Guy Theodore Sebastian (born 26 October 1981) is an Australian singer-songwriter. He was the first winner of Australian Idol in 2003, and is a judge on Australia’s The X Factor. He represented Australia at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, finishing in 5th place.
Sebastian has released eight top ten albums, including two number ones. The first seven all gained either platinum or multi-platinum certification. He has also achieved twenty top twenty singles, with twelve reaching the top ten, including six number ones. He is the only Australian male artist in Australian chart history to achieve six number one singles, and places third overall for all Australian acts. Eight of his singles have been certified multi-platinum, including the 9× platinum “Battle Scars”. His debut single “Angels Brought Me Here” was the highest selling song in Australia last decade. With 51 platinum and seven gold certifications and combined album and single sales of over 3.8 million in Australia, he has the highest certifications and sales of any Australian Idol contestant.
Sebastian has worked with a number of notable American musicians, including Brian McKnight, Robin Thicke, Steve Cropper, John Mayer, Jordin Sparks, Eve and Lupe Fiasco. “Battle Scars”, a collaboration with Fiasco, spent 20 weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 71 and achieved platinum certification. “Battle Scars” also reached number two in Norway and New Zealand. Sebastian has reached the top ten in New Zealand with an album and six singles, including two number ones, and gained six platinum and three gold certifications there. In 2015 his Eurovision song charted in the top 50 in five European countries.
During his career Sebastian has received 27 ARIA Award nominations, winning four including Best Pop Release and Best Live Act. Other awards include the APRA Urban Work of the Year, the [V] Oz Artist of the Year, Urban Music Awards for Best Male Artist and Best R&B Album, and an International Songwriting Competition award for “Battle Scars”. Sebastian has sung at many notable events, including performing for Pope Benedict XVI, Oprah Winfrey and Queen Elizabeth II. He has a strong commitment to charity, and is currently an ambassador for World Vision Australia and the Australian Red Cross.
1 Early life
2 Recording career
2.1 2003–2004: Australian Idol and Just as I Am
2.2 2004–2007: Beautiful Life and Closer to the Sun
2.3 2007–2008: The Memphis Album and Tour
2.4 2008–2010: Like It Like That
2.5 2010–2011: The X Factor and Twenty Ten
2.6 2011–2013: Armageddon
2.7 2013–present: Madness and Eurovision Song Contest
3.1 Musical style and influences
3.2 Songwriting and production
4 Notable performances
5 Personal life
6 Charitable work
10 See also
12 External links
Guy Sebastian was born in Klang, Selangor, Malaysia on 26 October 1981. His father Ivan was also born in Malaysia and is of Sri Lankan Tamil descent with distant colonial Portuguese roots, while his mother Nellie is of English and Portuguese descent and was raised in India. They met while Ivan was studying geology in India and they married a year later. Sebastian is the second of four sons. His older brother Ollie was born in India, and his younger brothers Chris and Jeremy were born in Australia after the family migrated there in 1988, when he was six years old. They lived in Melbourne, Victoria for several years before eventually moving to Adelaide, South Australia due to Ivan’s work as a geologist.
As a child Sebastian took violin lessons; he would later learn to play guitar, drums and piano, although he has had no formal training in these other musical instruments. He attended Paradise Community Church, an Assemblies of God church and one of the largest churches in Australia, and he became one of their main worship singers. He also sang with the Paradise Community Church Youth Conference Planetshakers, performing both lead and backup vocals for their 2002 and 2003 conferences and albums. (After winning Australian Idol he recorded on two of their albums, Adore in 2004 and Set Me Free in 2005.) Sebastian attended King’s Baptist Grammar School. He then began studies in Medical Radiation at the University of South Australia, but left to pursue a career in music. He taught vocals at Temple Christian College and other high schools while also working as a recording engineer and studying Music Technology at the University of Adelaide’s Elder School of Music.
2003–2004: Australian Idol and Just as I Am
Sebastian performing at the Australian Gospel Music Festival, April 2004
In May 2003 Sebastian successfully auditioned for Australian Idol, singing Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky”. He progressed through the Idol series, establishing a strong fanbase and praise from the judges, who often made reference to his afro hairstyle which became a focal point of his image. He was declared the winner on 19 November 2003, and gained a recording contract with BMG, which later merged with Sony. Following his Idol win Sebastian was required to record his debut album in six days, but despite this time restriction the album included three songs co-written by him. He then travelled to the UK to compete in World Idol. Although he impressed the judges, with several suggesting he could win the competition, he finished seventh.
Sebastian’s winner’s single “Angels Brought Me Here” debuted at number one and was the highest selling single in Australia in 2003, reaching 4× platinum certification. In 2010 it was named the highest selling song of the previous decade, ahead of Anthony Callea’s “The Prayer”. “Angels Brought Me Here” held the record for being the highest selling single ever released by an Australian act until 2011.
Sebastian’s debut album Just as I Am was released in December 2003 and also achieved number one. Its first week sales of 163,711 units are the second highest one week sales in Australian chart history, the highest for an Australian act. It eventually reached sales just short of 7× platinum, and is the highest selling album ever released by an Australian Idol contestant. “Angels Brought Me Here” also reached number one in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand.
Just as I Am reached number three and double platinum certification in New Zealand, with “Angels Brought Me Here” achieving platinum certification there. The second single “All I Need Is You” reached number one and platinum in Australia, and peaked at number five in New Zealand. In early 2004 Sebastian appeared at the Asian MTV Awards, was a guest judge on New Zealand Idol and performed on Indonesian Idol. After a promotional trip to Malaysia in April he travelled to Europe and the US to write for his next album, performing on American Idol while in the US