Twenty-five year-old Carl Riseley has always had music in his veins. The passion struck earlier than Carl can remember when he was growing up on the Gold Coast in Queensland. “I held my first trumpet when I was perhaps about four,” he recalls. “Dad taught me to play. I remember having lessons with him in our garage with the music spread across the windscreen of the car. We'd play songs like Scarborough Fair.”
Carl played the trumpet throughout school, but it was only towards the end of high school that he really felt he could make a career from his talent.
"I've always wanted music to be a major part of my life, but I didn't really go for it until I was in Year 11. I noticed that I had more of a passion for the trumpet and for music in general than most other people. It came quite easy to me and for the first time I thought I should pursue it as a career, rather than simply a hobby".
And that Carl did. When a good friend joined the Royal Australian Navy as a trombone player, Carl was inspired to do the same and signed up the following year as a full-time musician in the Navy. Two trips to Iraq followed; experiences that greatly humbled the young then-sailor.
"We were providing morale support and as much of a distraction as is possible for the troops over Christmas and New Year. Watching our 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 – it was one of the best moments of my life". Indeed, but for Carl, some fairly amazing moments are still to come, with the release of his debut single, This Guy's In Love with You, taken from his first album, The Rise.
The album came about swiftly after Carl's tenure in 2007's Australian Idol, where he made it through to the Final Three. "I think I had a lot of luck," Carl laughs. "The only reason I auditioned for Idol was because I lost a bet with a mate and had to walk in and play out my part! It was all a joke, but funnily enough I got through and I kept getting through".
During this time, Carl forged a strong friendship with Idol Music Director John Foreman and Vocal Coach Erana Clark. He laughs, "Erana gave me my first formal singing lessons! I improved out of sight when she taught me techniques. Before that it was all developed in the shower!"
When Carl was eliminated, "things just sort of took off!" Toying with songs in his mind already, Carl did not miss a beat when Foreman mentioned making an album with him and it all fell smoothly into place. "John called Universal Music Australia and they were interested. A week later we met and decided to go ahead. We've been working on the album ever since".
Two weeks in the studio has produced a 12-track album of classic hits, sung by Carl and featuring some of some of Australia's greatest musicians, including legendary trumpeter, James Morrison. "It was awesome. Unbelievable". recalls Carl of the recording process. "At one stage we had 36 musicians in the room at one time, to get that big band, swing feel".
"They were long hours, but it didn't feel like hard work because it was so enjoyable. I will never forget it. It's my first experience in a recording environment and with a record label".
The line up of songs features new arrangements of much-loved hits including This Guy's in Love with You, Girl from Ipanema, Pure Imagination, Lido Shuffle and We've Only Just Begun. "Most of the songs were my choice," reveals Carl, "they are a compilation of songs that represent a lot of good things and good times that have happened in my life. You know how you listen to a tune and they springboard memories and emotions? Well, these have been significant memories in my life".