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Our Q&A with Australia Decides performer iOTA

iOTA is one of the ten artists competing in Australia Decides for a place on the Eurovision stage.

He is a multi award winning singer, songwriter, musician, producer, playwright, stage performer, film actor and visual artist. He has released multiple albums and has starred in the theatre productions of Hedwig & the Angry Itch and Rocky Horror Picture Show. He also appeared in Mad Max Fury Road and The Great Gatsby.

As probably the most unique artist in the line up this year, we had a quick Q&A to find out a little more about him and taking on Eurovision.

So entering Eurovision - Australia Decides, what was the process for you - had it be in your

mind for sometime or was it a quick a fast decision?

It was a pretty quick decision ... and Paul Clarke did a great job of selling the idea to me

You've been a rocker, theatre star, in big budget movies - and now Eurovision... Which of those is going to help you most for the contest?

I think all of the above will be helpful... it's all a performance... certainly the musician/theatre part of my work

How do you feel about being in something that is a competition - you've won a stack of awards but are you competitive or is it more about the performance and however it goes it goes?

I'm not at all competitive..   I could never understand the point of sport for example... although I am pretty hard on myself.. I expect a lot.. the performance will be fun though and that's what i'm really interested in... lights.. music.. costume.. make up.. the freedom... the transformation.. the joy of getting it right ..singing to an audience... and sharing that experience with other artists... 

You have New Zealand heritage and many Kiwis are trying to 'claim' you, what connections do you have to our friends across the ditch?

My Father is Maori.. we belong to the Nga Puhi tribe from the North island

We read that you threw out your TV set, is that still the case? 

Well I bought another tv but it's really been pissing me off lately so it could be over the balcony any day now.. 

How do you feel about something that is one of the most watched TV events in the world?

I guess I have respect for it... I wouldn't be involved if I didn't... it's been around for a long time... a lot of people love it

You're pretty new to the world of instagram, you've made some pretty interesting posts with songs dedicated to cutting up broccoli among other subjects, how are you finding the filtered world of insta?

I've been on insta a number of times before...I keep deleting it... it's just ok... it can be very time consuming.. and addictive.. obviously I don't like to take it too seriously.. I don't see the benefit of broadcasting my every move, but ... here we are... I'll probably delete it on the 9th of Feb  You've played some fantastic characters (and some of our all time favourites) - Hedwig, FrankN-Furter, the ringmaster and the rabbit in Smoke & Mirrors and of course the Doof Warrior in Mad Max Fury Road. Which character do you think would be best suited to the Eurovision stage?

Perhaps an amalgamation of all of the above

Part of your name change was about being openly gay back when we weren't close to the equality we have now. Last year's winner was bisexual and it almost didn't matter, how important do you think being visible is and how much of that is still part of your identity?

I think it depends on the individual and their current circumstances.. I grew up in a very small mining town in the country.. a dangerous place to be gay... when you first start to discover who you are it becomes very important to own it and let everyone know "Hey, here I am" ... certainly when I was younger that was the case.. changing my name legally was effectively drawing a line in the sand and saying "that was then, this is now... get used to it"... now it's less about wearing it emblazoned across my forehead and more about just knowing... and very calmly not giving a shit

Paul Clarke says your song and performance is 'dangerous' which sounds interesting... can you perhaps sum up your entry in three words?

Visual Delightful Theatrical

And final question, if you could only listen to three songs for the rest of time... what would they be?

That's an impossibly long time to listen to only three songs ... I'd rather eat a bowl of my own skin

Haha wow, what a way to finish! Thank you for your time iOTA!

You can follow iOTA on instagram @the.iota and check out his music on Spotify.

Eurovision - Australia Decides will take place at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on the following dates. 

  • Friday 7 February evening - Jury show

  • Saturday 8 February - Matinee (family show)

  • Saturday 8 February evening - Live show

The Saturday evening show will be broadcast live on SBS with the winner of the contest represent Australia at Eurovision in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in May. 


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