Royston Sagigi-Baira

INTERVIEW: Australian Idol’s Royston Sagigi-Baira reveals where the $100k prize money is going

"I feel like it’s the first day of the rest of my life.”

Far North Queensland student Royston Sagigi-Baira was crowned the Australian Idol 2023 winner after an electrifying live Grand Finale on March 27.

Not only does he have bragging rights as the winner, but the 23-year-old also won a career-making contract with Sony Music and pocketed a cool $100k.

While the win was more important than a contract and money, the contestant will be putting the prize money to good use.

“I definitely want to be able to use most of it on the music and be able to try and push myself after the show and really make an imprint in the music industry in Australia,” he told Chattr after his epic achievement.

“I want to use it for that but also, I want it to go into communities and do workshops with the rural ones and the young people and I would love some of it to go into the community and do music workshops.”

Royston Australian idol
Phoebe Stewart and Royston Sagigi-Baira. Source: Seven.

After coming out victorious, the contestant said he just felt “grateful”.

“I feel so grateful. It feels almost like a dream I haven’t woken up from yet. I just feel like I haven’t soaked it in at all. It just feels so crazy. I feel like it’s the first day of the rest of my life.”

During the finale, Sagigi-Baira had the largest support team in the audience by far — complete with matching t-shirts and light-up signs. He also had a Zoomed-in audience from his hometown, filled with excited family and friends.

“It meant everything,” he said. “The love I felt and having them supporting me. It is always lovely to have your family and friends cheering you on. They all had signs and they were amazing. It just really meant everything.”

The singer may have beaten out runner-up 15-year-old Phoebe Stewart and second runner-up 20-year-old Josh Hannan, but he was overwhelmed by the prospect of becoming this year’s Idol.

“Unfortunately, it’s a competition,” he said. “But the thing about it is that the environment was so nice. Everyone was rooting for each other. Everyone was just really lovely. There were no divas in the group or anything like that. It was just awesome.”

Royston, Phoebe and Josh Hannan. Source: Seven.

Royston Sagigi-Baira‘s song choices were consistent throughout the competition

Australian Idol judges Harry Connick Jr, Meghan Trainor, Kyle Sandilands and Amy Shark celebrated Royston’s win, praising his time in the competition. 

“Your journey through the process has been one of the greatest I’ve seen. It’s been cool. It’s going to be fun to watch your career. I’m proud of you, man, really proud of you,” Connick said during the finale.

“You win at always picking the perfect song for you. You’re ready. You’re so…I can’t speak tonight. You are amazing. I love you,” Trainor added.

For Sagigi-Baira, his song choice was important to him and he was even able to sing I Won’t Let You Go by James Morrison during the March 5 episode — the song he sang at his mother’s funeral.

Royston Sagigi-Baira.
Royston Sagigi-Baira. Source: Seven.

His new single, Invincible, also has a special meaning, given that “it really followed my journey of trying to follow my dreams,” he admitted before adding that it also pointed out “the trials and tribulations that come with that.”

As for what’s next?

“Right now, that’s kind of the route I want to go. I want to sing songs that are empowering and inspiring and uplifting and, Invincible is one of those songs.”

“Sometime in the future, I definitely want to head over to America and work with industry people over there. I’m so excited. I can’t believe I get the opportunity to do that. This is such a dream and I’m just so grateful for Australia for believing in me. But for now, here I am. I’m the winner.”

Catch up on all episodes of Australian Idol on 7plus, now.

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