The many talents of The Project's new leading man Waleed
WALEED Aly is a man of many talents.
The Walkley Award-winning broadcaster and academic joins Channel 10's current affairs show The Project as full-time co-host tonight.
But his face isn't new to Project viewers, having filled in as a guest off and on over the past three years.
"It's a fair introduction," he tells APN.
"I can't imagine another job I'll get in media with that lead-in."
While the musical interests of The Project's new leading man have been alluded to on the show, he reveals his love for music nearly took him down a completely different career path.
"Music was a massive part of my life," he says.
"I got very close to doing music at university. I was either going to go that way or go the way I went, which was to do engineering and law."
As well as continuing to lecture at Monash University and write a fortnightly newspaper column, Aly writes, records and performs with his band Robot Child.
"The show (The Project) feels like a natural fit for that reason," he says.
"That helps as well as a broadcaster having those interests and experiences; The Project works partly because it's a show that has an unbelievable amount of range and it can go anywhere and talk about anything and that means it demands of you a wide range of interests."
The 36-year-old even wrote a formal harmonic and structural analysis of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.
"I just moved house and I found it the other day. I thought it was lost. I thought it was gone forever," he says.
"It's a full-on, formal theoretical work unpacking the song harmonically and explaining how it works, how the key changes are prepared and all that sort of stuff. I'm very excited about that (finding it)."
So what does the former ABC TV and Radio National presenter think about the viral campaign to get Taylor Swift into Triple J's Hottest 100 (youth broadcaster's annual listener poll)?
"It's like a civil war between hipsters," he says.
"I haven't heard her new album, only the singles, but they're good.
"The idea is can you be alternative and independent if the Hottest 100 is topped by a commercial behemoth? I can understand the problem of having a song top the Hottest 100 that has never been played on your radio station."
Aly will bring some more stability to The Project desk, alongside Peter Helliar, as co-host Carrie Bickmore prepares to go on maternity leave.
"The Project is such a unique show," he says.
"It manages to solve that puzzle of how you can communicate news to an audience who aren't necessarily news junkies."
As for the year ahead, Aly expects to be discussing a fair amount of politics.
"I can tell we're in for a fairly big political year," he says.
"I can tell that the (Federal) Government is at a crossroad here and this is a year that could really make or break it.
"It's those sorts of things that you're watching for and then the issues that surround that; the issues that will make or break the way the political year unfolds."