Above: Dami Im, Tony Dee & James Morrison will be among the entertainers in Sydney on Australia Day.
Pop quiz: Which church-going Aussie singer made their start in Brisbane, went global in 2016, and will be living it up on Sydney Harbour this week, entertaining the masses for Australia Day?
Tony Dee, of course! (Oh, yes, and Dami Im, too—but right now, we’re talking about Tony.)
The Sinatra-style crooner, who hit the big time last year in the BBC’s inspiring Paralympic TV commercial, We’re The Superhumans, will be part of a stellar lineup of entertainers on Sydney Harbour and at the Opera House forecourt.
He’ll share the stage with the likes of Dami Im, Tina Arena, Guy Sebastian, Dami Im, The Wiggles and Human Nature. But his personal highlight will be singing to the sounds of the great jazz trumpeter, James Morrison, on a cruising concert around the harbour, backed by the Australian Army Band.
Over the weekend, Tony received a phonecall from the legendary showbiz musician, John Foreman, about the Australia Day performances. He was so excited he posted about it on Facebook, describing the call as ‘surreal’. All this rubbing shoulders with the famous is something he never expected.
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Tony told Hope 103.2 that he was particularly looking forward to meeting Morrison.
“I was speaking with somebody way back in August, and they asked me what sort of people I’d like to perform with, and James Morrison was near the top of the list,” he said. “Now I get to fulfil that dream, without having to push for it at all.”
An Unexpected Singing Career
So successful was the BBC Paralympic commercial of 2016, (7.6 million views on Youtube, and that doesn’t count those who saw it on free-to-air TV), that Tony’s found himself in a whole new career that he never thought would come his way.
Having reduced his job in the finance industry back to part time last year, so far he hasn’t gone back to full time work.
“Since June, in between filming the BBC ad and its release, I cut back to working only three days a week,” he told Hope 103.2. “We had no idea how necessary that was going to be!”
“I struggle with smaller groups, but I get really excited about the big crowds and have a lot of fun with it.”
In the past five months Tony’s been presented with singing opportunities that he never would’ve had before: performing at the Paralympian welcome home events in Sydney and Brisbane, singing at the National Disability Awards in Canberra, and civic and corporate gigs in Canberra and Sydney for the International Day of People with Disabilities.
There was also a Gala Dinner for Wesley Mission in Brisbane, before taking a breather over Christmas, then kicking off 2017 with a wedding gig.
Gearing up for Australia Day, he said he was more excited than nervous.
“I don’t tend to get nervous,” he said, “in fact I actually struggle with smaller groups, but I get really excited about the big crowds and have a lot of fun with it. It’s going to be going off with all those live musos.”
Catch Tony on Live TV
Tony will appear in both the Cruising Concerts, performing on a boat floating around Sydney Harbour from point to point, followed by Australia Day 2017 at the Opera House forecourt, hosted by Grant Denyer and Kerri-Anne Kennerley and broadcast live on the Channel Ten and WIN Networks from 7:30pm to 9:30pm on January 26.