• Gamilaaray and Birri Gubba musician, Mitch Tambo (SBS)
Aboriginal musician, Mitch Tambo will sing for his place in 'Eurovision: Australia Decides' at the chance to represent Australia in Eurovision 2020 held in The Netherlands.
By
Emily Nicol

29 Jan 2020 - 3:26 PM  UPDATED 29 Jan 2020 - 3:26 PM

He was the Gamilaraay/Birri Gubba musician whose evocative cultural singing famously brought Pussycat Dolls' frontwoman, Nicole Sherzinger to tears on Australia's Got Talent, and has since become a household name.

Mitch Tambo is no stranger to putting his big break in the hands of a judging panel and this weekend, he will compete for a spot up the top once again.

The 29-year-old performer burst on to the national radar, seemingly out of nowhere, following his appearance on last year's Australia's Got Talent, with celebrity judges singer Nicole Scherzinger, chef and television presenter Manu Feildel and actor Shane Jacobson watching. 

As Tambo progressed through the competition, with a natural and confident presence on stage, he received standing ovations and two 'Golden Buzzers', showcasing his powerful vocals and original music, blended both with his own language and traditional sounds over contemporary beats.

During Scherzinger's tears following his debut audition on the show, she cried, "I don't know what just happened to me just now, when you said that 'this is a message of love and hope', I felt like it was a warrior cry up there. I thought he's so fearless and so brave, and I want to be like him." 

Months on, that performance has continued to touch many and marked a turning point for the performer.

"There has been an outpouring of love, from not only around the nation but overseas and my own community," Tambo tells NITV. "It’s absolutely been next level." 

Scherzinger told Tambo he was 'a true representative of Australia' and an inspiration. As a First Nations man who sings in the country's ancient Gamilaraay language of North-Western NSW, there's no denying he demonstrates the unique talent our nation has to offer. 

As such, Mitch Tambo will join the likes of Vanessa Amorossi, Casey Donovan, IOta and more, as they perform for the nation for their chance to represent Australia and compete in the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2020.

SBS' Eurovision: Australia Decides showcases talented Australian singer/songwriters to perform an original song which the country's public then votes for their favourite. The artist with the highest votes then goes on to this year's Eurovision host country, The Netherlands, to represent Australia in the major song contest.

Last year, Brisbane-raised, Sydney-based musician, Kate Miller-Heidke was placed ninth in Eurovision 2019 (held in Tel Aviv) with her pop-opera song, 'Zero Gravity'. 

Tambo's original song, Together, has just been released and says that he doesn't want to give too much away about what we can expect of his performance. However, the song itself has a clear message.

"In terms of the music industry, this opportunity is really the pinnacle — to step out on that stage, for me with my vision and purpose, it's where I feel I need to go and it exciting to carry our culture," he tells NITV. 

"My message is for everyone to celebrate identity. And for me to have that opportunity to reach more people and to get to celebrate identity and culture and  language is very exciting."

"For me to have that opportunity to reach more people and to get to celebrate identity and culture and  language is very exciting."

Not daunted by the competition, Tambo feels humbled to be included in the line-up.

"To be honest, I think it’s one of the strongest line ups this year, which is a great thing," he says. "The bar is high and I’m looking forward to it, but also just focusing on staying in my own lane."

Raised in Tamworth, Tambo, who now resides in Melbourne, says that growing up on Country and surrounded by strong cultural role models made him feel supported by his community in his efforts to perform. He began playing the yidaki (or 'digeridoo') at a young age and his ongoing interest in music and performance "just snowballed" in a very natural way. 

His mother, Roz Parker, a teacher with a background in musical theatre, continues to give ongoing encouragement to be proud of his identity, with his Aunty Bernadette Duncan helping him revive his language.  

With this support, Tambo has gone on to be a strong advocate for his culture through music, but works with vulnerable youth in foster care and the juvenile justice system to help connect them to land and language. His program, True Culture launched four years ago, aims to empower youth and provide 'positive Indigenous experiences' through mentoring and workshops. 

Having just landed a new record deal with Sony Music and anticipating the upcoming Eurovision Decides competition, the singer says that he is focusing on staying healthy amidst all of the responsibilities. While fans might get a sense of from the singer's presence is that he is strong and confident, Tambo says staying grounded something he works hard to maintain.

"I have a holistic approach to my life and I work hard to stay balanced and make sure I have a strong support system around me."

"I have a holistic approach to my life and I work hard to stay balanced and make sure I have a strong support system around me," he says. "We are all striving for health; be it fitness, emotional, mental and spiritual. The people around me are all trying to chase their own goals and we make sure to uplift each other and just get better. There's no magic formula really." 

But for the singer, being back on Country always brings that magic back for him.

"Being connected with my brothers and community and getting to be on Country — outside and under those stars — and be with mob always helps me reconnect and recharge."

 

SBS Eurovision: Australia Decides will be broadcast LIVE on SBS, SBS On Demand and simulcast on NITV. For all the latest on SBS Eurovision, including how to watch and broadcast times go to: sbs.com.au/eurovision