Australia’s participating broadcaster SBS has revealed two more artists who will compete in their national final—Eurovision – Australia Decides—next year, one of whom draws inspiration from his Aotearoa New Zealand heritage.
iOTA is an Australian performer who has released six critically-acclaimed studio albums and received several nominations for his work in the studio and on the stage. His stage career highlights include performances in Smoke & Mirrors, Hedwig & the Angry Inch and The Rocky Horror Show. iOTA has also appeared in films, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Great Gatsby.
Born to a Māori mother in Perth, iOTA’s parents met in New Zealand before emigrating to Australia. iOTA credits his exposure to te ao Māori (the Māori world) as spurring his passion for creativity and performance:
“My mother used to take piano lessons as a kid but she doesn’t play now. My voice has come from Dad. He played guitar. Every Māori and his dog plays a guitar.
“As a kid” – from age eight to 11 – “we were part of a Māori cultural club [in Perth]. We put on hangis [the traditional Māori way of cooking] in all the get-up, a little bit of the face stuff and the girls with pois. I loved that. I used to love singing and being in front of people.”
iOTA’s unique and extraordinary talents have been recognised with an ARIA Award nomination for Best Album and four Helpmann Awards, as well as Green Room and Sydney Theatre Critics’ Awards.
“We have a brilliant song and stage moment in mind with [iOTA], which I can promise will deliver plenty of drama, along with more than a touch of mischief and danger,” said Paul Clarke, Creative Director of Eurovision – Australia Decides.
In a statement, iOTA commented on his upcoming foray into the world of Eurovision.
“I’m not your typical music competition kind of guy, but I am attracted to the Eurovision Song Contest for the colour and movement, music and performance, light and shade, creativity and self-expression, singing and working an audience.”
Eurovision – Australia Decideswill be presented at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 February 2020. The national final is hosted by comedian Joel Creasey and music buff Myf Warhurst. The winner will be revealed during the Live TV Final, broadcast live and exclusively on SBS and online on Saturday 8 February.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 will take place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands from 12 – 16 May and is produced by Host Broadcasters AVROTROS/NOS/NPO.