At the end of May, Guy Sebastian released his awesome new single, titled “Choir” and he later dropped a brilliant music video to coincide with the track. This song touched our hearts the minute we heard it and it was created and released in honour of his friend, Luke Liang, who sadly passed away last year. We were honoured to be able to interview Guy Sebastian about this track.
Guy Sebastian is a household name in Australia having gone on to have enormous success after winning Australian Idol in 2003. His success has seen him release a total of eight studio albums all of which have entered the top ten of the Australian ARIA album charts, and 35 singles. He has seven Australian number ones to his name including “Battle Scars” which was a collaboration with Lupe Fiasco that even charted on the US Billboard Charts. His other songs that have charted internationally include “Like A Drum”, “Mama Ain’t Proud” which featured 2 Chainz, and his most recent track “Before I Go”, as well as “Tonight Again” which was the song he sang when he represented Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 – their very first time competing in the world-renowned music competition – where he came fifth with a total of 196 points. His career has been lengthy, although international success has not come easy for Guy Sebastian. Aside from his music career, he has been a judge on the Australian version of The X Factor in the years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2016. Recently, he can be seen as a coach on the Australian version of The Voice, which has just started its eighth season and this is the first time he has been a coach on The Voice where he is joined by legendary coach, Delta Goodrem, as well as Kelly Rowland and Boy George. His latest album, Conscious, was released in 2017 and he is apparently working on his ninth studio album, with “Before I Go” and his latest single “Choir” expected to appear on the said album.
We managed to have a catch-up with Guy Sebastian about his incredible and heartfelt recent track “Choir“, about The Voice, and he even revealed some details about his new album.
Hi Guy Sebastian, how are you today?
I’m great! A little jet-lagged but getting back into the swing of Australian Eastern Standard Time!
What have you been up to recently?
I just got back from a break in NYC. There was a lot of eating, drinking and general tomfoolery. Back to reality now!
We are currently loving your latest track “Choir”, can you tell us more about it?
Thanks! I wrote this song as a celebration of someone’s life. When we lose people we love, there are thousands of slow, sad-sounding songs we can listen to which make us even sadder. I wanted to write something which was a joyful celebration of someone’s life which also serves as a reminder to not take one another for granted.
The inspiration behind the track comes from losing your friend Luke Liang. What was he like?
He was hilarious. Such a funny lad who was always up for anything. He was kind to absolutely everyone and an incredibly talented musician. He played so many instruments and was a technical genius. He was such a captivating performer but was always humble, constantly pointing his energy towards the artist he was supporting.
Do you have a favourite lyric from the song? What is it and why?
“Someday I know my friend I’m going to see you again and when I do, you better have a part for me, you sing the melody and I’ll take the harmony.“
This lyric means a lot to me because he would always take the back seat and sing harmony, next time we sing he’s the star.
You wrote the song with Trevor Brown and Zaire Koalo, what were they like to write with? And can you talk us through how you came to write this song?
Trevor and Zaire are a songwriting/production duo called The Orphanage and they are total legends! Zaire is a beast beatmaker and producer and Trevor is a really talented writer and instrumentalist.
We started the song in Sydney but it was really just the chorus vibe. We ended up finishing it in LA right after I found out about Luke.
It was produced by M-Phazes. What was he like to work with?
Mark is seriously incredible. He was added to the team late in the stage to sprinkle his magical dust as he always does. I have collaborated with him on many occasions and he just knows what a song needs to make it sound layered, interesting and finished. His beats always cut through in a mix.
Last month saw you drop the music video to the track. Can you tell us more about the visual?
I get emotional watching this video. It starts with my little boy (the one with the little Afro) playing with a friend. Their sparklers are lit. There’s a whole lot of performance visuals in a stunning old church in Sydney and some coastal landscapes but then at the end of the video one of the boy’s sparklers extinguishes before the other.
What do you think Luke Liang would make of the song and its music video?
He would definitely pretend to like it even if he thought it was naff!
What was it like to work with the director, James Chappell?
James is seriously the most passionate director I’ve worked with. He works so hard and puts everything into making the right visual for a song. He also directed the video for “Before I Go”. He’s the best!
How long did it take for you to learn the choreography? It looks incredible.
I learned it two days before! It’s not really that difficult for dancers but for me it was tough! I’ve never been a “dancer” per se but I’ve always danced on stage in my own style!
Now, on to your time on talent shows. This is your first year as a coach on the Australian version of The Voice. What’s it like being a coach on the show?
I LOVE it. The Voice Australia is such a positive show for the music industry. No one is made fun of, everyone is not only encouraged but also taught such valuable lessons about the industry and how to best showcase their art. I really got along well with Boy George, Kelly Rowland and of course Delta [Goodrem] who has been a close friend for a very long time.
How does it differ from The X Factor where you were a judge for five non-consecutive years?
The blind auditions make it really different. I love that the industry is less image-focused these days. Weird looking people like me can have a career!
Which of your fellow coaches/judges from your time on both shows have been the favourite to work with?
Delta [Goodrem] is someone I’ve been close to since we were young and starting out in this industry. We have gone through many highs and lows in this industry together and she has been a huge support for me.
Now, back to your music. You’re gearing up to release your ninth studio album, how does that feel?
I seriously can’t wait to release this one. I’ve put a lot into this album and it’s just a fun soulful album with feel-good soulful up-tempos…and, I bloody love a ballad!
Can you reveal any more details about the new album?
I teamed up with The Hamiltones who did background vocals on a bunch of tracks. Look them up – they are so sick!
Other than “Choir”, the new album will also include the previous single “Before I Go”, can you tell us more about this track?
I wrote this song during quite a tough time in my life. I needed a song that reminded me to not listen to the voices that are trying to tear me apart and make me feel worthless. “Before I Go” is kind of my anthem which reminds me that I am on this earth to make music which moves people and brings light.
The music video has only been out for eight months but it’s already had 2.9 million views and is your fourth most-viewed video. How does that feel, knowing your recent music is reaching that many views?
I can’t deal with what has happened in my life – it still baffles me. I grew up in a small city and I didn’t really dream big, to be honest.
I think the success of “Choir” just reminds me that we should love each other fiercely. When we lose someone we love, the pain is really hard to process and cope with. There’s always room for songs which help us deal with loss. I’m glad I wrote one which is joyous but still has a heartbeat.
So surely this upcoming album is going to be one of your best. We can’t wait to hear it. What’s your advice to all artists in the world who are creating an album?
Don’t rush just to meet a timeline. I have done that before and seriously regretted it. Songs you write at the start of a project might be completely wrong by the time you find your groove. Also, don’t overthink. Albums are moments in time and of course if you look back on older work you would choose a different snare or write a different lyric. That’s the beauty of albums! We grow!
And, finally, do you have a message for your fans?
I am blown away by the kindness I have been shown. I can’t wait to give it back to you in the form of chords, melody and heart.
Thank you, Guy Sebastian, for taking the time out to answer our questions. We can hear your passion in the awesome track “Choir” and we cannot wait for your ninth studio album.
As you await Guy Sebastian’s new album, why not check out his Spotify page and discover his brilliant and extensive music, we’re sure you’ll enjoy listening to his tracks.