This time last year, Sheldon Riley captivated audiences with his powerhouse vocals, delivering a moving performance of “Not The Same” for Australia at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy. Now, he returns with his highly-anticipated new single, “INSANE“, a hauntingly beautiful track that has a captivating back story – one he initially planned to share at Eurovision last year.
In “INSANE”, Riley explores the complex theme of loving someone with every fibre of your being, only to be met with an unreciprocated love that is conveniently available on the other person’s terms. Through his raw and emotive lyrics, Riley artfully captures the emotional turmoil that ensues when one is trapped in this vicious cycle of love and pain.
Sheldon Riley — “INSANE” music video
“I think a lot of people will connect with this song because everyone, to some extent, has experienced that feeling of love and insanity. When you love someone with all your heart, but they constantly hurt you and only love you when it works for them, you begin to ask yourself if you’re going insane but before you can answer the question, you’re back to loving them and the vicious cycle continues.”
Speaking to us, Sheldon reveals that he wrote his single “INSANE” during the COVID pandemic lockdown in 2020 in Melbourne, Australia – which was the longest continuous lockdown in the world. Confined to a red zone, he used the extremely rare and solitary pocket of time to delve deeper into his creative process to write “INSANE”. Come Australia Decides 2022, Sheldon aimed to enter the pandemic-written song to the competition.
“It was actually supposed to be the Eurovision song, I pushed pretty hard for it. It’s not as slow as “Not The Same” and it builds crazy, and it was fast approaching, and “Not The Same” was finished and “INSANE” wasn’t.”
And while “Not The Same” really shone on stage in Turin, and Sheldon delivered an expensive, grandiose visual, “INSANE” would have been executed differently on stage:
“The whole video is exactly how I would’ve performed it at Eurovision too. I wanted to be like Loreen and have the head mic and do it exactly the same as the video.”
“I was inspired by some of my favourite movies that explore the subtleties of insanity; big, dark films like the Harry Potter series, the Twilight Saga, The Addams Family, Where The Wild Things Are, and all of Tim Burton’s masterpieces.”
Since Eurovision, Sheldon Riley has not stopped. He performed at the opening of World Pride in Sydney earlier this year, and blew everyone out of the water in The Masked Singer Australia, finishing second. While many artists often say The Masked Singer can take a physical toll due to the weight of the costumes, Sheldon came prepared:
“I remember the production (of the Masked Singer) calling my partner and saying “The outfit is really heavy, it’s like 20kgs. I was just like… my Eurovision skirt was 35kgs alone, so I think we will be alright!”
A Eurovision fan of the highest order, Sheldon is following Eurovision 2023 intently, and reveals his favourite of the year:
“I have not stopped listening to (Loreen’s) “Tattoo” like you wouldn’t even believe. I am this close to getting her lyrics tattooed on my body. My music video was inspired by her. I saw her in Amsterdam and I fell so deeply in love with her. She is everything!
There are some very strong contenders though. Finland is great. Norway is great. France is probably my second favourite”.
With those vocals and visual creativity, we would love to see a duet between Sheldon and Loreen!
Asked if he would return to Eurovision, Sheldon cryptically drops that he would “love to return – but maybe not for Australia”. Does he plan to represent his heritage Filipino culture in a much-rumoured Eurovision Asia? Perhaps a bout with Una voce per San Marino in 2024?
Sheldon’s much anticipated album is expected to drop later in 2023. You can stream Sheldon’s “INSANE” on all major streaming platforms.
What do you think of Sheldon Riley’s new song “INSANE”? Let us know in the comments below.
He’s very very talented but wish his songs weren’t so overwrought. I think Loreen is probably a good North Star for him to follow. She can do dramatic but also her music can feel a bit more accessible, hopeful and in the end enjoyable.
Why do I feel like this would have done better?!
I agree this would have done better in the final. I adore Not The Same, but I am autistic and I got the message of that song. The approximately 97% of the population who are not autistic were a lot less likely to understand what he was saying. I think Insane hits on many of those same points, but it’s more relatable.
Even Sheldon himself wanted this song for Eurovision, but SBS didn’t let him.
Is that Pete Burns’ Gorilla coat from Cleebrity Big Brother?!
The arrangement with the orchestra is beautiful. I can see why Sheldon thought it would be good for Eurovision. I do prefer Not The Same though, and glad that that was the song that showcased him to the world at Eurovision. If I’m being honest, I find his music a little hard to connect with at times, it can lean into being a bit wallowy and a little needy. There’s a deep sense of sadness that comes through in Sheldon’s music and interviews, which was reinforced when he said in a previous interview that part of him misses the lockdown… Read more »