When Alfie Arcuri jetted to Russia for a music festival in August, he thought he'd be back home soon after.
But, of course, the pandemic had other ideas.
After almost three months, the Catherine Field singer-songwriter was still in Europe.
"It's been a blessing and a curse all at once," he told ACM from Stockholm, Sweden, shortly before his long-awaited return flight to Sydney.
"What was meant to be three weeks turned into three months.
"It started in Russia - I'd come to Sochi for a music festival, and after a few days one of the organisers said 'by the way, we can't get any flights for you to come home'.
"So now I've been to nine countries in three months and have got to work with some great producers and explore some great countries."
His journey also took him to Italy for the first time - his ancestral home.
Even though he'd never set foot in the country before, Arcuri immediately found the nation to be a home away from home.
"My whole family is Italian," he said.
"When I arrived in Tuscany, I felt like a sense of home.
"Even smells were familiar there were Nonnas everywhere, and the food! I found a cafe that I would go to every day when I was there.
"It gave me a sense of home, which was nice - I've never been away from home this long."
Arcuri, who won The Voice Australia in 2016 and was in the running to become Australia's Eurovision entrant in 2019, dropped his new single, Devil's Lips, last month.
The song came together on a writing trip in Berlin two years ago.
"Devil's Lips is a fun pop song with darker, deeper meaning," the 33-year-old said.
"I took inspiration from Dancing on My Own - a song to dance and cry to all at once.
"It's my story about temptation and struggling with identity.
"It's based off something I was going through at the time with my now ex and I going through a break-up.
"This song, and all the others that follow, is my little Adele moment.
"Watch out anyone that dates me!"
The music video is a brightly coloured, surrealist experience inspired by iconic gay photographers of the 80s and 90s.
The entire clip was made by people in the LGBTIQ+ community.
"Ever since I started singing it has been a strong cause of mine to be a loud advocate for my community and people in the LGBTIQ+ community," Arcuri said.
"With this video we had grand ideas of building sets and CGI and it actually came together.
"It's a fun, tongue-in-cheek spectacular."
Arcuri said it always blew him away when people were moved by his music.
"I forget sometimes that when you put a song out it can be found anywhere in the world," he said.
"When I was in Madrid a couple of weeks ago these three boys came up to me and one said 'Alfie, can I have a photo? I follow you and listen to your music and I'm gay as well'.
"It's weird being on the other side of the world and meeting people who know and like your music.
"Music is this universal being and powerful medium. I'm grateful and lucky I still get to do it."
Arcuri encouraged everyone to listen to not just his "catchy, fun, pop banger" Devil's Lips, but also to support all independent Australian artists who have gone through such a difficult time in the past two years.
Devil's Lips is the first single from Alfie Arcuri's upcoming EP Way Up High, set to be released in 2022.