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Music / Guy Sebastian

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Guy Theodore Sebastian (born 26 October 1981) is a Malaysian-born Australian pop, R&B and Soul singer-songwriter and musician. He gained fame after winning the inaugural season of Australian Idol in 2003 and went on to have a seven-times platinum debut album (Just As I Am) which spawned the quadruple-platinum number-one single "Angels Brought Me Here".

Since then he's gone on to receive 17 ARIA Award nominations, including Single of the Year, Best Male Artist and Best Pop Release, and won Highest Selling Single ARIA Awards for "Angels Brought Me Here" and the Eve collaboration "Who's That Girl". He's also recorded with the likes of Mýa, John Mayer, Jordin Sparks, Lionel Richie and the original Stax Records house band, while other musicians such as Brian McKnight and Robin Thicke have written songs for him. All of his albums have received either platinum or multi-platinum accreditations, making him one of the most successful popstars in Australian history. In addition, he's performed for Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Benedict XVI, Oprah Winfrey and the entire viewership of American Idol when Simon Cowell invited him to perform on the show in 2004. He has toured with the likes of Taylor Swift (when he served as her Australian opening act for the Australian leg of the Red Tour in 2014), Michael Bublé and Shane Filan of Westlife. He has performed duets with a wide variety of artists, including Lee Kernaghan, Ronan Keating, Olivia Newton-John and Delta Goodrem (who he was compared to early in his career and who he counts as one of his closest personal friends). He's even had his songs covered by the likes of Wayne Brady.

A philanthropist, Sebastian is also an ambassador for World Vision Australia. His visit to Africa in 2005 spawned the TV documentary An Australian Idol in Africa, which was met with high ratings when it was screened on Network Ten (also the channel that ran Australian Idol). He also runs a charity called "The Sebastian Foundation" with his wife, Jules, who is a celebrity stylist with her own show on the Seven Network.

Apart from his music career, he also served as a judge and mentor on The X Factor Australia from 2010 to 2012 and 2015, winning twice with Samantha Jade and Reece Mastin. From 2019 onwards, he has served as a judge and coach on the Australian edition of The Voice (even surviving a Channel Hop from the Nine Network to the Seven Network).

In March 2015, it was announced that he would compete for Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest. In May that year, he finished in fifth place.

Sebastian was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours in recognition of his significant service to music and charity.


This musician contains examples of:

  • Adrenaline Makeover: A rare male example in the entertainment industry! For comparison, this is him just after winning Australian Idol, and this is him a full decade later.
  • Album Closure:
    • "i4u" on Just As I Am - a minimalist R&B-ish electro-stomper about eyeing a girl in a club and being so attracted that Guy actually contemplates marrying her.
    • "Beautiful Life" on Beautiful Life - a happy, hopeful song about the future of Guy's life and career.
    • "Be Mine" on Closer to the Sun, a jazzy love ballad written for weddings, but seemingly not Guy's own.
    • "Perfection" on Like It Like That, a slow and bombastic love ballad that Guy actually wrote for his own wedding to Jules.
    • "Used to You" on Armageddon, again, a slow and romantic love ballad.
    • "The Pause" on Madness, another slow song - this time about a deteriorating relationship.
    • "Reprise" on Conscious, a slow piano-ballad version of "Sober" (track 5).
    • "Fantasise" on T.R.U.T.H - a sexy R&B jam serving as a palate cleanser to the emotional charge of the album.
  • Amicable Exes: Had broken up with his then-girlfriend (now wife) Jules just before his stint on Australian Idol. However, the couple remained the best of friends, and she even accompanied him to the Adelaide auditions of the show. The couple reunited in early 2004.
  • Anti-Love Song: "Beg", "Never Ever Said Goodbye", "Never Hold You Down".
  • Blatant Lies: In early 2004, Guy (presumably as a joke) told media outlets that the then-upcoming video for "All I Need Is You" would feature his first on-screen kiss. The video was released ... and the kiss was missing. There wasn't even any overt flirting between Guy and the female lead. To this date, he has never kissed any of the female leads in his videos (presumably out of respect for his wife, Jules).
  • Break Up Song: "Unbreakable", "Wish I Didn't Tell You", "Wait", "How", "Forever With You", "Undo", "Amnesia".
    • “Before I Go” is a particularly bitter break-up song - not between lovers, but between Guy and his former manager of over a decade, Titus Day.
  • Celebrity Endorsement: The most apropos one was for Sebastian hairspray.
  • Charity Motivation Song: Has done many songs for charity, in fact listing them all here would probably take up a good chunk of this page.
  • Changed for the Video: “All I Need Is You”, “Taller Stronger Better”, “Cover On My Heart”, “All to Myself”, “Never Hold You Down” and “Believer” all received remixes for their respective videos. Inverted with “Don’t Worry Be Happy”, which got a remix for the album release.
  • Children Are Innocent: Invoked on "Big Bad World", which Sebastian wrote about his newborn son.
  • Christian Rock: He has contributed to many Christian albums both before and during fame. He wrote and sang the Theme Song to World Youth Day 2008 and has expressed interest in producing a gospel album to break the US market.
  • Cool Teacher: Worked as a music teacher in Adelaide before his stint on Australian Idol. He used the skills he acquired during this time to mentor young students from Challis Primary School in Western Australia for the ABC series Don't Stop the Music.
  • Cover Album: The Memphis Album, which contained thirteen Memphis soul covers and one original song. He cut the album with the original Stax Records house band in Ardent Studios, Memphis.
  • Cover Version: Though his participation on a Talent Show and release of a cover album make examples too many to list, a few notable ones include "Climb Every Mountain" as the B-Side to "All I Need Is You", New Edition's "Can You Stand the Rain" on Just As I Am and Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" on Beautiful Life.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: Of Ann Peebles' "I Can't Stand the Rain" and Miley Cyrus' "The Climb".
  • Darker and Edgier: Beautiful Life, as it contains more songs about loss and a song about wasted youth (well, the popular portrayal of wasted youth anyway). It even veered into Hotter and Sexier territory with songs like "Sweetest Berry", "Fiend For You" and "Oh Oh". However, it did contain enough feel-good songs to justify its title.
    • The Armageddon album and its third single, "Battle Scars".
  • Death Song: "Make Heaven Wait" and "Choir", which is an upbeat example.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Anthem of Why" from Beautiful Life is a pretty big anvil-dropper, considering the sole drug in question is marijuana. However, this was back in the days when he was playing to the Moral Guardians.
  • Duet Bonding: In the late 1990s, Sebastian and another girl were asked by a friend to sing the Mariah Carey song "Whenever You Call" at their wedding. Sebastian and the other girl barely knew each other when they started rehearsing together, but started becoming close as time went on, edging closer towards a High-School Sweethearts relationship. After performing the song at the wedding, they shared their first kiss in front of the bride and groom as well as a large number of people. Fast-forward to 2012, and that girl is now Sebastian's wife and the mother of his children. To top it off, they were each other's First Love. Awwwww.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Guy was no stranger to reality singing competitions, even before he auditioned for Idol in 2003. In 2000, Guy took part in Star Search as part of an eight-piece Christian Rock vocal ensemble called Gener8. They finished in second place.
    • After Gener8 disbanded, Guy started singing at Paradise Church in Adelaide. He joined another vocal ensemble called Planetshakers, releasing a couple of albums through Christian music outlets.
    • In 2002, he won a songwriting competition sponsored by Pilot Pens with a song called "No More".
  • Face on the Cover: All his albums to a degree (except for Madness which is more “Arm On the Cover”) but especially the case for his ninth studio album, T.R.U.T.H. It’s front-on upper-torso-and-face profile where Guy is sporting a big grin.
  • Fanboy: Of cricket, no less. He was an avid cricketer before his singing career took off, and about half of all his Twitter and Facebook updates are about which game he happens to be watching at the time.
    • He seems to be a fanboy of sport in general. And music, naturally.
  • Flipping the Bird: An angry motorist does this to Guy in the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy" - right after he tells him to "go to hell".
  • Follow Your Heart: "Beautiful Life".
  • Freudian Slip: This. Just... this.
  • Funny Afro: Sported one from his days in Australian Idol to circa 2006. Though it was his trademark at the time, he did get teased for it, mainly from Dicko who said that he looked like he had "stuck his finger in an electric socket". It even briefly came with its own Catchphrase, "Go the 'Fro".
  • Genre Mashup: Closer to the Sun, in particular, is a pop-rock album infused with R&B, Soul, Techno, Jazz, Funk and Reggae.
  • Genre Roulette: He's played with many styles including pop-rock, straight-up balladry, R&B, dance-pop and soul.
  • God-Is-Love Songs: "Taller, Stronger, Better" and "Receive the Power", a song he wrote and performed with Paulini Curuvenauli for World Youth Day in 2007.
  • Grief Song: "Make Heaven Wait". Averted with "Choir", which is about the death of Luke Liang, one of his former bandmates, but is an upbeat and celebratory song as that's what Luke would have wanted.
  • Happily Married: To one Jules Sebastian nee Egan, a stylist. Though at first fans did not like this, when they got (back) together in early 2004, fans eventually warmed to their relationship enough that the vast majority wished them nothing but goodwill when they married in 2008. They have two young sons, Hudson "Huddie" James and Archer "Archie" Jones. It also helps that in their public life, Guy and Jules are seen as something of an inseperable unit - they are the founders (and faces) of their own charity (The Sebastian Foundation), plus they make many appearances at Christmas-related events around Australia such as Carols in the City.
  • Hidden Depths: Called the winner for 2011 X Factor in a Lil Rocker called Reece Mastin, he's been quite successful, gaining fans day to day. Guy also showed incredible musical picking talent in going with Samantha Jade for his team in 2012, who did go from strength to strength. However, Guy only revealed her true self towards the end of the game, making the other judges "nervous" and she eventually won the show. Apart from being a multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, drums, piano and synths, he also a talented photographer, and has held public exhibitions for his works.
  • Hopeless Suitor: "Cover on My Heart" is about one.note 
  • Idol Singer: Was literally this at one stage. Well, a Western equivalent anyway.
  • Incredibly Long Note: Was known for this on Australian Idol. His performance of "Climb Every Mountain", with a very long note on "live", is a prime example.
  • In Da Club: "Out With My Baby" and "Who's That Girl". "Takin' Me Over" has shades of this.
  • Intercourse with You: Implied in "Sweetest Berry", "Died and Gone to Heaven" and "Stay in Bed". Pretty much spelled out on "Small Talk" and "Drink Driving".
  • Irony: The album least representative of Guy's artistry (and a result of blatant Executive Meddling with heavy doses of Executive Veto) is called Just As I Am.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: In "Gold":
    All the fellas walk past, they're checkin' out your ass-ets, hah!
  • Lighter and Softer: Closer to the Sun is this in comparison to Beautiful Life and Madness is this in comparison to Armageddon (with maybe the exception of "Light and Shade"). T.R.U.T.H is set to be this to Conscious.
  • Love Nostalgia Song: "Back In the Day", "Summer Love".
  • Manly Tears: His performance of "Climb Every Mountain" while on Australian Idol and his single "Battle Scars" did enough to inspire instances of these.
  • Melismatic Vocals: Deserve special mention here as they managed to bring three judges and an entire studio audience to tears.
  • Mentor Archetype: Well, between coaching duties on It Takes Two, X Factor, Don't Stop the Music and now The Voice, it seems Guy is more than happy using his skills and industry insight to help others reach their musical and music industry goals.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Has fans who weren't even born when he won Idol to fans well into their twilight years. Such is the magic of Guy Sebastian. However, he does get a lot of flak for it due to his PG-rated lyrics.
  • New Sound Album: Each one of his albums has a distinct sound and personality.
    • Just As I Am was, for the most part, pure pop infused with the faintest hint R&B as a result of Executive Meddling (he also had to record the album in six days so it could be Christmas Rushed).
    • Beautiful Life was distinctly more pure, international-sounding R&B infused with funk, soul and disco.
    • Closer to the Sun was, for the most part, a Beatles-inspired pop-rock album which broke from his usual Soul/R&B sound.
    • The Memphis Album, a covers album (save for one original song titled "I'd Like to Get to Know You") and Like It Like That an originals album, were pure soul albums inspired by the Memphis sound of the 1960s.
    • Armageddon— as a whole — was a departure from Guy's usual brand of blue-eyed soul, being an album many have described as being "mature, adult pop".
    • Madness basically followed the same formula as Armageddon with a tiny bit of folk-EDM thrown in.
    • His first EP, Part 1, departed even more from Madness and Armageddon - it was inspired by indie pop, soul and electronica and discussed themes such as sex, infidelity and loyalty in long - term relationships.
    • Conscious, retaining only one song from Pt 1 ("Set in Stone"), was a funk, soul and synth-based album that mixed both adult and family-friendly fare (for example, "High on Me" is great for school discos, but "Drink Driving", a hazy song comparing sex to drink driving? Not so much).
    • T.R.U.T.H was a mix of power ballads (such as "Believer", "Before I Go", "In a World", "Who I Love" and "If He Won't") and some modern American-style R&B (such as "Only Thing Missing", "Love On Display" and "Fantasize").
  • Nice Guy: This trope, his hair and his voice were essentially the three elements that won him Australian Idol. He knows many of his fans by name, chats to them and even makes time to visit sick kids in hospital every now and again.
  • Obsession Song: "Fiend For You".
  • OOCIS Serious Business: The video for "Black and Blue" holds the record for containing Guy's first and only "serious confrontation" (that is, "almost a fight scene but not quite") scene, with a guy who is in love with his ex.
  • The Pollyanna: Not to the same extent as say, Delta Goodrem, Jessica Mauboy or Samantha Jade, but come on - his song "Don't Worry, Be Happy" was written after a motorist flipped him the bird.
  • Perpetual Smiler: More so in his early career than now to due to Darker and Edgier taking effect.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Samantha Jade, Delta Goodrem and his best mate from high school, Tim.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Small Talk", an already-racy Intercourse with You - centred track on the Pt. 1 EP, contains a single utterance of the word "shit". However, since Guy has basically built his entire image around being family-friendly, something that would normally be a non-issue for fans of other artists caused a near-heart attack among his fanbase. It should also be noted that this was the first time Guy had earned any of his songs an "Explicit" label in his then-thirteen-year career.
    • A single "asshole" is dropped in "Bloodstone".
  • Pungeon Master: Try following him on social media for a few months and see how long you last without groaning.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: "Died and Gone to Heaven", "Small Talk", "Fantasise", "Stay in Bed", "Sweetest Berry".
  • Reality Show / Talent Show: Won the first season of Australian Idol in 2003, which back then was Serious Business for the majority of the general public, and then went on to compete in World Idol (he placed seventh). He was also at one stage a singing partner and mentor on It Takes Two in 2006 before assuming judging / coaching duties on The X Factor Australia and The Voice Australia.
  • Rearrange the Song: The album version of "Don't Worry Be Happy" uses a completely different instrumentation to the one used on the single mix.
  • The Rival: Missy Higgins called him out on being a "manufactured" artist because he won a reality show, leading to a bit of tension between the two for a while. His more famous rivalry with Shannon Noll barely qualifies, as the two are good friends, and any rivalry they may have is Played for Laughs. They even toured together back in 2013!
  • Scatting: In “Never Ever Said Goodbye”.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist
  • Sibling Rivalry: Though not in a true way, as his younger brother Chris was a contestant on The Voice and is now rapidly gaining enough fame to compete with his older brother.
  • Silly Love Songs: Has quite a few, including "All I Need Is You" (which he wrote for his now-wife), "Magic", "Stars Collide" and "Gold".
  • Singer Namedrop: Machel Montano drops Guy's name and his own name at the beginning of "Gon' Getcha".
  • Soul Brotha: Played for Laughs at the beginning of his career. When his trademark afro was shaved off, it put the kibosh on that.
  • Spear Counterpart: At the very beginning of his career, he was this to Delta Goodrem, who was apparently his Celeb Crush at one stage (and one of his closest personal friends to this day). As he moves more and more into an adult image and sound, this has not been the case for a few good years, as Delta is perfectly happy with playing the part of a girly, hippie dreamer 15 years into her career.
  • Spoken Word in Music: There's a brief soundbite of Otis Redding speaking at the beginning of "Gold".
  • Stalker with a Crush: "Fiend For You". Although it can also be taken as a lover going through the stage of infatuation.
  • Stuffy Old Song About The Buttocks: "Oh Oh".
  • Teen Pregnancy: Happens to one of the song's subjects in "Anthem of Why". She gives up on her dreams to be a singer because of it.
  • Title Track: Every album save for The Memphis Album, Twenty Ten and T.R.U.T.H contain one.
    • Weirdly enough, the Conscious album does not have the title song! You can find it on Pt 1, which was originally intended to be the first half of an album with the second half being released the next year.
  • Troll: Pulls this kind of behaviour a lot. For example, when his X Factor protege Samantha Jade expressed her concern of performing to a crowd she believed would be composed of only twenty people, Guy comforted her and assured her there were actually thirty-five.
  • Uncommon Time: "Summer Love" is in 11/12.
  • Unplugged Version: The second disc of Twenty Ten is filled with acoustic versions of his songs. He's also given this treatment to some of his covers as well.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Eve in "Who's That Girl" and Lupe Fiasco in "Battle Scars". Though Lupe isn't really so much of "a wild rapper appears" as he is practically taking over the whole song.
    • Inverted with his feature on Swift K.I.D's "Bed of Clouds". He's the guest vocalist in the song, but he sings more than the average vocalist does during a modern hip-hop track.
    • Guy trades verses with 2Chainz (of all people!) on "Mama Ain't Proud".
  • You Need to Get Laid: Sebastian was Australia's poster boy for premarital virginity during the years 2003-2008 (when he married his longtime girlfriend, Julie Egan). This was basically the general public's reaction every time his sexuality (or lack thereof) was discussed in the media.