cleaning up the movements. I’ll have other people with me, running around, so I need be in performance-mode, the right frame of mind.

Safe to say we’re getting hot dancers then? I love that you included one in the lyric video.

Oh, don’t you worry. You are going to see a lot of hot dancers, ha! You can froth over the boys… and the girls too. There’s another version of We Are One out, a remix. It’s amazing! It’s probably my favourite mix out of all of them.

The ‘Radio Mix’, yeah?

Should I be saying that about my own song? But I love it!

Open in Spotify

I bet you’re quite accustomed to the gays fangirling over you. When’s your next Pride or Mardi Gras appearance?

I love Pride, I remember doing New York Pride. If I do get asked, I’m so down for that. I remember I performed ‘Fireman’ on a float on Oxford Street getting drenched with rain… and it was the best thing ever. I thought, ‘this is insane’… all dancing to the track and just having fun! I’d love to do that again with this track, We Are One.

What does being on Australian Idol mean to you now, considering the career you’ve had?

I’ll always be grateful for Aussie Idol. It was my start, a platform to showcase my talent, that’s where I got a bit of experience about how the music industry works. I hear that it’s coming back soon, and I’d love to be a judge, or vocal coach – I’m just putting that out in the universe!

And I made such amazing friends, most of whom I’m still in contact with. I loved that time, it really taught me to not expect everything on a platter. You have to work hard. The TV show is one thing, but what you do after that are the most important steps you can take to stay current, to stay working.

You’ve amassed an impressive body of work… the stage musicals, reality TV contests, music.  I for one, am super glad you do Carols every year.

Haha, I do love Carols–it’s my favourite time of year!

The running order is out, are you happy with where you’re placed?

7 is my lucky number, so I’m so excited!

Thank you Paulini! We’ll let you get back to rehearsals… or whatever you need to do to bring us all into that europhoric state of mind. Vote 7 for Australia Decides!

Thanks babe!

Will Paulini’s song of planet earth be the answer to our prayers. Will it be the anthem that takes us to Turin. You decide. 

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Eurovision – Australia Decides 2022 airs live and exclusively on SBS and SBS On Demand (where you will not be geo-blocked if you are watching internationally) on Saturday 26 February (AEST).

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