Of Sri Lankan heritage, Melbourne based Julian Simonsz, made waves with his show stopping blind audition on The Voice Australia 2014. After being dubbed “the next Justin Timberlake” (Daily Mail UK) he worked with Grammy winning Will.I.Am until the finals. It was during this time that Julian’s blind audition where he mentioned his upcoming wedding in Sri Lanka where it went viral and Sri Lankan’s all over the world fell in love with Julian’s voice and his story.
Since The Voice, Julian has performed at multiple events and venues in Melbourne including large sporting stadiums to crowds tens of thousands of people at Rugby and AFL games, headlined the coveted Australia Day Festival and performed for cricket legend Glenn McGrath at his prestigious high tea. In addition to this, his self titled EP having a place on the Australian iTunes chart, receiving air play and syncs nationally and completing a successful east coast tour; Julian has already achieved some undeniable feats that Sri Lankans all over the world are proud of. And proud they are indeed with giving him two hits on the Yes 101 FM Home Grown chart for which he was recently crowned Best Male at the coveted award ceremony where he did his first ever performance in Sri Lanka.
Tuesday November 3rd however marked a very special day in Julian’s musical journey – the press conference to officially announce his upcoming show on February 27th 2016. Held at the state of the art Aqua at Ozo Hotel Colombo who was announced as the official hospitality sponsor, the conference saw attendees from across print and social media in a packed event. The afternoon started with a brief clip of Julian’s time on The Voice and his achievements to date. This was then elaborated on by Manager (and wife) Nelu who also highlighted the role the Sri Lankan media and public played in Julian’s journey on The Voice “the television network’s publicity team to hold multiple meetings trying to decide how to react to this overwhelming media attention from overseas… So yes while Julian Simonsz, a Sri Lankan living in Australia made waves over here, please know that as a group, you all made waves in Australia too” She went on to thank the main organisers behind the February show – Showtown Entertainment, Ants Work and hospitality sponsor Ozo Hotel and those who helped put together the press conference itself before concluding remarks: “Thank you for being supportive form the start, for always honestly portraying Julian in a positive manner and for doing nothing but celebrating his talent and how he has made a mark for Sri Lanka in Australia and beyond.
This Julian Simonsz One Night Only show is our way of saying thank you to all of you and to all the fans who have given him faith in himself and his music. Please don’t ever underestimate the power of support and the positive word, together we can all move mountains. Thank you for showing us that”
Then taking the stage was Showtown representative Sabrina Sathgunasigamai who outlined Showtown’s prominent place in the entertainment management industry and their decision to take on this Julian Simonsz – One Night Only Project stating “we at Showtown believe in talent, in local talent, in growing this talent within our country and also internationally” She also acknowledged the equal involvement from a second event management company Ants Work who will be collaborating for the first time on the same project. On behalf of Saliya Weerasekara the director of Ants Work, compeer Joanna again highlighted how these two “giants in the industry will be coming together to bring the best of Sri Lankan talent”
Next Mr Alexander Glauser the Area General Manager of OZO Colombo expressed his pleasure in partnering in “something which is very fresh which is in line with what Julian represents” He went on to describe OZO as a “modern, young brand, with a young team, [who] empower people” and one which is very proud to be part of this adventure.
The man of the hour Julian Simonsz then took to the microphone starting by stating his excitement of announcing his show where he will be travelling with his band from Australia. “And ever since my Facebook account went from 3000 to 30000 likes thanks to all my Sri Lankan fans I knew I had to come here. And now I am proud to say this is going to be a reality” He then went on to deliver some heartfelt thanks again to Showtown Entertainment, Ants Work and OZO Hotels before he thanked his manager and wife Nelu: “Her efficiency and organisation that makes her a great doctor also makes her the perfect manager so thank you for making this happen” A special thank you to Bathiya and Santhush was also made for being more than mentors but also a friend “I have never had anyone in the music industry be so selfless with their time and effort and believe in me enough to take it this far. For that I am forever grateful” Before he concluded with his biggest thanks to all his fans. “Thank you for always supporting me and my endeavours every step of the way. Thank you for sharing your pride and encouragement and for coming on this journey with me” leading to his announcement of a meet and greet this Friday at 8pm at OZO On 14 which is what he is most excited about on this trip. He then gave the media the best possible treat with a short but sweet acoustic rendition of I Do It For You hitting all those notes leaving the room in awe after his last note lingered.
The great Bathiya Jayakody then took to the stage as a friend and the driving force between this vision “when one of our own go and does something out there, we should be the first ones to go and get them” He then went on to explain their vision of a united front “This should not be about one company, one brand. This should be about Sri Lankans coming together … Lets get everybody involved this time, get everybody to come, to come and make it a Sri Lankan affair” He praised not only Julian’s talent but that fact that “he is not afraid to say that he is Sri Lankan.. that’s what really got our attention as Bathiya and Santhush, this man was not afraid to say that he is Sri Lankan on that big show..so that made us really proud. And the rest is history!”
The final words of the event were spoken by esteemed fellow artist Natasha Ratnayake who congratulated Julian on his achievements saying that “he deserves all the support of Sri Lanka..he deserves to be on an international platform” She concluded by encouraging all artists to come together and to support home grown music.
And with that the afternoon came to a close. Light refreshments by the diligent OZO team, many cameras, interviews and hours of mingling later, the press conference proved to be not only a platform to announce this special One Night Only show, but one to congratulate this amazing voice for putting Sri Lanka on the mark, thank the Sri Lankan public and media for their backing, and a call for all Sri Lankans to support each other and grow together. There was a very special undercurrent of celebration of talent, appreciation of support and a staggering sense of unity that will make this show a unique and unmissable one.