Conrad Sewell, it’s fair to say, is having a rare old bluesy time on “Ego”, but, crucially, there’s also plenty of humility on show.
The 34-year-old singer-songwriter would be forgiven for having a bit of an ego, considering his debut album, Life, skyrocketed to number one on the ARIA Albums Chart in 2019.
But four years is a long time in music, and Sewell returned last week with his second studio album, Precious, armed with intent to prove that his debut wasn’t a fluke.
Over 12 anthemic and soulful tracks, Sewell pours his heart out – the album culminates in a track with the title “Tell Mum I Love Her” – and, you feel after listening, he’s given his full self to the record.
While it was worth the wait, Precious could have made it into the world so much sooner. “We started writing and recording this album over three years ago – it was such a journey recording this body of work,” Sewell explains. “I learnt so much throughout the process and have never had so much fun creating.
“I’m so grateful for all the incredible musicians that blessed this album with their talent. This record truly is one that I am so proud of and I hope that my day one fans and future fans come back to enjoy it for years to come. I like to think there is something on there for everyone!”
A lot of the tracks are barnstorming in nature, full of blasting horns and belting vocals, but what’s so attractive on “Ego” is the reduced tempo, the simmering heat: the mellow offering allows Sewell’s tremulous vocals to powerfully dominate, isolating the soulful thrust of his voice.
“So I drank away all of my self-esteem / And I hurt the ones, oh, the ones I love / Don’t wanna end up just a lonely man / At a bar telling his glory stories” he croons; “I need to be loved by you,” he later pleads. Sewell is utterly unvarnished on “Ego”, leaving bare his lovelorn emotions.
Conrad Sewell’s Precious is out now via Sony Music Australia.