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  • Writer's pictureKyriakos Tsinivits

'The Voice Australia' finalist Johnny Manuel talks Eurovision with Mitch Tambo on 'Tambo Talk'

Image taken from Johnny Manuel's latest single release 'Sober'

Last month 'The Voice Australia' 2020 finalist and Eurovision 2018 artist Johnny Manuel talked to 'Eurovision - Australia Decides 2020' artist Mitch Tambo on his online chat show 'Tambo Talk'.

'Tambo Talk' is an online show hosted by Mitch Tambo who interviews various artists and people connected with the music industry. In the recent season four of 'Tambo Talk' Mitch has interviewed Guy Sebastian's wife Jules and Eurovision royalty Dami Im, just to name a few.

As part of season four of 'Tambo Talk' Mitch also interviewed Johnny Manuel, where they discussed music, Eurovision and how Johnny made it to Australia, which he now calls home.

Mitch asked Johnny about how he ended up on 'America’s Got Talent' in 2017 and his journey onto 'The Voice Australia' in 2020. Johnny delved right in:

"I started really young, actually I was in LA. I lived in LA for years before moving here [to Australia]. A friend of mine used to throw, have you ever heard of that group All-4-One, they had that song ‘I Swear’? Ok well my friend Delious is in that group and he had a singers night in North Hollywood. He used to have it once a month and he invited me to come and sing, it was last minute and he’s like would you come and sing a George Michael song we are doing a tribute to George Michael. I love George Michael. I said of course. I showed up and I did it and a producer from America’s Got Talent ended up being in the audience that night and just sent a message. We had just met briefly in person. He just sent a message just saying hey would you come and audition and my first thought was no. I didn’t want to do television. I wasn’t interested in it and I decided to show up what’s the worst that can happen. Is that I don’t get through and they say no? You know, and I continue living my life."

"It was fine. But that’s not what happened. The video, my initial audition (shown above) went pretty viral. So I got a lot of attention from it, and from there a producer from Bulgaria wrote my management a message saying he wanted to produce songs with me and I said yes and we started working together over Zoom and long distance and he submitted the song for Eurovision which I had no idea he was doing and then it got accepted as the entry from Bulgaria in 2018. So I ended up going to Bulgaria and having to rehearse for three months for Eurovision and then going to Portugal with the group and did the whole thing it was absolutely incredible."

The group Johnny Manuel joined was Equinox who represented Bulgaria, they qualified for the Grand Final at Eurovision 2018 with the song 'Bones. Equinox gave Bulgaria their third qualification in a row. They finished in 14th place in the final.

In the interview Mitch joked with Johnny Manuel, "So you are Bulgarian now?". He followed up asking him how Eurovision went for Johnny:

"Yeah it was a lot of fun, I had a really good time. Eurovision is literally the biggest party on the planet and so it was in Lisbon in 2018 so we just got to hang out in Lisbon for a couple months and met a whole bunch of artists. The year I did it, Jess Mauboy did it. So I got to meet her back then and it was really great and then we found out we had a mutual friend so that same singers night that I did, it was a magical night apparently, I meet one of my closest friends his name is Hugh Sheridan and he’s Australian he’s an actor and performer here and he said, hey man I have this group it’s called the California Crooners Club and we are going to do the Adelaide Fringe Festival. And I had never heard of Adelaide, and this is 2016, I think, and I said ok yeah I’ll do it, because I thought he was joking. I had no idea who he was at the time and I thought he was just another person walking in LA saying I got this and that so. Then his management contacted me the next day and like literally the week later I was on a flight to Adelaide and I did the fringe and then I got along so well with the group that I started coming here over and over with them. And then I was hanging out in Coogee and I met my now partner. "

The Californian Crooners Club with Conner Boatman, Hugh Sheridan (best known for his TV role in Packed To The Rafters) in the centre and Johnny Manuel to the right in 2018.

"So I met my partner and then I was actually performing with the Crooners Club in Perth Prinnie Stevens was performing with us on that gig. And she’s like hey man I work for The Voice Australia, if you’re moving here you should audition I was like oh my god I don’t think I could do another television show and she’s like I know I really think it could be a good idea because what else you gonna do just hang out and I was like alright I will show up and audition and I was very glad that I did."

Johnny Manuel went on to garner a huge allegiance of fans during his time on The Voice Australia where he was coached by Australia's first Eurovision representative Guy Sebastian. Johnny made it to the final and finished as runner up with Chris Sebastian, Guy's brother, taking out 'The Voice Australia' 2020 crown.

You can check out the full interview of 'Tambo Talk' with Johnny Manuel on Mitch Tambo's Facebook page.

You can also check out Johnny Manuel's latest music release 'Sober' which was release on iTunes and all music streaming platforms on June 25 2021.


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