Guy Sebastian is the first to admit that his ninth album, T.R.U.T.H., bloomed from adversity however this album has proven that the singer songwriter has true grit and depth that delivers a deeper more profound window into the vocal talent and heart of one of Australia’s most popular and respected male artists.
Just prior to writing the material for this record, Sebastian was in a dark place following an acrimonious split with his former manager of 11 years. He reveals, “I felt more alone than I ever have before, I honestly didn’t know who to trust. Something that represented safety for me for so long suddenly embodied everything I feared. It was like grieving something that never existed so I also felt like a fool. For that reason I had an irrational fear that somehow I would forget how to get back on stage or write a song again.”
Guy found himself at a crossroads and just knew he needed to reclaim his creative confidence by hitting the studio. “On the first day of writing this new album I was in tears before the session. I needed to write a fight song for myself, something that reminded me that I am in control of my destiny. That day I wrote the first single for the album – ‘Before I Go’.”
This song’s vocal delivery puts no further doubt to the listener that even in pain, the singer could muster one of his greatest songs. Then on day two, another ballad ‘Believer’ was poured out. Guy rediscovered his purpose. “As long as I’ve got a voice and as long as I’ve got songs to write, I’m gonna keep doing it,” he promises.
Released back in November 2018, ‘Before I Go’ opened up several new overseas markets for Sebastian, peaking at #1 on the Netherlands iTunes chart.
Then ‘Choir’, the second single to be lifted from T.R.U.T.H., dropped in May 2019 and went on to become Sebastian’s biggest radio single to date. This multi-ARIA-Award-winning, 3x Platinum-certified single is Sebastian’s crowning achievement. Written while grieving the loss of his late friend and musical collaborator Luke Liang, this deeply personal tribute topped the Australian iTunes Chart and peaked at #7 on the ARIA Singles Chart. “Lyrically, ‘Choir’ serves two purposes,” Guy points out. “It acknowledges the tragedy of losing a loved one, but is also who a reminder to look out for each other and reminds us of the fragility life.”
With the focus back on the emotive power of his voice, Sebastian felt inspired to connect with his audience on a deeper level: “I wanted to create something that was about my life, the things that I’ve been through, and my truths.”
So where to next? Sebastian unleashed an entirely different proposition in November 2019 with the soulful celebration that is ‘Let Me Drink’ feat. The HamilTones & Wale. Written in Hollywood after he’d just wrapped his inaugural stint as coach on The Voice and was feeling “a bit overworked”, Guy essentially wrote single number three with The HamilTones in mind. “I’m a big fan of those guys and it was awesome to have them in the studio to add that Southern soul to the album,” Guy enthuses of this trio, whose golden pipes also elevate two more T.R.U.T.H. tracks: the upbeat, loved-up ‘Love On Display’ and ‘Who I Love’, a ballad celebrating uniqueness within the context of a relationship (“I know you’re a beautiful mess/ But that’s who you are, and that’s who I love”).
Sebastian then scored another Top 10 ARIA hit with ‘Standing With You’, the Gold-certified latest and fourth single to be lifted from T.R.U.T.H., released in June of this year. On this timely song – the spiritual salve we all need right now – Guy reflects, “It’s probably one of the most poignant songs I’ve ever released.”
And T.R.U.T.H.‘s single releases inspired a real inundation of interaction from fans, who spilled their hearts out to Guy via social media, email and snail mail. “Those notes and shared moments really helped me create this album,” he acknowledges, “giving me such purpose and drive to keep going. So T.R.U.T.H. is their album as well.”
Although T.R.U.T.H. materialised in spurts – during various sessions with songwriters in different geographical locations across a two-and-a-half-year period – it’s undeniably Sebastian’s most cohesive-sounding album to date. “I feel like every song on the album has really extreme waves of emotion or tension release,” Guy observes.
Elsewhere, T.R.U.T.H. is peppered with upbeat songs of romantic devotion (‘I’m Your Man’, ‘Only Thing Missing’), a prayer dedicated to Guy’s youngest son Archie (the Shungudzo-featuring ‘In A World’), an ode to the friend-zoned (‘If He Won’t’) plus a sexy nod to Sebastian’s R&B influences, complete with trap beat (‘Fantasize’).
T.R.U.T.H.‘s cover art features a stunning photograph of Guy smiling and completely immersed in joy. Initially, a more stylised photo had been chosen to grace the album cover, but – when coupled with the album title, T.R.U.T.H. – this candid capture of Sebastian looking completely elated “just felt right”. “There’s definitely a sense of freedom,” Guy adds. “When you live a truthful life, you can smile without anything behind it; uninhibited joy knowing that you are doing your best to be the best person you can be. None of us are perfect, but the truth is important and it is something we should all strive for… I think throughout my life I will always look back on this album cover and remember exactly what I was feeling, even decades from now.”
Guy has sold almost four million albums to date and is the only Australian artist in ARIA chart history to boast six #1 singles – the most by any Australian male artists in ARIA history and two #1 albums.
T.R.U.T.H. paints the portrait of an artist at the top of his game. “I know who I am and I’m unashamed as well,” Guy says. “I’m not trying to be something that I’m not.”
He’s emerged from the darkness into a bright new career-defining musical chapter and in creating his latest 12-song collection of shimmering soul-pop, T.R.U.T.H. has set Guy Sebastian free.