Eurovision 2017: Isaiah Firebrace s dad on his son s journey from country NSW to international fame
By James Hancock Updated Sun 14 May 2017, 10:54 AM AEST
Wayne Firebrace said Eurovision was just the start for his son Isaiah.
ABC News: James Hancock
About 14,000 kilometres from Kiev, in country New South Wales, Isaiah Firebrace’s father huddled around the television with close family and friends to nervously watch the early morning broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The walls of his family home in the small Murray River town of Moama were covered with pictures and posters of the 17-year-old Indigenous teenager, along with press clippings and local talent awards.
Australia’s third Eurovision competitor has 12 brothers and sisters, but he was raised from a young age by his father after his parents separated.
Photo Wayne’s pride for his son is evident just by looking at the family fridge.
Wayne Firebrace said his son started singing at church when he was three, although the neighbours did not always appreciate his natural talent.
“Had them banging on the door – ‘tell him to turn it down’ – now they love him,” he said.
“Even at the age of three he had them crying in church, as well, even had tears from my eyes.”
The teenager won several local talent competitions before his singing career really took off after winning TV talent search X Factor.
Video 3:02 Australia s Isaiah Firebrace finished in ninth place in the competition.
‘He’s got the voice of an angel’
Mr Firebrace is still trying to comprehend his son’s sudden international fame, in a competition watched by hundreds of millions of people.
“He’s gonna win it for Australia, for Aboriginal people as well, he’s gonna win it,” he said before the results were announced.
“[He was] real deadly, real good. He improved from last performance, very, very professional.”
Photo Isaiah Firebrace got his start singing at church in Moama.
Despite his father’s confidence earlier in the morning, final vote counting saw Isaiah Firebrace finish ninth.
Portugal’s Salvador Sobral won the competition with his performance of a jazz-style ballad written by his sister Luisa.
“Pretty saddened because I had so much faith in him to win it,” he said.
“But also pleasing to come number 10 in the world is just a great and marvellous blessing.”
It was the first time the teenager had travelled to Europe and his recent international fame has allowed him access to music stars including Adam Lambert and Keith Urban.
His proud father back home in Moama believes Eurovision is just the start of a long singing career for his son.
“People just loved him, it’s just his voice, he’s got the voice of an angel and it touches people’s lives.”
Posted Sun 14 May 2017, 10:37 AM AEST