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EXCLUSIVE: Sash Seabourne shares his struggles fitting the Australian Idol mould

"I sometimes struggled with people wanting to change my look and change the way my songs were arranged."
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Perth native, Sash Seabourne is not your typical ‘Australian Idol‘. A self-professed folk artist, the 25-year-old surfer impressed the Idol judges in his preliminary audition when performing a self-arranged version of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’. 

Making his way to the Top 10 of the competition, armed with his guitar and strong sense of artistry, Seabourne admits, once the Live Shows commenced, the large-scale production did not align with his personal career goals. Despite leaning towards a more organic mode of performance and promotion, the singer continued to thrive in the competitive Australian Idol environment.

WATCH: Sash Seabourne performs ‘In the Air Tonight’. Article continues after video.

In spite of the increasing demand to fit the “Idol mould”, it’s evident that Seabourne has stuck true to his more natural, laid-back style of performing. With a barrage of cameras, lights, crew, and audience members, according to the musician, nerves and unfamiliarity with the performance environment were a hindrance.

Considering this, Seabourne is proud of his overall journey and is excited to work on more original music.

Following his exit, we sat down with Sash to discuss his upcoming songs, national tour plans, and his personal pick for Australian Idol 2023.

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Sash admits he learnt a lot about himself and his artistry during his time on Idol. (Credit: Channel Seven/Instagram)

How are you feeling, Sash? Are you satisfied with your Idol journey?

I’m happy with my result. I woke up on the right side of the bed this morning! I think it was a great journey for me and a great learning experience. I’m proud to have made it to the pointy end.

There was a lot on this show, a lot of performances where I feel like I could have done better. 

If I had to pick who went home last night, I probably would have picked myself. There’s an incredibly high-standard of singers now and the performances have been pretty ridiculous.

Being on Idol was an amazing learning experience, but I’m a songwriter, and a guitar player, as well as a singer first. So, I’ve had some trouble bringing my entire skill set to the table and acting entirely authentic to who I am on the stage when I have to play other people’s songs.

Mostly, I’m just glad that I’ve built a great audience and connected with a lot of people on the show. And in the coming months, when I get to go back to doing my thing, I think people are going to see the true Sash Seabourne. And that’s going to be a really beautiful experience to go back to being myself again.

That’s a great attitude to have! Regarding your future plans, what’s on the horizon for you? Any more music or singing shows?

I don’t think I’d go on another singing show! It’s been an amazing learning experience being on that side of the tracks but I’m a strongly independent folk musician so this has been a stretch for me. While it’s been incredibly positive, I’m totally focused on putting music out and creating a tour around Australia this year.

So I’ll probably be putting a song out as early as May this year and I’d like to get in the van and go and do it the grassroots way – go and play shows for some real people around the country.

WATCH: Sash Seabourne on Australian Idol. Article continues after video.

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Seeing as you’re quite an independent artist, how did you adapt to the Australian Idol format considering it is so different to what you’re used to?

I think it’s been a great exercise learning who you’re not as well as who you are. Once you get to the Top 12, there’s a lot of emphasis on moulding, or considering having a transformation. While I learned a lot through that process, I was a little bit further down the road with knowing who I am as a strong individual.

I sometimes struggled with people wanting to change my look and change the way my songs were arranged. I never felt like I 100% thrived in this environment. Like, I never felt like I could keep 100% of my potential in here. And that’s why I think that going home at this point in the competition is totally the perfect time.

The thing I’m most proud of about coming out the other end of this is that I stayed 100% true to myself and 100% authentic through all of this. I learnt a lot on the way, built a great audience, and met a lot of incredible contestants along the way as well.

Speaking of the contestants on the show, who did you get along with the most? And, if you had to pick, who are you choosing to win Australian Idol?

It’s a tough question! Personally, the person I got the closest to on the show was definitely Josh. I think that he’s definitely got what it takes to win this thing. If you had to build an Australian Idol in a petri dish, he’s got all that it takes. 

He’s got an amazing charisma and a really beautiful nature as a person. He’s probably the only person that I sat in front of in this competition and, when we started playing some stuff on the acoustic guitar, and I heard him sing for the first time, my jaw just dropped.

He’s also just a blank canvas. He’s at the start of his career and he was really ready to be transformed into this [singer] that I think will probably thrive in that environment. I’m very excited to see where he goes. He has the potential of being a full-on pop star.

For me, I looked down the barrel of being a pop star and I decided that isn’t what I wanted to do. Now that I get to play my own music again, I think people are going to see who I really am for the first time – and that makes me really excited.

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“In the coming months, when I get to go back to doing my thing, I think people are going to see the true Sash Seabourne.” (Credit: Channel Seven/Instagram)

You’ve said it’s been a great learning experience and, while you’ve gotten to make connections with other contestants, you’ve also had the chance to connect with the judges. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from them?

I think Harry Connick Jr. is probably the guy that I respect the most in terms of being such a heavyweight musician and having such a long, amazing career as a performer in the industry. I was very fortunate that he pulled me aside last night and we had some words, one on one.

He told me about being focused and learning how to perform on stage. Being a singer is so much about your mental state. If the wrong thing is going through your head, you’ll lose your sentiment and it won’t be a great performance. He had some great advice about learning to be vulnerable and opening up to the audience.

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