• iOTA is one of the Australia artists preparing to hit the stage for Eurovision: Australia Decides. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
"It’s not so much a competition as an exhibition," iOTA tells SBS Pride ahead of Eurovision: Australia Decides.
Samuel Leighton-Dore

20 Jan 2020 - 11:23 AM  UPDATED 5 Feb 2020 - 9:02 AM

For New Zealand-born Sean Hape, better known as iOTA, the opportunity to perform at Eurovision: Australia Decides is about far more than winning a place onstage in the Netherlands.

The singer, songwriter, stage performer and actor is far more interested in connecting - both with Australian audiences at home and his fellow musicians. It's for this reason that he's choosing to view the contest as "an exhibition of Australian musical talent" rather than a competition.

"I’m not coming at it competitively," he told SBS Pride. "Other than I’m going to make sure I do the best I can do. That’s all that really matters. Hopefully we’ll be able to connect with other artists."

If iOTA seems familiar, it might be because he's appeared in blockbuster movies including Mad Max: Fury Road  (he played the Doof Warrior) and The Great Gatsby (he played a character called Trimalcio). He's also carved out a career for himself on the stage, appearing in his own stage productions of Smoke & Mirrors, Hedwig & the Angry Inch and The Rocky Horror Show.

However, despite his vast experience, iOTA says the world of Eurovision is relatively new for him.

"I’ve known of it obviously," he told SBS Pride. "The main thing I know about it is that ABBA were discovered back in the 70s during Eurovision. I know Kate Miller-Heidke was in it last year, that there are big productions."

He added: "Some people take it really seriously, but I’ve never sat down and watched it. "

Written by emerging Australian songwriter Jesse Watts, iOTA's track for Eurovision: Australia Decides is called 'Life' and feels equal parts joyous club anthem and eccentric queer noughties dance track. The song's perfectly deranged music video sees iOTA film himself with an iPhone while wearing bold eye makeup and a pink onesie - his idea, iOTA said.

"I think it’s good to have a positive attitude," iOTA explained, saying he was drawn to his track's uplifting message.

"I like the verses melodically and enjoyed the lyrics, and i was just singing it to myself a lot. I also like the positive message. It grows really nicely"

International Eurovision die-hards seem to agree.

"Love it!" One viewer commented on YouTube. "This could be really good with staging! An explosion of colour and celebration of life. Can’t wait!"

Another wrote: "Left of field but ever so catchy and fun as all hell. This could do well."

"I think we’ve got a strong idea," iOTA told SBS Pride of his staging plan for the big night. "It’s been a collaborative process between myself and the producers."

But don't expect the seasoned performer to be sitting in on rehearsals and researching past Eurovision success stories. The 50-year-old insists that he doesn't want to compare himself to others.

"I’m not going to look at anything," he said.

"I think if I looked at other performances it might scare me a little bit. I can be pretty spooked. What I'm doing will be theatrical, it'll be energetic."

You can watch the music video for iOTA's 'Life' below:

Eurovision - Australia Decides will be broadcast live from the Gold Coast on SBS on Saturday, February 8. Follow the hashtags #Eurovision #AusDecides, Facebook: @SBSEurovision, Twitter: @SBSEurovision and Instagram: @sbs_australia. Voting lines open on Friday, February 7 at 8:30pm. Click here on how to vote.  Broadcast times across Australia:

NSW/VIC/TAS/ACT 8:30pm – 11:00pm AEDT

QLD 7:30pm – 10:00pm AEST

SA 8:00pm – 10:30pm ACDT

WA 5:30pm – 8:00pm AWST

NT 7:00pm – 9:30pm ACST

#Eurovision #AusDecides

Stay tuned to the SBS Eurovision website for updates: sbs.com.au/Eurovision


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