Anthony Callea (VIC) on Surfers Paradise LIVE, Mother’s Day and the Jungle

It’s been a big year for Anthony Callea, the ARIA Award winning singer-songwriter proved his tenacity in this year’s I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!, placing fourth, after six grueling weeks in the African jungle. Currently splitting his time between LA and Melbourne alongside his actor husband Tim Campbell, he returns to Australia to perform at Surfers Paradise LIVE this weekend.

You’re currently in LA, but you’ll be back in Australia in May to perform at the Surfers Paradise LIVE. What can you tell me about the festival and your involvement?

The thing I love about this festival is that it celebrates all genres of music across three days and thanks to the Surfers Paradise Alliance, it’s free for everyone to enjoy. I absolutely love the Gold Coast and have dear friends that live there as well, so the band and I look forward to hitting the stage on Sunday! It’s even more special that it’s Mother’s Day, so I look forward to seeing many mothers and their families in the audience; I may have even tailored the set list to include a dedication or two to all the mums!

Do you have plans to make up to your Mother for missing her special day?

After all these years with the work I do and constant travel, my Mum is used to me missing significant days and celebrations in our lives – thankfully she is extremely understanding. Of course, I will need to make it up to her … that reminds me, I do need to head to the shops to pick her up a gift!

What do you love most about coming back to the Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise?

The beautiful weather and chilled lifestyle. Tim and I fly to Queensland as much as possible to chill and catch up with friends. We’ve always said that one day we would love to live on the coast!

Will you have some time to check out the sights while you’re there?

Unfortunately, not this time around as my schedule doesn’t permit. I basically fly in that morning and fly out right after the performance.

I read that you’ve been working on some songwriting and vocal work – does that mean we can expect a new album sometime soon?

I’m always working on new song ideas and music and yes, last week, [I] was in the studio in LA writing and recording. When the time is right, there will be new music and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

You’ve had an interesting year – I’m talking especially about your recent time spent in the jungle. What was it like coming home and readjusting back into normal life?

I’m not going to lie; the first few days were hard. Being stuck in the African jungle for over six weeks, cut off to the world, your loved ones and friends and no sense of time really does play with your head. As much as it was a unique and an experience that I loved and will have fond memories of for the rest of my life, it was good to come home and get back to my normal life. I will say, the first espresso martini I had was like I was in heaven!

You had to do some quite revolting things on the show – what was the worst? And what strengths did you rely on to not shout, ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!’?

Yep, jumping out of a helicopter at 10,000 feet when you are petrified of heights and eating cockroaches, fish guts and bugs was not something I thought I’d ever be doing in my life, but do I have any regrets? Absolutely not. Would I do it again? I’m not that stupid! Ha! I’m not one to give up and so if I commit to something, I go through with it.

Going into the jungle, what did you think you would get out of it? And did you get out it what you thought you would, or did you get much more/less?

I love a challenge and when I was asked to do I’m a Celebrity …, I knew that it would be a once in a lifetime experience and I would kick myself if I said no. I realised what the mind is really capable of and what I was mentally and physically capable of. You would never put yourself through what I went through in your everyday life. The bonus of doing that show was that I walked away with some great new friends, in particular Brendan [Fevola] and Shane [Warne]. Can’t wait to get back to Melbourne in May and hang out together!

Which Aussie celebrities would you like to see enter the jungle in the next series?

Hmm, Nikki Webster, as she’s a good friend of mine and I know a side of her that many people don’t. She’s a lot of fun and a great chick who I think would surprise a lot of people. Oh, and just so he knows exactly what I went through, even though I know it was hard for him to be watching me and cut off from me for over six weeks, my other half Tim Campbell! I know that he would go well in that scenario (okay, maybe not with the snakes and being buried alive) and would love for everyone to see the beautiful qualities I fell in love with!

So let’s do a quick fire round Q&A …

Who were you the most surprised to see enter the jungle?
Shane Warne.

Who were you the most surprised to see leave the jungle?
Shane Warne.

Who did you find the most interesting?
Bonnie Lythgoe – love that woman.

Who did you find the most surprising?
Brendan Fevola.

Who was the most unpleasant to be around in the morning?
Val Lehman, purely because she always woke up really early and decided to start the fire right next to our beds. The last thing you want to wake up to is a face full of smoke!

Who smelt the worst?
We all did!

Who had the best campfire stories?
Val Lehman.

Who had the most trouble adjusting to life without life’s comforts?
Akmal Saleh and Dean Geyer.

Surfers Paradise LIVE
Dates: May 6-8, 2016
Location: Various locations throughout Surfers Paradise
Cost: Free
Details: For more information or to view the full program of events, visit


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