Tim Campbell has been a regular face on Australian TV screens since the 1990s. His career has taken him from soap opera, to game show hosting, TV dramas and now his current career in music. As he prepares for the release of his second studio album he sat down with Michael James to chat about his music, his love life and living his truth.
Relaxing in the sun on the Gold Coast, Tim Campbell is very at ease for someone on the verge of releasing their first self-funded studio album. It’s a big leap for any musician but one Tim was willing to take.
“I knew that I would do a better job. Maybe I’m a control freak I don’t know? It was great to work with ABC and Universal [distributors], but with my whole career in the event world I work in a lot now, I set that up on my own.”
For Tim it’s all about being able to think for himself, about himself and create a style of music that he loves, in his own way and on his own time.
“No-one in their career thinks about their career more than yourself. I know how to do this, I know the industry back to front. My company runs my whole career so I made a record label with that as well. I’m loving this process more than the other one because it’s my product. I love the way it’s produced.”
Electrifying 80s is the title of the latest album and it’s exactly what you’d come to expect, a collection of the biggest and best hits of the 80s from Stock Aitken Waterman, the ultimate party mix that Tim is used to playing on the corporate circuit around the country.
“I just really wanted a bit of a unique sound. A lot of the sounds we used are a bit of a throwback to the ’70s and ’80s sounds that are in a lot of modern music now.”
There’s a bit of everything in this collection from Rick Astley to Kylie Minogue’s “Hand On Your Heart”, an influence from a sister who always made him listen to her in his youth.
Whilst he’s loving working on his music now, Tim originally walked onto the set of Home & Away for a role that was only set to last three months.
“Suddenly it became a two-year deal and I thought ‘I guess I can do this.’ But knowing what Home & Away was and what it is, it’s an incredible show, I knew it would be a good stepping stone. Apart from that it’s actually a really difficult show as an actor because it’s such a, in the nicest possible way, a factory of work, it’s five half-hour episodes a week.”
After over three years on the program Tim took the plunge and departed the program. “At the time I just decided I really wanted to venture out, I started hosting some shows.” But the move towards music had already started then for Tim.
“Back then you were kind of an actor or a singer and I started kind of creeping forward doing carols for Channel 7 and moving the music side forward as well. It was such a full-on schedule and I couldn’t do much else and I wanted to venture out and do a few more musicals and I couldn’t do that if I stayed on the show.”
His hosting career took him through some varied and interesting roles including “National Bingo Night”, “Spelling Bee” and the revived “Million Dollar Wheel of Fortune,” a role that appears to have cast him as the first openly gay game show host on Australian television.
But it was his foray into the musical theatre world that led Tim to meet the man that would soon be his husband, Anthony Callea.
After almost ten years together the couple have now been married for four, as he speaks about their relationship, it’s easy to see the love is still alive.
“We got married in Auckland and I literally googled a celebrant. We knew people in Australia, but none in New Zealand. It was a very small affair, which is what we wanted to do, we literally had eight people there. A few days later we had a reception for about 30 odd people in Melbourne, it was really great and really personal. It was just beautiful.”
When the postal survey rolled around in 2017 the couple felt the frustration of the rest of the country.
“The postal survey was just so blindingly pathetic and it was just this hideous game of politics. But this was just bleedingly obvious, a leader of our country who was a supporter who just had his hands tied and had his balls on the line and got rid of his soul and decided he’d play the party politics line rather than do what he wanted to do and it was ridiculous.”
More vocal activism also became a part of their daily lives where it hadn’t before; for Tim and Anthony being honest, present and living their truths had become their most powerful form of activism until then.
“We haven’t attended a lot of rallies and things like that, but even before that I feel like we have, whether it was by default or whatever you want to call it have kind of been activists in itself.
“We unashamedly live our lives the way we want to and that in it’s way is a kind of activism.
“It’s a kind of way of unashamedly saying I’m not afraid of who I am and I don’t apologise for it and I never have.”