Chris Sebastian returns with Hard To Get To Love, an irresistible pop track which shows off his world class vocal, written and produced by esteemed Melbourne based team, M-Squared. The video for Hard To Get To Love was shot in Sydney and directed by Simon Morehead. This is his first new music since winning The Voice in 2020 and explains to HI Fi Way a little more of the story behind the single and what’s on the horizon for Chris Sebastian.
Has it been a frustrating twelve months, especially when you’ve got the world right in front of you then a global pandemic rips the rug right out from under you?
I’m sure it’s the case for everyone, but to win the show in a year when it’s not impossible, but it’s just, it’s a lot harder to capitalise. Normally you’d go do a bunch of shows and you tour, by this point you would have released a few songs by now. The record labels pretty much shut down. Around the time that the grand final was on people weren’t at work. My label along with all the other labels were working from home, but then also kind of not working as well as. It’s obviously just an inconvenient time to win, but like that’s just life I suppose. You just got to roll with the punches and then get going.
Did it give you a chance to think about what does Chris Sebastian want to do as an artist and start working on those songs that are going to best represent you in terms of where you are now?
A hundred percent. I think that’s always been something to me that’s like an unwritten rule with music. You’ve got to stay within the same sound, and I’ve always struggled with that because I like a stupidly different amount of music. I grew up obviously listening to Motown, Stevie Wonder but I loved rock and I loved metal. I loved weird things like that. But then I love jazz and I played saxophone in my school stage band. So my musical identity has always been a weird one because it’s always felt wrong to confine myself. This time I’ve written a ton during the pandemic, just experimenting and coming up with a bunch of different sounds so no two of my songs are going to sound the same. That’s exciting, it’s a bit scary because obviously it’s experimental, but that’s been a great part of it. I think it’s definitely pushed me to write a lot more songs.
So there will be a few surprises on the album?
Exactly. I think that whilst it’s a bit scary, it’s kind of cool as well. I think that’s the beauty of music, isn’t it?
Absolutely. Some fans don’t seem to like artists changing it up too much from album to album so it’s good that you’re doing that early on so they can expect the unexpected.
I think the beauty of it is that it’s like a laboratory experiment, I’m not going from one extreme to the other. I’m kind of like meshing things, it’s a unique one. I’m not starting my career for the most part from the more organic way. I had the same sound and fans have been coming to shows, I was on a TV show and that comes with a specific audience. So I’ve got to also factor in that these people have gotten behind me and I want to honour that, like I want to honour the people that have gotten behind me and supported me. I don’t want to be like, “All right, sick. Now I’m done with that. I’m going to move on. I don’t think that’s the case at all.” I want to obviously keep trying to include all of those people in what I do.
Is the tricky thing now picking up that momentum coming off The Voice when normally you would have had the momentum from going on tour or releasing an EP or album?
It’s been incredibly difficult. I think the beauty of a show like that is obviously you’re in everyone’s space, but you’re quite intensely for a period of time and then after that, you’ve got the opportunity to continue that by playing shows and doing things like that, even other filming opportunities and a lot of the production in Australia came to a complete halt, just like everywhere else. I hate the phrase stay relevant because I feel like it cheapens it a little bit, but to keep visible and to keep fresh on people’s minds, that’s been incredibly difficult in a time where I could be promoting a whole bunch of shows and releasing a bunch of different songs.
We had to wait, what is it, like seven months from the time that the show finished to when we were able to release a song. I tried to find a slot in the musical landscape and things, as I’m sure you’re aware, it kind of slowed down around about November, but people don’t really keep releasing things after that point and that was a worrying thing for me. I was worried if people were going to get around this new single, and to be honest with you, I’m really stoked with the response, I’m really grateful to, not only the label but the radio stations have really gotten behind it. It feels really good to be, I was worried about that, but still be accepted as great.
Is the album pretty much ready to go or is there still some sort of finishing touches you need to do there?
I went a different way. Typically people have done, especially after a show like The Voice or X Factor or something like that, they’ll release an album pretty much straight away, and a lot of the time there’s lots of covers. I actually requested from the label, which they were totally ok to not release an album right away. I want to release a bunch of singles and then an EP and then a bunch more singles and then an album towards the very start of next year. That’s our timeline at the moment we’re working towards having another single out really, really soon followed by, an EP really quickly, or maybe even at the same time as the next single. Then we got two more records to come out this year and then an album at the start of next year.
Oh wow. That sounds really exciting.
Yeah, we’re just trying to shake things up a little bit.
Are you looking to take the band on the road some stage this year?
Absolutely. When you get to call your band your friends, it doesn’t feel like work anymore. So it’s great. I can’t wait to tour with them. I feel like a fan of them when I’m on stage with them. That just feels so ridiculous they’re that good.
Congratulations on your new single, Hard To Get Love. You must be pretty happy with how that one turned out?
Yeah, man. I mean, it’s a unique one. I’d always write my songs, like I always have. I’ve never released a song that I’ve not written until now. That song was played to me a couple of days after I won The Voice. It was my first meeting with my label and they’re like, “Hey, so yeah, we know you’ve got a bunch of songs but we just wanted to play you something too.” They played me that song and we got to the end of the first chorus and I stopped it. I was like, “So I need this. I have to sing this one.” As it turned out, I didn’t know at the time, but two really good friends of mine wrote it and guys that I’ve known for a really long time. So it worked out really well. It felt weird not writing it, but I instantly connected with it.
Have you had much advice or words of wisdom from your mentor Kelly Rowland or anyone else from The Voice or is it time to forge your own direction now?
I keep in contact with most of the other artists from the show, I haven’t heard from Kelly since we did an interview on The Today Show the day after the final. That’s kind of it, I think she’s been back to her normal life in LA and she’s just had a baby as well which is awesome.
Interview By Rob Lyon