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Respected throughout the music industry for sticking to his guns during his time on Australian Idol by staying true to his original big-band style, persistence has paid off ‘Swing King' Carl Riseley.
Born on the Gold Coast in 1982, Risely has been a jazz-man ever since he was big enough to hold his first instrument – and first love – the cornet. He continued playing the cornet until the age of sixteen, when he found his true calling in the trumpet.
It was as a trumpeter that Carl first entered The Royal Australian Navy band in April 2003. The experience of playing in everything from the Concert Band to the Jazz Quartet broadened the young player's musical horizons, strengthening his versatility and skills as a musician.
This versatile nature is how Carl ended up falling into singing, when in late 2003 the Navy Rock Band were deployed on the HMS Tobrak on tour around Asia & Australia, and found themselves in need of a singer. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Carl decided to try his hand at singing for the first time – and he has never looked back.
During his time with the Royal Australian Navy, Carl journeyed through some amazing and life-changing experiences, including deployment in the Solomon Islands, and most notably playing for the troops on New Years Eve in 2004 & 2005 over in Iraq. “Watching our Australian troops edge a smile on their face while forgetting about what they were involved in, even if it was just for an hour as we played for them - was one of the best moments in my life."
Though still relatively new to the world of singing, in 2007 Carl decided to give the Australian Idol auditions a crack. Says Carl of his reasons for auditioning: "Ha! Besides the fact that my parents had been begging me to audition for years, the reason I auditioned was because I lost a bet with a mate and had to walk in and play out my part!"
There was a mixed response by judges to his audition, aside from Marcia Hines who immediately saw Carl's potential. "You have chops," she told him.
Marcia was proved justified in pushing him through to the Top 100, where he thrived, and continued to improve every week. By the time he made it through to the Wildcard round his dazzling swing-style performance of The Everly Brothers' "Bye Bye Love" he had won everyone over, and the judges placed him in the Top 12.
"I'm a trumpet player, I've been doing it since I could walk," he says of making it into the Top 12. "I can't believe I'm here." Carl went on to make it right through to the final three in the show, and was a public favourite throughout.
In 2008, Carl is embarking on the next step in his career as a modern day crooner by signing on to legendary manager Ralph Carr (Vanessa Amorosi, Kate Ceberano).
That year saw the release of Carl's debut album The Rise, as well as some exciting live performances and plenty of that characteristic swing style. Hailed as the next Harry Connick Jnr, there is no argument that the future is bright for this young and incredibly talented musician.
In 2009, Carl will release his newest album, titled The Stillest Hour.