It’s hard to imagine Australian music without Sebastian. He’s just so omnipresent; whether he’s releasing ridiculously catchy pop singles or coaching others on The Voice to one day – hopefully – do the same. But Sebastian’s impressive career almost didn’t happen. And there’s one person he can thank for making sure it did: his now wife, Jules.
Back in 2003, Sebastian was another hopeful – albeit one with a hairstyle that made him look like he’d put his finger in a power point – auditioning for Australian Idol.
The nascent singer was trying to think of any excuse to not be lining up in the freezing cold at 6am outside an Adelaide hotel.
“I do go back to that moment when I said to Jules, ‘I don’t want to do this’,” the 38-year-old recalls. “‘Look at everyone, they’re better looking than me. They’re going to be better pop stars and better dancers. I’m not good enough to do it. I don’t feel well.’ I was trying to find every excuse under the sun.”
If you google Sebastian’s audition you can see the nervous youngster trying to answer an interviewer’s questions, while a smiling Jules sits beside him, quietly pushing the reluctant soon-to-be star into the spotlight. And then he sang a Stevie Wonder song and Sebastian’s whole world changed.
“It was that sliding doors moment and I do wonder how different my life would be right now if I hadn’t auditioned,” he tells WHO. “I don’t know what path I would have taken. I’m so fortunate I’ve made that decision.” And through it all, he’s had his own steadfast bright star …
“There is one anchor throughout the whole experience and that is my wife Jules, and when we reflect on all the highs and the lows and incredible things we’ve experienced, it’s quite surreal.”
What is it like to have someone in his corner as he punches out a pop career? She’s his Adrian to her Rocky, if you like.
“She’s the ultimate equaliser,” Sebastian says of Jules. “When you’ve got someone who you have history with, you have to be yourself. Sometimes when you meet someone at a certain stage of your life, you can be the version of yourself that you want to be to that person, there is no history they can hold you accountable to.
“My wife has known me since I was 12 years old. She knows my family. She knows my background. So, she’s always brought me back down to earth. I see myself when I look at her. Not that she purposefully holds a mirror up to me, but I’ve never had a persona like (Beyoncé’s) Sasha Fierce. I’ve just navigated through this with the objective of making the most of the opportunity.”
Reflecting on his time in showbusiness, Sebastian is under no illusions about why he’s succeeded. And it has nothing to do with angels bringing him here. It’s guts and determination.
“It’s extremely difficult, if I’m being honest,” the Battle Scars singer admits. “It isn’t luck, like I might have said years ago. You create your own luck; make your own bed.
“Coming up to two decades and it doesn’t feel like time has flown. I feel like I’ve lived and felt every one of those years. It’s just incredibly tough. You always have that stupid work ethic that you work to the bone. And if you want it, you just have to get it.”
The singer is the subject of his own documentary, Guy Sebastian: The Man The Music [Mon., Jun. 29, 9.10pm on Nine Network]. Part concert, part This Is Your Life, the doco takes viewers through his 17-year career.
“It feels very personal,” Sebastian says of the doco. “I cried several times watching it back. My mum (Nellie) gets on camera and I’m a mess. She’s talking about how proud she is of the man I’ve become, and to have her say that is the ultimate.”
Sebastian’s latest song is a deeply personal tune called Standing with You [out Jun. 26], written about a cousin who posted on social media about his struggle with depression.
“I had no idea, so I reached out to him and thanked him for sharing it,” Sebastian says.
Closer to home, he and Jules and their two sons, Hudson, 8, and Archer, 6, have grown closer throughout COVID-19.
“I found a lot of value in just being with my boys and being at home, being with Jules. We got a dog. He’s our best little friend.”