The X Factor Australia winner talks about songwriting, his favourite place in Australia, his dream car, and what music means to him
Hailing from Wollongong, New South Wales, it has been 15 whirlwind months after Cyrus Villanueva was crowned the winner of the seventh season of the X Factor Australia, which allowed him to connect and gain many fans around the globe and has provided him the opportunity to travel to different cities in Australia, including returning to his roots, the Philippines.
It has been a wild ride for Cyrus as he successfully released his debut album last year, celebrating the incredible journey that he has been on throughout the X Factor. “I think only quite recently that it’s fully sunk in… my whole journey. But of course, the passion is still there. I am motivated more than ever.”
VroomVroomVroom’s Jayson Paor chatted with the humble and talented 20-year-old singer to reflect and look back on his journey, discuss his album and songwriting style, and his life in the world of music!
Cyrus has ‘earned it’
Cyrus credits his musician father Jo Villanueva as his inspiration in pursuing music. Just fresh out of high school, Cyrus, who is a self-taught guitarist, only started singing a few months before his audition to X Factor but he struck a chord with the judges following his brilliant acoustic performance of The Weekend’s “Earned It”.
Throughout the competition, Cyrus has delivered some of the greatest performances of the season, including the song “Wicked Game” which reached the No. 1 spot on the iTunes singles chart and debuted at No. 6 on the ARIA Singles Chart.
“It was incredible! I’d say I grew so much as a person and as an artist, and it is an experience I will never forget,” the endearing
Asked to name some of his remarkable performances he had in the singing talent show, Cyrus obliged, smiling: “I think one of my favorite memories is the song “Dancing On My Own.” That was the song I sang at the boot camp. Another one was the song “Jealous”. I love piano ballad. That was in the grand finals that I sang that. I remember when Chris Isaak told me that was the song he chose for me, I was so happy. It was the most crucial time of the competition because I didn’t want to choose a terrible song. “Jealous” allowed me to kinda showcase what I love about performing — just the piano and just my voice. Also, the song “Stone” – the very first single I have ever released. It’s such a great song… to know that was the first song that I heard myself on the radio… that was a special moment.”
Written by TMS – Sean Douglas, Tom Barnes, Peter Kelleher, Ben Kohn and Bobby Andonov, the song “Stone” went gold. “It was a good debut for me. I got awarded with a big plaque. It says that the single and the album went gold. It’s on my parents’ wall at home, which is pretty special,” Cyrus beamed proudly.
Cyrus on songwriting
Cyrus reveals his favourite song
Cyrus also shares his favourite spot in Australia
…and what his favourite car is
Prior to Cyrus’ success, Marlisa Punzalan, another Filipino-Australian, bagged the titlemaking it a back-to-back victory. Cyrus has nothing but praise for Marlisa. Read our exclusive interview with Marlisa
“I’ve met Marlisa and I’ve worked with her. She’s such a talented girl. She definitely embraces her Filipino side. It’s something that she holds very close to her.”
He continued, “I remember since my first audition, the Filipino communities both in Australia and in the Philippines, (their) support was ridiculous. It was crazy. I didn’t expect it at all. But it was so good to have everyone on my side. Thank you to all my fans, wherever you are in the world. I love you!”
A writer, blogger, and editor for more than 10 years, Manila-based Jayson Paor has written for numerous publications and entertainment websites such as BANDS Magazine, mnl-online.com, and PEP.ph. When he is not writing, he works as a freelance publicist and social media correspondent, researching and tracking new artists and bands, setting up and conducting interviews for local and international print and website. His interests are varied and range from live concerts, gadgets, travel, photography, cars and tennis.