Australian superstar Guy Sebastian brings some real heart to pop music. The highest-selling male artist in his home country's history, the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist's accolades encompass everything from being the first winner of Australian Idol , scoring multiple ARIA Awards, notching seven consecutive multi-platinum albums, seven number one singles, judging the Australian X-Factor , leading 2012's "Battle Scars" to platinum status in the U.S. with Lupe Fiasco, and so much more. However, he never loses sight of the one special experience that started it all and essentially shaped him.
"When I was six-years-old, I heard Sam Cooke sing for the first time," he smiles. "My dad was playing his tape, and I was like, 'What is this? I want to do this. I need to be that guy!' Sam was my hero growing up. In a way, I'm like an organic soul singer blending in some electronica, pop, and R&B production."
Born in Malaysia and growing up in Adelaidewhich for outsiders he likens to "Delaware as referenced in Wayne's World "he spent his formative years immersing himself in music at every turn possible. Soon, he had transformed his passion into a career after a breakout out on Australian Idol in 2003 without ever losing sight of the same youthful and vibrant energy that attracted him to music in the first place.
Now, Sebastian seizes that spirit on his 2014 single "Like A Drum". Composed by the artist on an acoustic guitar and already a #1 Hot 100 smash down under, the song delivers an upbeat refrain with a poppy bounce and enigmatic instrumentation. Thumping with an unshakable and uplifting beat, it also speaks to something truly timeless.
"The subject matter of the song examines innocence," reveals Sebastian. "It's about pure love and how sometimes, as you get older, things like lust get in the way. It can corrupt love. Young love is just innocent. We all want to get back to that. It's the feeling of butterflies where you would do anything for the person you care about."
The track also lays the foundation for the release of his forthcoming full-length North American debut, which will be out in 2014 through The Cherry Party/RED Associated Labels/RCA, simultaneously with Europe and Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. Blending a myriad of influences from folk to gospel and R&B, he makes an intimately personal musical statement with his own stamp lyrically and instrumentally.
"Regardless of what genre I do, it will have traces of soul," he explains. "That's going to be my flavor. Because I sing with a lot of emotion and feeling, I aim to encapsulate what music means to me. It's very deep and emotive. I try to write songs that can stand on their own on an acoustic or piano, and then I think, 'How can I flip this and make it current with fresh production?' It's like writing something classic and doing a remix of it."
Already, Sebastian has been tapped as a brand ambassador for Canon and given unforgettable performances at Sundance Film Festival and lined up appearances at SXSW as well as his first full-blown North American tour in support of the album. His goal hasn't changed from when he first heard Sam Cooke though.