CAREER KARAOKE OR IDOL FAME – PART 2- GUY SEBASTIAN

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Like A Drum (G Sebastian/K Lorenz/ S Martin/ D Ryan Harris) 2013 and Tonight Again (G Sebastian/D Ryan Harris/L Schoori) – Guy Sebastian 2015

In 2013 Guy Sebastian released his sixth studio album, Armageddon, from which the singles Gold (#10) and Battle Scars (#1) were lifted, the latter featured rapper Lupe Fiasco and was a major hit for Sebastian clocking up local sales of over 770,000 copies for his biggest single success to date, and also climbed to #2 in NZ and Norway. Following the success of Armageddon which also hit #1 In Australia, Sebastian took time off from his duties on X Factor to begin work on his new album, Madness.

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In 2014 the album was released and the single Like A Drum hit the charts and climbed to #4, Sebastian wrote the song with Sam Martin, David Ryan Harris, and Khris Lorenz, the latter also produced the recording. Sebastian had been inspired by nostalgic thoughts of his own childhood, and as he watched his own children growing up he remembered the unconditional love and friendshio that children shared. Guy described the creative process that ensued in an interview with Artist Direct: “I tried to write the song but nothing came…there were some chords but I was really blocked…I went away to the lunch room and suddenly the lyrics started to come to me…the song gelled and ultimately I felt I had captured that feeling of innocent euphoria that young children experience when they share moments with their friends.”

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Recorded in LA the song intros with Guy’s plaintive tenor vocals and his familiar technobeats, and builds to the catchy chorus, the video sees Guy as a red hooded figure sitting on the porch of a house, then segues to a small boy, who is possibly a juvenile Guy and his girlfriend, who is possibly Jules, his 12-year-old girlfriend and future wife. The young children are separated as the girl moves away and the young boy follows her on his bike and then scooter, ultimately travelling around the world until the couple are re-united.

Inspired by fatherhood and his two young sons, Like A Drum resonated with fans.

Other singles lifted from the album included the upbeat pop of  Mama Ain’t Proud with 2 Chainz and the mellow R&B/soul fusion of Linger with Lupe Fiasco, Like A Drum  climbed to #20 on the US Dance charts but not the Billboard Top 40, again denying Sebastian that elusive Stateside hit record.

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The European version of the Madness album featured the single Tonight Again, following Guy’s impressive performance of this song as Australia’s entry in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna. This was the first occasion on which Australia were invited to compete at Eurovision and the joint Guy Sebastian /D Ryan Harris composition finished a credible 5th on the night.

Guy’s performance at Eurovision was however not the first time that Australians had represented countries at the contest. The New Seekers who included two Australian nationals in Peter Doyle and Marty Kristian represented the UK at the 1972 Eurovision and took Beg, Steal, or Borrow into second place, Olivia Newton-John, a British immigrant to Australia at the age of six, represented the UK in !974 with Long Live Love, Gina G from Brisbane also represented the UK in 1996 with Ooh Aah…Just A Little Bit. Below L-R – New Seekers, Olivia Newton-John, Gina G.

Ireland’s two-time winner in 1980 and 1987, Johnny Logan was born in Frankston (Melb), and spent his first three years in Australia, before his family returned to their home country. Newcastle (NSW) -born Jane Comerford, lead singer of the Hamburg-based country music-inspired band Texas Lightning represented Germany at the 2006 Eurovision and placed fourteenth with No, No Never, yep that’s right, German cowboys at Eurovision. Below L-R – Johnny Logan, Eurovision Logos, Jane Comerford and Texas Lightning.

Tonight Again certainly subscribed to the formula for Eurovision success – anthemic and aspirational, punchy and upbeat, anodyne and inoffensive lyrics, a rousing chorus that arrives early and is infectious enough to bear repetition, and a key change later in the song to heighten interest and showcase Sebastian’s emphatic outro – this was the Eurovision algorithm for vote-catching songs- the Swedes liked it so much they gave Australia all of their 12 votes.

Guy broke the ice as Australia’s entry in Eurovision in 2015 and performed brilliantly.

Eurovision exposure helped to lift the song into the top 20 in Aust. and Austria, and into the top thirty in Sweden. Sebastian’s live performance in Vienna was impressive, he had a cold but vocally he delivered, and the slick choreography kept the live audience engaged. Clearly Guy Sebastian has come a long way from the chubby, Afro-haired, choir boy who charmed audiences and won the first Australian Idol contest in 2003, and yet breakthrough international success continues to elude him. He is blessed with a beautiful tenor voice but specializing as he does in the hybrid electro-dance, R&B/rap/soul genre, and remaining a resident in Australia, he will always come up against quality competition like Justin Timberlake, Pharrel Williams, Jason Derulo, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, The Weekend and others based in the States, and now at the age of forty, he will most probably have to settle for local hero status in the future, and augment the funding of his retirement from judging roles on karaoke talent quests like X-Factor, The Voice, etc. Below- L-R Judge Guy on X -Factor, Guy and wife Jules with sons Hudson and Archer, Judge Guy on The Voice.

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