Hugh Sheridan has revealed how they struggled to remember the lyrics to the new national anthem, accidentally singing ‘we are young and free’ when performing it recently at an AFL match.
The Aussie singer, 37, who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, was speaking on The Project about performing Advance Australia Fair at the Collingwood-Sydney final last week.
‘I was a little thrown by the “one” and “free “when I was learning,’ they explained.
Hugh revealed they were practising alongside Katie Noonan, who will perform at Sunday’s final in Melbourne.
‘She was just practising backstage and she said, “young and free”.
‘And I said, “No, it’s one”.
Hugh added that they got ‘dozens of texts’ after performing with people confused about the lyrics.
‘I guess it’s just people are still learning at the moment that it’s changed, but I just think the answer is so beautiful. I actually love the second verse and I think that we should actually incorporate that’ they said.
Hugh added that the new lyrics are important and have ‘political relevance’.
‘I think that is important, as the way that Australia was set up and we did come, many of us, from across the seas and it is something to think about when we think about our land,’ they said.
Australia changed a word in its national anthem on January 1 2021 after critics argued the line ‘we are young and free’ was disrespectful to Aboriginal history.
Critics have long claimed that describing Australia as a ‘young nation’ overlooks the fact that Aboriginal people have lived on the continent for centuries.
Then Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on New Year’s Eve 2020 that the second line of the anthem, Advance Australia Fair, had been changed from ‘for we are young and free’ to ‘for we are one and free’.
‘While Australia as a modern nation may be relatively young, our country’s story is ancient, as are the stories of the many First Nations peoples whose stewardship we rightly acknowledge and respect,’ Mr Morrison said.