By: Clare Bruce and Justin Rouillon
It wasn’t long ago Chris Sebastian shared about the turmoil of losing a baby, how his faith got him through that season, the song he released as a gift to grieving parents, and celebrating the birth of newborn Ava.
Fast-forward just two months, and he’s standing on the brink of a career takeoff – having taken out the top gong on Channel Nine’s The Voice. The Kelly Rowland team member beat out Stellar Perry, Siala Robson and Johnny Manuel to win season 9 of the singing competition. The win sees Chris pocket a $100,000 first prize as well as a recording contract with EMI Music Australia.
— The Voice Australia (@TheVoiceAU) July 19, 2020
But with brother Guy working on the show as a coach, there has been some criticism of the win. In a statement Channel 9 said that the fan voting (for the winner) came down to an “exceptionally close result, with less than 0.5 per cent separating first and second place”.
His progression through the show on ‘Team Kelly’ with coach Kelly Rowland, has been a chance to show his diverse talent – from massive piano ballads, to dance-worthy R&B hits.
It began with his ‘Blind Audition’ in May singing Labrinth’s Jealous, which turned all four chairs and brought his brother Guy, one of the show’s coaches, to tears.
The ‘Battles’ then saw him paired in a duet with young diva Sapphire Tamalemai, belting out an epic version of Sia’s Titanium, while in the ‘Playoffs’ he performed Bruno Mars’ hit 24k Magic, winning against seasoned professional Lyric McFarland from the band Brown Sugar.
In the‘’Showdowns’ he wowed the coaches again, singing Charlie Puth’s Attention – a performance made all the more difficult performing without any studio audience, while his coach Kelly was beamed in from the USA by video link only, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In the Semi-Final Chris competed amongst the Top 7 performing a stunning rendition of Lewis Capaldi’s hit Before You Go.
Stepping Out From Guy’s Shadow
He admitted in a mentoring session with Kelly Rowland that it had always been daunting to try and make it as an artist, in the shadow of his older brother Guy’s success – and that he was amazed to have made it this far into the competition.
“I had no expectations coming into this,” he said. “I didn’t know whether it was going to be received well having a brother on the show.”
“For a long time I kind of did feel like I was in Guy’s shadow. I’d play shows and people would only associate me with him, and I struggled with that for a really long time. Identity has been a real weird thing for me. I love Guy but I’ve always kind of had to prove myself. It’s been hard to be taken seriously.”
Coach Kelly Roland in turn shared her own struggle of being constantly compared to former Destiny’s Child bandmate and global superstar Beyonce Knowles.