Why Guy Sebastian is a good choice for Australia
EDITORIAL (by SMS.COM.AU) – Eurovision might sound like a Europeans-only song contest, but we Australians like to bend the rules. And when it comes to choosing the ideal Aussie candidate, how could we look past a singer who’s serenaded the Pope, collaborated with hip hop’s finest and learnt to climb ev’ry mountain (The Sound of Music reference) during his televised rise to fame? Guy Sebastian is that guy.
From ‘kid with an afro’ to internationally-acclaimed singer and songwriter, Guy Sebastian’s rise to fame reads like a Gen Y fairytale. Gracing our TV screens in 2003, Guy auditioned for music contest Australian Idol with Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky”. Despite his lack of formal training, the gifted 22-year-old went on to win our hearts (and the competition’s top spot) with his vocal dexterity and fondness for Motown beats. Guy’s debut single as Idol winner, “Angels Brought Me Here”, became the top selling track in Australia in the 2000s. Pretty decent effort for a newbie.
Well, “bros” might be an over exaggeration, but Guy Sebastian co-wrote the official anthem for the Roman Catholic Church’s XXIII World Youth Day in 2008. Our man performed gospel song “Receive the Power” with fellow Australian Idol alumnus Paulini Curuenavuli (yes, Paulini has a last name) at the celebration’s Final Mass and the Pope’s Farewell. Pope Benedict XVI wasn’t available for comment, but we suspect he’ll be barracking for Guy come judgement day (a.k.a. the Eurovision Finals).
It’s time for some name dropping. Guy’s co-written songs with Brian McKnight and Mýa, jammed with John Mayer, opened for Taylor Swift and even released the track “Mama Ain’t Proud” with hip hop bad boy 2 Chainz (formerly Tity Boi). Best known internationally for his bromance with Lupe Fiasco, Guy and the American rapper performed their hit “Battle Scars” on Conan, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and even Australia’s The X Factor following its 2012 release.
If there was ever a poster child to represent Australia (and SBS) at Eurovision it would surely be Guy Sebastian. Despite his Anglo-Saxon-sounding name, the migrant musician is basically a walking, well-used passport. Born in Malaysia to a Malaysian-Sri Lankan Tamil father and an Indian-raised English-Portuguese mother, Guy was seven when the family moved to Australia. We hope his multicultural make-up and magical voice disbands the European voting blocks and leads to Aussie love.
In 2008, Guy Sebastian was one of the “friends” to perform at fundraising concert Olivia Newton-John & Friends. The pair sung “Summer Nights”, brought to life by Olivia and the conscientiously quiffed John Travolta in the 1978 film Grease. We bet backstage banter at the Sydney show revolved around the following: Travolta’s slicked-back ‘do’ and, more importantly, Newton-John’s Eurovision performance in 1974. The British-born songstress represented the United Kingdom with “Long Live Love” and didn’t fare too shabbily, despite not liking the tune. Our Olivia placed fourth behind ABBA with the legendary track “Waterloo”, Italy’s Gigliola Cinquetti and Dutch pop duo Mouth & Macneal.
Unlike other singers whose talents were ‘discovered’ on television, Guy’s success isn’t girt by sea. His 2012 track “Battle Scars”, featuring Lupe Fiasco, spent 20 weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100 and placed number six status in the Norwegian music charts. We can’t work out a formula to the nation’s music tastes – former Norwegian Eurovision winners include pop duo Bobbysocks! (1985) and the violin-wielding Alexander Rybak (2009) – so we’re putting Guy’s popularity down to his impressive tattoos.
Another successful student from the school of Australian Idol, Jessica Mauboy became the first non-European Union solo artist to grace the Eurovision stage as a guest. Singing at last year’s contest, Jess wooed the crowd with patriotic pop song “Sea of Flags”. Our sources say Jess befriended the bearded winner Conchita Wurst, so fingers-crossed she’ll be sending Guy some tips.