'I don't do this to be different': The Voice star Seann Miley Moore on why authenticity is key

Seann Miley Moore left Australia for the UK because he was told he was "too gay" to be mainstream. Coming home, he's reconnected with the Filipino women in his life who taught him that "too gay" really means "fierce, fabulous and free".

seann miley moore, the voice

Seann Miley Moore of The Voice Australia Source: David Rubio

Highlights
  • The "fierce, fabulous and free" Filipinas in Seann's life have taught him to be comfortable in his own skin.
  • Seann lives for the stage, sharing that theatre brought him out of his shell.
  • He is currently appearing in The Voice Australia under the mentorship of Australian music icon, Jessica Mauboy.
"I don't stand here like 'I want to be different', 'I want to be unique', or 'I want to wear all this to be seen and heard.' It comes down to authenticity and happiness. Doing all these things make me happy. They make me feel alive. That's what matters."

Seann Miley Moore, The Voice Australia
"Doing all these things make me happy. They make me feel alive. That's what matters." Source: Seann Miley Moore


What matters most to Seann now is to live his truth on and off the stage, in the company of those who have been cheering him on throughout his journey.

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All the world's a stage

After being born and raised in Indonesia, Seann and his family moved to Thailand and eventually to Australia in 2003.

"Seann's dad Peter is British and we have been travelling around Asia because of his job," Seann's mum Mimi shares, adding, "But we decided to settle down and put our flag in Australia".

While Seann admits his family's lifestyle was quite nomadic, he was never confused as to the place he would call home.

seann miley moore, the voice
The Moore family Source: Mimi Moore


"My home is where my music is. My heart is where my music is and the stage is where I am."

Where he is, is on the stage and who Seann is, is a singer.

"I remember singing 'Tears in Heaven' by Eric Clapton, which was the first time I sang in front of people. They were like, 'Wow you can actually sing,'" he shares, adding, "I think from that point, it started my journey".

And of course, along his journey, there were those Filipino karaoke parties.

seann miley moore, the voice
"He grew up surrounded by Filipino titas doing karaoke all the time. He loved the atmosphere." Source: Mimi Moore


"He grew up surrounded by Filipino titas [aunts not necessarily by blood; also used to refer to female friends of parents] doing karaoke all the time. He loved the atmosphere," Mimi recalls.

Seann agrees, "Growing up, we would have these parties that I would go to with these fabulous, fierce, free women - my crazy Filipino titas - with the karaoke mic, causing a loud raucous and wearing their fabulous clothes! I got my energy from them".

"I remember I always loved doing Mariah Carey's 'Hero' and my mum loved to sing 'Wind Beneath My Wings," he laughs.

Seann Miley Moore, The Voice Australia
Seann and mum, Mimi Source: Mimi Moore


Into his own

The closeness of Seann and Mimi is apparent, with mum sharing that she always knew that her child was special.

"Even when he was a little boy, there were obvious signs that he was gay. His coming out wasn't difficult because he felt the support of his family and all his titas.

seann miley moore, the voice
"Even when he was a little boy, there were obvious signs that he was gay. His coming out wasn't difficult." Source: Seann Miley Moore


"My daughter was the first to confirm that Seann was gay. That made me realise he was ready to tell me. We went out for drinks," she shares.

Seann laughs, "Lots of drinks".

"He casually told me. I said we can finally go shopping," Mimi jokes.

"I was happy that he told us. Our acceptance fully showed him he had no reason to be embarrassed. We respected his identity."

seann miley moore, the voice
With his sister Tanja, another fiercely supportive Filipina in Seann's life Source: Seann Miley Moore


For Seann, identity means doing away with labels.

"You can call me 'he'. You can call me 'she'. You can call me 'they'. As long as you call me, okay?" he laughs.

"With the generations coming out now, there shouldn't be an issue of coming out [anymore]. We need to normalise sexuality and everyone being who they are."

For Seann, fully becoming himself occurred when he got involved with theatre.

seann miley moore, the voice
Seann became more comfortable in his skin because of theatre. Source: Seann Miley Moore


"Theatre and the arts world community allowed me to come out of my shell, especially as a proud, queer gay man.

"I studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) where the amazing Hugh Jackman is one of the alumni. It had a very glee club atmosphere. From then on, I got to perform in 'King and I' at Opera Australia and also 'Sweet Charity', which won three Helpmann awards.

"This year, I got to play Angel in 'Rent', this queer character in the show who's so fabulous and so out there."

seann miley moore, the voice
"This year, I got to play Angel in Rent the musical, this queer character in the show who's so fabulous and so out there." Source: http://danielboud.com


This wasn't Seann's first encounter with the character's "fabulosity and ferocity" though, as he admits that Angel had become a beacon for him to start living his life more authentically.

"I played Angel as well before I went to theatre school and before I came out. I remember my Tita Jenny let me borrow her high heels and dresses for my role. She, along with my other titas, helped me be comfortable with who I was and allowed me to dress up and play."

Homecoming

With his own dresses and high heels, Seann took on the UK a few years back; because while he did have the support of his family and titas, he admits to going through difficulties with everyone else who didn't understand who he was.

"Growing up in Australia was hard. I always felt very different, with a lot of people saying 'Don't wear that because you won't be booked' or 'Don't wear that - it's too gay.'



"Going to the UK and joining The X Factor was my butterfly moment. I was wearing my heels and my earrings and I was like, 'This is me. I'm going to go out on stage, sing my heart out and wear what I want.' I had a fire in my belly to prove [the naysayers] wrong and I did. I was right. I was right all along."

The confidence he exuded onstage reached people in his queer and Filipino communities. Seann was no longer just comfortable in his own skin - he revelled in it.

"Now coming back to Australia, I come back proud. I'm not afraid anymore. It's full circle."

And full circle it was as he is now part of The Voice Australia, wherein former The X Factor UK judge Rita Ora is now a mentor.



"I met Rita in London and part of my home is in the UK and now I'm reconnecting with my roots here. I was sort of battling with two worlds, but I'm so used to living in the now and I got to go with my soul sister Jessica Mauboy because she represents what Australia is about."

It had been a year since lockdown at the time of the auditions and Seann admits being back onstage was nerve-wracking.

"The stage was new. My parents were there. The song was a big one. So many big things thrown at that I didn't even realise that all four judges had turned," he laughs.

seann miley moore, the voice
"During this moment, it's all about both my queer and Filipino communities because these are me. Both communities are who I am." Source: Seann Miley Moore


"Now being back in Australia and finding my roots again...I wanted to bring everyone along for the ride. During this moment, it's all about my queer and Filipino communities because these are me. Both communities are who I am."

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6 min read
Published 28 August 2021 at 8:56pm
By Nikki Alfonso-Gregorio