Conrad Sewell Is Australia’s Next Great Pop Export

calling it

by carly valentine

Singer-songwriter Conrad Sewell is rising up from down under. A native of Brisbane, Australia, Conrad’s soulful voice that oozes pop aesthetics has landed him a wide range of upcoming projects you need to pay attention to. While you may recognize Sewell’s name after his hit collaboration with Kygo on the song “Firestone,” his first solo EP All I Know dropped last Friday. Sewell is also set to perform alongside American chart-toppers this holiday season at the Jingle Ball concerts across the country in Oakland, L.A., Philadelphia, and New York. Aside from his musical success, Sewell is also a street-style star, elevating everyday basics to make them look effortlessly cool. We had the chance to talk with Conrad Sewell about his exciting upcoming projects, his career aspirations, and his unique personal style. 

What can you tell us about your EP, All I Know

It’s a solo pop record that I’ve been writing all year, and it just came time to put something out. It’s about six songs that I thought fit nicely together, and they are all what I like to think of as quite classic songs. It’s just an emotional vocal, and I took a lot of inspiration from a lot of my favorite artists over the years, and this is my first offering musically after “Firestone.” 

What sort of mark do you hope All I Know will make for yourself, and your sound?

I hope it sets the seed for what’s to come. Hopefully, it will give people the idea of what I’m about, and vocally let people attach themselves to my voice and come on board. We’re going to tour it and bring some people out to the shows and let them get the full experience. But mainly win Grammy awards. 

You have a lot of projects on the horizon. What are you most excited about?

I’m really excited for the Jingle Balls in December, because we're playing Madison Square Garden. I’ll be playing the same stage with The Weeknd, One Direction, and people like that, so it’s a pretty big deal to be playing those venues with some of the biggest artists in the world. That’s probably the thing I’m the most excited about in the next few months, plus I love Christmas, so Jingle Ball is going to be a jam. 

You collaborated with Kygo on the song “Firestone.” How was it to work with Kygo?

It was a great collaboration. I was just writing a lot of songs for a lot of different artists, and “Firestone” was one of the songs I was pitching to a bunch of different DJs. Someone had told me about Kygo, and he was just coming up on the Internet, and I had heard a few things on Soundcloud. It was sort of the right timing with the song, and he listened to it and wanted it to be the first single, which was cool because he’s never put out any original music—before it was all remixes. So, I was very lucky that at the time he was becoming Mr. Cool, and it’s been an amazing way to be able to introduce my voice for the first time, and now it’s given people a taste for the kind of songs I like to write. 

Who in the music world do you look up to? Anyone you would like to collaborate with in the future?

I’m a big hip-hop fan; I love Kanye West, so I’d love to collaborate with him. On a vocal level, I’d love to do something with Sam Smith, or I think James Bay is great. I love Chris Martin, and Alex Turner is amazing. Those are a few, but there are lots of different people I’d like to work with. 

What did you learn about from your run with your previous band, Sons of Midnight? Has that helped you at all in your solo career?

Well, it didn’t really help me that much because it created an extreme drinking problem. It was kind of like a boot camp, and we did press and it was sort of like a warm-up class. Just like anything with time and age, you grow and learn. I’m glad it happened and it had some great days and times, but it was all sort of leading to this. 

What do you pack for your tours?

My Saint Laurent boots. I pretty much don’t go anywhere without those. I have two pairs of those and my leather jacket. They are like my staples. It’s hard at the moment because I’m still a struggling artist, so I can’t afford everything I want. There is a Tom Ford carry bag that will be my next big purchase—it follows me everywhere. 

Do you have any favorite Australian brands you gravitate toward to share with the NYLON readers?

I think on a fashion level, Jack London has some pretty good stuff, and R.M. Williams is pretty cool—[the pieces] are made really well. 

What artists or songs are you listening to a lot right now?

I currently have a really random playlist. It’s something like Michael Jackson, and then I’ll listen to Adele, and then I’ll listen to The Strokes. My Spotify playlist is always very random, because I’ll just add whatever I feel like on the day. I will say though that in the industry, I’d say James Bay is really crushing it vocally, and songwriting-wise. I think he’s sort of the the next big thing in America, as well. I know he crushed the English market, but I think Americans will be well on board in the next year.