ALMOST a decade ago Guy Sebastian, as the freshly crowned Australian Idol, and his runner up Shannon Noll celebrated our national day in a most Australian way after performing in Canberra for the Australia Day Live Concert.
Speaking to “CityNews” last week, Sebastian was careful with his words but laughed cheekily when recalling that “very big night”.
“It was quite messy. We definitely, um, utilised Australia Day celebrations and I’ve never forgotten that night,” he says. “It was just after ‘Australian Idol’ and me and Shannon had just come out of that journey and we just had so much to celebrate.”
It might be a more subdued affair this year when Sebastian, a new dad to baby Hudson, returns to Canberra for “Australia Celebrates Live” on January 25.
“I’ll be in Canberra for the 25th, but for Australia Day I plan to spend it with the family and we’ll probably do a barbecue.
Again, there’s lots for Sebastian to celebrate. Last year was kind to him: not only was his son born, but he returned to the television screens as a judge on “The X Factor” and released his seventh album, “Armageddon”.
It features four successful singles: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, “Gold”, “Battle Scars” (featuring Lupe Fiasco) and “Get Along”. “Battle Scars” was Guy’s sixth number one song in Australia, and his first single to crack the US charts.
“It keeps climbing, it’s just cracked the top 40,” he says. “It just takes a lot longer there.”
Sebastian also has “Battle Scars” to thank for the success of his follow-up single “Get Along”, which has made headlines for different reasons.
Sebastian, who was known for being a devoted Christian, revealed he has turned his back on organised religion after the release of “Get Along”.
“I never thought about [releasing] that song as a single,” he says. “It’s not really a pop song and it’s very personal.”
“But after “Battle Scars”, I wanted to release something with a bit more depth and meaning and so I thought, ‘bugger it’…. I’m glad I released it.”
He tells me the song is about racial, religious and social intolerance.
“With all my travels I see a lot of hate and intolerance. When you have a kid, you long for that utopian world where everyone can co-exist.”
He’s known for being one of the nice guys of the Australian music scene and has also found success as a mentor on television show “The X Factor”, guiding contestants trying to break into the industry, much like he was 10 years ago on “Idol”.
He says the most important thing for the hopefuls to know is “where their heads are at”.
“I’ve seen it time and time again, they get into the industry and it immediately becomes all about what to wear to the ARIA awards or what premiere you’ll be invited to and what you’ll be photographed in and they quickly make music the last priority.
“It’s not like I’ve been around the industry for 50 years or anything, but I’ve been to 10 or 11 Arias and you see these people show up and they have so much attitude and they’re just too cool for school and really rude… You never see them return the next year.
“In this game, you’re never good enough. You have to keep going and never get comfortable.”
Australia Celebrates Live free evening concert on the lawns of Parliament House on January 25. More information at australiaday.org.au