Guy Sebastian knows a thing or two about reality television. Over the years, he's been a performer vying for the Australian Idol title, a kind mentor on The X Factor and a dedicated coach of new talent on The Voice Australia.
Although he's been part of several shows, Guy tells TV WEEK there's a reason he keeps coming back to The Voice time and again.
"I feel like it's a safe space," the 40-year-old says. "In this current climate, I would be very selective about what I do on television.
"The judges [coaches] know the heart of the show and we're grateful to be on one that's unique in the reality TV space because it has no hidden agenda."
But also, for Guy, working alongside his fellow coaches – UK singer-songwriter Rita Ora and Australian stars Keith Urban and Jessica Mauboy – is completely different to other panels he's been on.
"I've never worked on anything where there's such a mutual love for one other," he shares.
"What I've discovered from working on different shows is that when you feel like someone's not interested and it's just a gig to them, you can't unite as a team.
"That's the thing that separates these panels. Do we care about these artists and the creative process or are we just feeding lines?
"The passion and care makes good TV. You need people to be invested and to really have their heart on the line. That's what people want to see."
As we chat to Guy on the phone, his passion and enthusiasm is obvious.
And when it comes to his own career, there's plenty to be enthusiastic about: 10 top 10 albums, a swag of international hits, 34 ARIA nominations, a Eurovision appearance and collaborations with musical luminaries such as Brian McKnight, Robin Thicke, John Mayer, Eve and Lupe Fiasco.
The singer, songwriter and producer took his place in The Voice's big red chair as a coach in 2019 and fitted right in.
He's on the show for the musical nitty-gritty, the behind-the-scenes creativity and the chance to help talented young artists reach their potential, especially at a time where performing live is harder than ever for musicians.
"The fact that we've still been able to put on a show has been a real lifeline, to just still be surrounded by musicians and talking about music," he says. "It's really nice, but it's been tough."
The entertainer turned 40 last October, the milestone birthday a time for celebration, reflection – and to appreciate the insights about himself he's gained.
"It took a long time for me to think of myself as an adult," he explains.
"It's almost like I went through assuming that everyone was better, smarter and more deserving than I was. But I've realised that when it comes to things I know I'm good at, I should back myself.
"I'm still the same person – I just really feel like I'm an adult now."
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