We hear you were compelled to write Love Is Love because of the debate in Australia about gay marriage.
Alfie: I wrote it for myself, my friends and the community. I haven’t felt this way since I was a closeted gay. There has been a bit of propaganda floating around and some of my friends were feeling a bit defeated, so I wanted to write an uplifting anthem. Music has always been my escape and writing this song was very therapeutic.
How did inspiration strike you for the track?
I wrote it in an hour. Because of how I was feeling it wasn’t hard to write. I just wanted to tell the story of how most people are feeling in the community. At the end of the day it’s strange that something so normal for us is being debated across the country. The song talks about how when we were kids we played with our friends and didn’t think about this stuff because all kids are on an equal playing field and there are no issues. The song is about staying united.
The video also features footage from the gay marriage rallies.
Yeah, from the Sydney rallies and we also filmed some content, too. It’s all very relevant footage.
Is this you stepping up as an artist to take a stand for something you believe in, regardless of what some of your fans might think?
Absolutely. I only came out four years ago and prior to that I couldn’t even say out loud that I was gay. Music was something that got me through those times. When my first single came out, If They Only Knew, which was about growing up gay I even referenced a guy in my song. I thought, “If I’m going to do this I need to be honest in my own music and that will make me a better artist.” I’m quite passionate about that and haven’t had any backlash. Most of the people who follow me are gay guys and mothers and girls who know I am gay. It’s very liberating and I love being able to sing about guys.
Do you see yourself in the same company as Sam Smith and Troye Sivan who haven’t had to water down their “gayness” for mainstream appeal?
I really admire those two artists. I met Troye last year because he wrote one of the songs on my album after I won The Voice. What he and Sam Smith do for the community is quite important. I like that no-one is shocked by my song though.
Perhaps that’s to come on your second album!
Oh, my exes are definitely going to come out of the woodwork. I’ve only ever had two relationships, so there’s not that much that I am drawing from. I am very honest and my songs are very honest.
So, no album dedicated to all your Grindr dates?
No, none of them were lucky enough! I don’t know if they would be happy songs either! What I’m really proud of is that people were singing Love Is Love at the rallies in Sydney. That was one of the best feelings.
It’s connected you with your audience and the power of music to change things.
Absolutely. When I wrote the song I didn’t want it to sound like a campaign song. I wanted it to be a pop song that could be on the radio. Then people who are against the Yes campaign might hear it and look into it a bit more closely and see what it’s about. I was hoping it could sway people and make them realise how important this is for us.
Is this a song you could imagine singing at your own gay wedding?
Wow, that would be a bit self-indulgent if I sang that at my own wedding.
Maybe Sam and Troye could do a duet on it for you instead?
Oh God, I would love that. No, who am I kidding? I probably would sing at my own wedding!
Is that something you have thought about – getting married one day?
I’m quite a traditional person in that if I am with someone, I want to be with them for the rest of my life. I could imagine marrying them. I haven’t been in love for a few years now though.
We need to introduce you to some new people.
Yeah, do you know anyone? Please tell DNA readers that I am single. I’m an uncle as well and never loved a kid as much as I love my nephew. I would love to be a father. The day we don’t have to think about these things and to be allowed to marry the person that we love will be very special. Perhaps we’re paving the way from my nephew’s generation so they don’t have to worry about things like that, if he’s gay.
Some other Australian artists like Anthony Callea and Human Nature’s Toby Allen have been very visible as gay husbands and gay dads.
When you have a forum where people listen to you it’s important to speak up, otherwise who else will? Magda Szubanski is another iconic Australian who has spoken up, especially because there has been quite a bit of shit around this debate.
When can we expect a new album from you?
I’ve written almost 40 songs in the last 12 months and they’re all quite different. I am a lover of big pop ballads like Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Adele. They are my idols and I love emotional songs.
It’s a year down the track for you from winning The Voice. How have you changed?
I was an architect before, with an office job, and never really sung much. I went on the show and happened to win and then immersed myself in this new world. I didn’t know what to expect. My coach on the show was Delta Goodrem and I’ve been working with the producer who wrote Born To Try with her. It’s changed my life completely. It’s so rewarding because it’s so personal for me.
You sound too busy for love!
Yes. Music has been the big love of my life at the moment.
Music’s not so good at cuddles or spooning though.
My pillow’s not too bad at that! That is a sad tale, isn’t it? I used to live outside of Sydney in a rural area and it was hard to date there. Now I am immersed in the Sydney scene.
Are you going out on dates?
I do go out on dates. I love meeting people. I have to admit there was more attention after the show. Now when I go to the Beresford Hotel in Sydney everyone wants to talk to me! My dream is to have a backyard with a dog and a partner. I’m a loving, emotional human and I crave that, especially because I was so heartbroken after my first relationship. It’s taken me a while to rebuild my trust as well.
Do you have a type?
I’m definitely an “eyes” person and a nice smile. I have a big Italian family so whenever I meet people I always have to think how they would fit into my family. It could be quite intimidating because there’s about 40 of us. A nice personality, a sense of humour and must like to talk, plus beautiful eyes and a smile – that’s not too much to ask for, is it?
Where should potential applicants apply?
They can go on my Instagram.
You did campaign for gay marriage – this is our campaign to get you married!
Alfie wants to love! You never know what’s around the corner in life and that’s one of the things that drives me. I remember watching Australian Idol and seeing Anthony Callea singing The Prayer – I never imagined myself doing that. I struggled so much as a teenager. I hated high school because every day I had to watch the way I walked or talked. I always thought everyone was analysing me. I was the most miserable person but, looking back now, it’s like that person is not real because I’m so happy now. I hate to think there are teenagers out there right now going through that and being exposed to this [marriage] debate. I get a lot of teenagers thanking me for being open and honest. I had my first gay engagement gig the other day and it was so beautiful and so emotional. Growing up I never imagined I would have that.
I saw Bianca Del Rio from RuPaul’s Drag Race interviewed the other day and she said that if you don’t support gay marriage then don’t get married to a gay person. That was so well said and simple.
Watch Love Is Love. For more of Alfie find him on Instagram and Facebook (marriage proposals optional!)