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Latin lends fun to festival

While Anthony Callea loves a lot of things about singing for a living - having ARIA awards sitting atop his piano, for one - there is something he doesn't like: starring in music videos.

''I feel self-conscious,'' he said, laughing. ''Making love to the camera for eight hours is a bit abnormal. It's not right. I'm sure it helps if you're blond and blue-eyed.''

That's not to say Callea isn't proud of who he is - certainly not a blue-eyed blond, but a man in touch with his Italian roots.

His favourite things about his background are that ''there's always food and there's always family''.

Callea, a great fan of diversity, is to perform as the headline act at the opening night of this year's National Multicultural Festival on February 10.

''Why not celebrate multiculturalism? It's a positive thing,'' he said.

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''All walks of life should come together and celebrate being who they are, their backgrounds and the things they've taken with them.''

For the festival, Callea will perform with his full band in what will be his first outdoor concert in Canberra.

Songs will be a mix of original hits of his own and others performed over the years to a great crowd response.

Given his tight schedule, he won't have much of a chance to enjoy the festival.

''[But] if between the sound check and the gig I can fit in some paella, I will.''

At the moment, the Melbourne performer of dance and pop music is working on new material in Los Angeles.

''If you're doing it independently and you're driving it all, it comes from a different place. Sometimes that's scary.

''I'm doing the music that feels right at this time in my life.''

He won't divulge much about the project, but he did drop a few names. He has worked with electronic music guru Paul Mac, and Matt Morris, who wrote for Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake.

What he's hoping Canberrans will get out of his performance is, quite simply, a great time.

''I want everyone to come along and just enjoy the set I'm going to do with my band, and walk away with a smile. I definitely will be.''

Catch Anthony Callea on opening night of the National Multicultural Festival on February 10 at Garema Place from 7.30pm. The concert is free.