FORMER Western Cape College student Royston Sagigi-Baira is in the top 12 of Australian Idol after his range wowed judges in the opening month of the show.
However, he will now need the support of the Cape York and Torres Strait community – along with the rest of the nation – if he is to progress further.
Royston, who graduated from his Weipa school in 2016, said the support from the Cape had been enormous.
“My phone has been blowing up. I have had so much support,” he said from his hotel room in Sydney.
“Everyone is saying they are really supportive and proud of me.”
Although not every message has been positive.
“There have been some trolls here and there. A few people commenting on social media that I can’t sing or (racist) stuff,” Royston said.
“All of that is pretty new to me.”
However, the Mapoon boy says he has no time to dwell on the negatives as he vows to become a role model for the next generation.
“One of the main reasons I went on the show is for the kids to have that representation,” he told Cape York Weekly.
“We don’t get a lot of our own mob on TV and for kids in remote Indigenous areas, it’s good for them to see that.
“I remember seeing Jessica Mauboy on Australian Idol and she was so inspiring.
“That really lit a fire in me.”
Royston has been singing for as long as anyone can remember, but paid tribute to some former school teachers who helped him along the way.
“Mr Willis in grade five and Ms Berry in high school were really awesome,” he said.
“The principal of the res campus, Miss Amanda (Allender), was really crucial in helping me.
“She got me to apply for university.”
Western Cape College’s secondary principal Dan Tonon said the school was throwing its support behind Royston.
“I think anyone who was at the school when Royston was here can remember his voice,” he said.
“He was a regular performer at the school and we knew he was destined for great things.”
Royston said he was now bracing for the next challenge as Australian Idol moves to live shows with the top 12.
“I’ve never performed live on TV before but the good thing is they have been preparing us for the live shows,” he said.
“The voting now comes into the hands of the people, so I’m going to need everyone in the Cape to get behind me and vote.”
The winner of Australian Idol will receive $100,000 and a recording contract with Sony.