HAS THE MOST NO. 1 HITS FOR AN AUSSIE MALE ARTIST. HE RECENTLY HAS KICKED OFF HIS GET ALONG TOUR, PLAYING MORE THAN 40 SHOWS AROUND THE COUNTRY.
TALKS TO GUY ABOUT CRACKING THE UNITED STATES AND REACHING NO. 1 ON THE BILLBOARD R& B/ HIP- HOP DIGITAL SONG CHART WITH BATTLE SCARS, FEATURING US RAPPER LUPE FIASCO.
I HEAR YOU WENT WITH LUPE TO THE GRAMMYS. HOW WAS THAT?
Australia did so well. Gotye was so humble. It was an amazing experience. I did the red carpet with him and saw a lot of familiar faces. I just had a ball. You go through a real range of emotions. You go through that whole self- esteem thing. You’re kind of a little bit nervous. In Australia, I know all the media and when I’m interviewed and when I’m walking the red carpet here there are familiar faces. I didn’t have that. It’s about embracing a world that isn’t yours. You watch the show and the performance and then the inspiration takes over and you get really inspired. You’re desperate to get in the studio and write music.
WHERE ARE YOU AT THE MOMENT?
I’m at Paramount studios in Los Angeles. I record here a fair bit. I’m in the working room. Los Angeles is very diff erent to Australia. You can hustle and talk all the crap you want, it’s so prevalent here. But talent and a good song will always prevail and speak louder than anything else, that’s for sure. That’s the power of a song, all it takes is one song to get your name out there, for people to discover you.
YOU HAVE A HUGE YEAR OF TOURING. WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT DOING A REGIONAL TOUR?
It’s defi nitely important. I’m doing 48 shows or something. It was announced that most of the city tours had sold out and I was kind of bummed so I said: “Let’s get in there and do a regional run.” It’s the last step with the record. You write the music and feel passionately about it. You release it, you tell the stories and play it live.
HAS IT BEEN TOUGH GETTING NOTICED IN THE US?
Battle Scars is doing really well over here and we’re stoked about how it’s going. It would be nice to stay over here and get to start gigging but it’s so important for me to go back and play my music in my home country.
DID TEAMING UP WITH LUPE HELP?
Absolutely. It helps you when you team up with someone who has a profi le and who has a fan base and you always need the right vehicle. He’s been able to help me over here, my profi le my and my career in Australia. I wrote the song and left the verses and stuff there for him to see if he wanted to do anything with it. I did a demo and sent it across to his camp and there was a lot of resistance with the song and him doing it. Stuff went down with his label. They basically said it was going to ruin his career in Australia if he did the song. They said I was too pop. So we had to fi ght for it. I ended up licensing it to Lupe himself and he released it by his own doing, without them. Then the song was the second highest selling single behind Gotye and went eight or nine times platinum. I don’t think I had ever really been told that before. It was a bit of a slap in the face. Like anything else, if a song is meant to come out and speak to people, it will. I believe that nowadays more than ever
DO YOU GET FLUSTERED MEETING THE BIG NAMES?
In my life I’ve sat next to Beyonce, while fi lming The X- Factor, Alicia Keys, Snoop and Robin Thicke and Brian McKnight. Oprah asked me to do two gigs for her and out of that she asked me to do a private gig. She gave me a big spiel and danced on stage with us for like an hour. It’s crazy to mix and to party with them and play shows with them, to see human side to them. I was told Prince was going around saying he loved one of my songs. That was pretty cool.
HOW OFTEN ARE YOU IN THE US?
Jules and I have a place in the US at the moment. I’m defi nitely staying in Australia. We live in Sydney. We feel really passionate about not basing ourselves in L. A. Not that we don’t like the States, we’re not really massive L. A. people. To live in L. A. you need a certain strength. You need a certain personality, and we’re really happy being in Sydney. The little one, Hudson, just turned one. He’s just so cute. He’ll be visiting the studio soon. I can’t get through the day without seeing him.
YOUR SINGLE SEEMS TO HAVE A FAIRLY STRONG MESSAGE. WHAT’S IT BASED ON?
It kind of highlights a few events. It says stuff like “someone wants some shelter”. You walk the streets and see so many more homeless people. They’re everywhere, even in Hollywood you see them literally wanting shelter. You see people who have been like that for decades, then there are those going on about their Hollywood Hills mansion and how it isn’t big enough. There are a lot of strong images, and of amazing people like Rosa Parks.
HOW IS PREVIOUS ALBUMS?
I guess I took a lot of time with it. It’s quite organic and there is a bit of darkness there. I’ve been a bit happier in a lot of my music. When you have a son and family you grow up and you travel a bit and you gain more appreciation for the world and the world he’s going to inherit. You have strong feelings about it. You can start worrying about the world and feelings of fear can weigh you down. Battle Scars is about that. It could be about a relationship. Everyone has their battle scars. See Guy Sebastian on Friday, May 31, from 7.30pm at Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre. Tickets: $ 79, available from tecc. net. au or phone 4771 4000.