“We need to champion each other”: Guy Sebastian lends voice to peers
“I was in LA when I found out about Luke [Liang],” recalls Sebastian. “A few days later, when it started to sink in, I was bawling my eyes out.”
The tragedy of Liang’s sudden passing in August 2018 sent shockwaves through much of the music industry. He was 28-years-old. Almost one year later, Sebastian has found the strength and courage to transcribe their friendship into a hit song.
“I wanted something to celebrate him because he was so funny. Luke was such a good dude and so fun,” Sebastian tells TMN.
Liang was beloved by all who met him, a talented multi-instrumentalist and member of Sebastian’s band, and now the inspiration behind his brand new single ‘Choir’ – an uplifting anthem that intends to serve as a celebration of life and fond friendships.
“He was a mad Trekkie, a real Star Trek nerd. I think ‘nerd’ just sort of sums him up in every aspect. Every instrument he played he went ‘full nerd’. He was so dedicated, and he just had to be the best at it.”
Sebastian believes the music business has a lot to answer for, pointing to a lack of peer support and opportunities for musicians, songwriters and producers, and lacklustre respect among certain circles for pop music. A deeply rooted problem, that he says, is one cause of the mental health crisis plaguing the music biz.
“The Australian music industry can be very segregating. If you look at LA or even London, people are collaborative, and they champion each other. It’s such a weird attitude here that I think needs to change.
“What inadvertently happens is that people go through this industry as a musician or as an artist or whatever, and they feel like there’s this massive pressure on them to be credible in the eyes of their peers, as opposed to just doing what they love and not worrying about what their peers think.
“There’s just this prejudicial kind of separation within the industry, but that also stems out to the general public and how they digest music. There’s not a lot of championing each other.”
The one-time Australian Idol winner hopes to use his platform as a catalyst for change. Right now he’s on season eight of The Voice Australia, mentoring and coaching the next crop of pop stars ready to be thrust into the public consciousness by a television franchise.
Developing artists is something that comes naturally to the Adelaide-born pop star, a passion that extends beyond the small screen.
“It’s a massive part of what I do, and it’s something I feel passionate about; finding new talent and nurturing new talent and helping them carve a path in the music industry.
“There’s a lot of talent this year on The Voice, some outstanding singers.”
Team Guy are in royally good hands. On Monday (June 10) Sebastian was named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. He received an AM for significant service to the music recording industry, and to charitable initiatives.
In support of new single ‘Choir’ – which debuted in the Top 40 of the TMN Hot 100 at #35 last week – the Platinum-selling singer will embark on a capital city tour in September and October.
Sebastian will visit Adelaide’s Festival Theatre on September 6, Perth’s Regal Theatre September 7, Wrestpoint Hobart September 12, Hamer Hall Melbourne September 14, The Star Gold Coast September 21, QPAC Brisbane September 22 and The Star Sydney October 3.
Tickets for his RIDIN’ WITH YOU tour go on sale at 10am on Friday, June 14.
If you or someone you know are suffering from depression or need assistance, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 or Support Act on 1800 959 500.