24 January 2024

Ulladulla's carpark busker Isaac McCallum rolls onto Australian Idol stage

| Katrina Condie
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singer on stage

Ulladulla’s Isaac McCallum impresses on the Australian Idol stage. Photo: Seven Network.

For the past six years, shoppers have heard his smooth, soulful vocals drifting through Ulladulla’s supermarket carparks, and soon they’ll have a chance to watch their local busker Isaac McCallum impress the judges on Australian Idol.

In a preview for the Seven Network’s hit talent show, judge Marcia Hines was impressed by the 23-year-old’s audition, saying, “Wow! I think you’re one of the best vocalists I’ve heard for a long time.”

Isaac said he was nervous and excited singing for the judges and was blown away by Marcia’s comment.

“I felt goosebumps. It brought a tear to my eye to be honest,” he said.

“I was very nervous but excited also. I just walked out there and just did it.”

While the results of his audition remain top secret, Isaac said he was looking forward to watching the first episode when it airs on Monday 29 January.

The supermarket trolley collector said he had always had a love of singing, but was a shy kid who was always encouraged by his mum to get on stage whenever he had a chance.

“My mum has inspired me to be the man I am today,” he said.

“When I was younger, she’d encourage me to get on the stage at karaoke nights, saying, ‘If you don’t do it, you’re gunna regret it’, so I always got on the stage.

“I started busking about six years ago. One day I got up and thought ‘Stuff it, I’ll just go out and test it out’ – and from there my confidence kept building and building, and here I am.”

Isaac said the Ulladulla community had always been supportive of his busking talent and he’d been invited to play at local venues including the Ulladulla and Mollymook bowling clubs, Oceanvibe Cafe and the new Wombat Brewery.

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He said he decided to audition for Australian Idol in an effort to make his dreams become a reality.

“It’s just my dream to become a professional singer and to make it in the music industry,” he said.

“By going on Idol, I can show people what I have to offer.”

Fans can watch Isaac’s moving performance of one of his favourite songs, Something In The Water by Lewis Capaldi when he hits their screens.

“Lewis is one of my biggest inspirations. He has so much confidence and is really good at what he does. He has a wonderful voice. It’s one of my favourites, for sure,” he said.

Isaac told the judges his childhood “was a bit rough” and he often busked to help pay for food.

“I was homeless for like six months; busking from motels,” he said.

Inspired by world events and songs with heart, Isaac also loves music by Bruno Mars and Callum Scott.

“I like sad songs, like Stand By Me. If I can feel the song, I’ll sing it,” he said.

Three judges

The 2024 Australian Idol judges Kyle Sandilands, Marcia Hines and Amy Shark. Photo: Seven Network.

Radio star Kyle Sandilands and TV WEEK Logie Award winner and acclaimed singer Amy Shark will join pop legend Marcia Hines on the judging panel in what is set to be the toughest season yet.

The judges are looking for the complete package: a singer with the sound and style to woo the nation.

Excited to be unearthing Australia’s next singing superstar, Marcia said she was looking for a strong, pure and melodic voice “that makes the hairs on your body stand up”, regardless of the genre.

Returning to the Idol judges’ desk for his sixth season, Kyle said the ultimate performer was “someone that you admire for their talent”.

“And they’ve got a little swagger or a pizzazz about them that just makes them stand out from the crowd,” he said.

Amy said she would be blown away if someone could potentially showcase their personality, voice, style and direction in the space of 10 minutes, and leave her wanting more.

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During their audition, contestants will be on the hunt to score a Golden Ticket to progress to the next round, but with just 30 Golden Tickets across the whole auditions, only the most talented performers will claim their coveted spot in the Top 30.

The artists must survive a gruelling week of challenges set by the judges to secure a place in the Top 21. The Top 12 artists will feature in the live performance round of the competition, with Australian audiences voting to decide who will be crowned the next Australian Idol.

The winner will receive a recording contract with industry giant Sony Music Entertainment Australia and $100,000 in prize money.

Isaac said the whole town had thrown its support behind him with people wishing him luck as he busked in the local carparks.

“It’s blown me away,” he said.

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