RetroRadio – Guy Sebastian

RetroRadio is a series of posts of radio interviews from my time working at 98five Sonshine FM covering everything from issues of spirituality to chats with visiting musicians and celebrities.

Hopefully, the interviews spark a few memories and a few thoughts.

These days he’s the newest coach on hit television show, The Voice Australia, but since bursting onto our screens and winning the first series of Australian Idol back in 2003, Guy Sebastian has amassed an amazing list of accomplishments.

He has performed alongside and in front of some of the biggest names in the music business, won a swag of awards and was Australia’s representative at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.

Back in my radio days, I had a number of opportunities to chat with Guy. Here are a couple of those interviews.

Firstly, here’s an interview from October 2007. Guy was just about to release his Memphis Album. The wonderful thing about that album was that Guy enlisted the help of top soul musicians such as Steve Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Steve Potts, Lester Snell, Dave Smith, Rick Steff, Jim Spake, Kirk Smothers, Scott Thompson and Howard Lamb.

Many of those musicians wrote and recorded the original versions of the songs on the album with the likes of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Al Green and Wilson Pickett and were members of the MGs, playing with Booker T, and the Blues Brothers Band. Steve Cropper, who co-wrote In The Midnight Hour, Knock On Wood, and (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay, also produced the album with Guy.

I remember having a representative of the record company in the studio during our interview. She gasped when Guy revealed that some of those giants of the industry would be his backing band for a tour early in 2008.

The only downside of having Guy live in the studio was that he had a terrible flu, which I then managed to catch.

Listen to what he had to say about his music all those years ago using the media player below.

In October 2009 I had the opportunity to catch up with Guy again. Once again we talked about his musical journey and his album at the time, Like it Like That.

Once again he was a delight to interview. I was particularly encouraged, and a little embarrassed, by his final words to me in the interview. I guess he enjoyed the interview as much as I did.

Just click play and enjoy another catch up with Guy Sebastian.

[Note: All RetroRadio interviews on are a snapshot of the time they were recorded. We all grow and change and so the opinions and thoughts of those in the interviews at the time of recording may or may not necessarily be the same as they are today.]

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Let Yourself Shine


What’s shining inside you that the world has never seen? What’s the passion that you’re too scared to show anyone?

A strange thing has happened with television talent shows over recent years.

Around a decade ago we started seeing a trickle of reality shows that gave people a shot at fame and fortune. Idol, Popstars, X Factor, So You Think You Can Dance, The Voice, Australia’s (or whatever other country) Got Talent and several others filled our screens. Some have continued, others have headed to the TV graveyard.

A lot of these shows used to focus heavily on those who are completely unaware of how badly they sing. Auditions were full of spectacular failures, shown only so that we could laugh at others and mock their inabilities. Thankfully that’s changing.

While there are still some auditions featuring those who have been told by their mums how brilliant they are when they can’t actually hold a note, we’re seeing more and more of those who don’t seem to fit the expectation of the good looking pop package walk on stage and surprise us with amazing performances.

Refuse to wear someone else’s labels.

Something rises in us when we see someone showing that they can’t be judged by the narrow criteria we so often use to classify others as not worthy of our attention. I think it’s often because we recognise something in ourselves that’s never been able to see the light of day. There’s something hidden inside us that we’re too afraid to put on display because we don’t believe we could handle the possibility of rejection. In watching someone else overcome the labels our hearts celebrate …. but there’s a part of us that still wishes others would see the beauty inside us.

Over the years We’ve seen triumphs from people like Susan Boyle, Paul Potts and several others. A few nights ago on Australian television we saw another person defy the stereotypes to soar into our hearts. Check out this video of Leon Lee, a 19 year old university student.

No one expected too much of Leon.

You can tell that the audience didn’t expect anything great. The judges exchanged knowing smiles that said they expected Leon’s audition to be a bit of a train wreck. But then he sang.

There was something in Leon that most people had never seen. Thankfully he had the courage to put that something on display.

I wonder what’s inside you.

It might not be a great singing voice or anything to do with performing but it’s still there ready to shine. What are you hiding for fear of rejection?

Maybe there’s something inside you that wants to shine, not for the whole world, but for those closest to you. Are you prepared to trust someone else enough to shine?

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John Lennon on The Voice

When I saw this video earlier today I couldn’t wait to share it with you. I’ve often wondered how some of the greats of the music world would be received if they tried to turn a chair or two.

I love the fact that shows like Idol, The Voice, and others give talented performers a platform to perform for a far wider audience and I’m glad that we’ve discovered some great artists through those shows, but it’s always concerned me that the unique and different can get lost.

Obviously any such program can only give us a small window into the lives of the people involved and their music and so it becomes a popularity contest, but what about some of the acts that have built up massive followings and have remained popular over many years? Would they have found a following on those programs?

I think of artists like Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and many others who have continued to draw audiences for decades. I’m not sure that many would get past the auditions which is why I’m thankful that there are several ways to enter the music industry. I just hope we keep providing a variety of avenues for those with something to say through music to reach their audience.

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