Chris Sebastian

The Voice Australia has been and gone for another season and one of the big talents to emerge from the show is Chris Sebastian who took out the coveted title being crowned winner for 2020. Hi Fi Way had a great with Chris about the where to from now and also reflected on some moments from the show.

Looking back at finale week now it must have been a real whirlwind of a week?
Oh, it was a very intense week. Now it’s finally starting to sink in that I won and the next day I was up at four o’clock to do radio and press, then I was at the label going through the songs to start the album. It’s been something new every day, which I’m so grateful.

Can you believe how much your life has actually changed in such a short space of time?
Honestly, I think it will feel more like that soon. At the moment, because we’re working on the album and planning to tour when we can, it’sbeen almost business as usual for me, because I normally do have quite full days just with my everyday work. It’s just been all work and I’m actually really happy about how it is going through. Listening to songs for my record is one of the best feelings in the world.

What was the highlight from Grand Finale week, did any particular moments stand out?
I think this is going to sound strange, but for me the Grand Finale performance of the Linkin Park song specifically was a really tough one for me. I was at the doctor’s the night before. We worked pretty hard on this show and there were some long, long days. We didn’t have a day off in two weeks straight, which doesn’t sound too crazy but that’s fourteen days straight of really high intensity, high pressure work situation. So fatigue really got me. The night before I was at the doctors and they did the whole stick down my throat thing and I was by no means sick or anything like that. But what I was, was incredibly fatigued and my throat was red raw from singing. So they said to me, “You really shouldn’t be speaking, let alone singing,” which is obviously not what you want to hear going into a Grand Finale performance. It taught me to rely on things that I don’t think I’ve relied enough on in the past. I had to make that particular day of performing all about heart. So, Horses with Daryl Braithwaite, obviously a career highlight, then going into Numb, I was so nervous and anxious about how much of my voice I’m going to actually have, but then just making it all about heart. I feel like that’s what got me across the line.

In the show, it really come across quite strongly that affinity you had with your mentor Kelly Rowland. How important was she to you and does Kelly still have a role now as mentor going forwards?
Absolutely. Do you know what’s unique about the Kelly Rowland’s role truthfully? She gave me free reign and quite a bit of creative control. A lot of the arrangements, a lot of the songs were my idea. I would say, “Hey, what do you think of this?” The same goes with a lot of people on the show. I arranged a lot of the songs. I helped in the production elements of the song too. The thing about Kelly, she gave me creative control, which I didn’t know I was going to have. She had some great ideas and some great points to bring up, but I think, ultimately she didn’t try to necessarily change me as an artist or so much the way that I sang, but allowed me to do my thing.

Are there plans for a tour at some stage?
Yeah, one hundred percent. Normally, the person who wins goes out on tour straight away, they’ll play some nice big venues and they’ll ride the wave of momentum from the show. We’ve been thinking up ways that we could potentially get around it so we can at least get out on the road.

You’ll have to come back to hometown Adelaide and play at the spiritual home, The Gov.
That’ll be the first spot that I come to. I love coming home to Adelaide so that’ll definitely be the first place we get to.

Have you learnt a lot about media and pushing to one side what has been said during The Voice?
Definitely, I was thrilled when Channel 9 came out with a statement saying, “The vote is audited by a third party company with lawyers present. There isn’t a physical way to rig it.” There were a lot of theories going around like there always is. There’s still people that believe the Earth is flat so there was always going to be people coming out with theories. There was something that said I got Hillsong to vote for me. I don’t go to Hillsong, neither Guy or I have been members of Hillsong Church. So that theory wasn’t true. I go to a little church in the shire, with thirty people there and I don’t know how much impact that’s going to have on the vote. At the end of the day, I think if I was to consume myself with the people that don’t like me and the people that didn’t vote for me, it’d be a huge injustice to the people that spent time and energy supporting me and voting for me in this Grand Finale. I’m just going to actively choose to focus on them and to make music for them because at the end of the day, they’re the reason I’m here. I wouldn’t have this platform the way that I do right now, if it wasn’t for them. So they’re the people that I’m going to put all my energy into.

Is that the challenge coming up with a debut album that best represents Chris Sebastian?
I came into the show with probably around two albums, two and a half albums worth of songs. I wanted to be really well prepared. I didn’t know how the show was going to go. I went from going, “Hopefully, someone turns their chair,” to, “Hopefully I win my battle,” to, “Hopefully I win my playoff.” Each round was like, “Okay, well, if I only get this far, I need to be able to have some stuff ready to go.” It’s really easy for a platform like this to expire if you don’t keep doing things. A lot of people will go on a show like this and think, “Oh yeah, that’s it. I’ve made it. This is the end. I’m going to be huge now.” It’s just not the case because your audience was primarily on TV.

You’ve got to win them over with great music. I think that’s going to be my goal. So listening through, preparing and sorting through songs for the album, both mine and those being pitched by great Australian writers as well. I think that’s probably my highlight so far is sitting in the studio and the next day we were sitting in room with the A&R and he goes, “Here are your songs, let’s listen to them. Here is someone that we’ve heard and that we think would be great for you too.” They were open to me changing them. I’m just so excited about it. That to me is the most exciting thing. Music’s the reason why I did The Voice. Music’s really why I’m here with you right now, it’s so exciting.

Have you got any words of advice from Guy or is he going to be making a guest cameo on the album or is it just important for you to be Chris Sebastian?
I really think it’s time Guy and I did something together. We’ve talked about it for years and I think that the challenge with it is trying to get us to concentrate on music. We tend to steer the conversation towards golf and that’s just the way it goes every time we get to hang out. But no, I think it is time for us to do something together. I want to try and do as many collaborations. There are so many great friends that I made on the show and so many great singers, it’d be great to team up with some of them and do some stuff on this record too. Yeah, I’m genuinely really excited to put this thing together.

Interview By Rob Lyon

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