iOTA (born 7 May 1968 as Sean Hape in Pinjarra)[2][3] is a New Zealand-Australian singer-songwriter and actor. As a musician he has issued six studio albums and was nominated for Best Independent Release for The Hip Bone Connection (1999) at the ARIA Music Awards of 2000.[4] He has won four Helpmann Awards: Best Male Actor in a Musical in 2007 for Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2006 Australian cast) and Best Cabaret Performer, Best New Australian Work and Best Original Score for his work in Smoke and Mirrors in 2010.[5]

Personal life

iOTA has stated that his parents met in New Zealand;[6] his father is Māori and his mother English.[7] He grew up in Pinjarra, Western Australia,[7][8] where his father worked at an alumina refinery.[9]

At high school, iOTA took drama and music as electives, so he could "slack off for two hours";[8] he formed his first band, which was short-lived, at the age of 16.[8]

iOTA moved out of home at age 17, into a caravan and lived for several years on the dole, while playing with a hard rock band called Loose Goose.[8] He worked as a mechanic's apprentice before his career as an entertainer took off.[6][7]

Loose Goose moved to Sydney,[9] when iOTA was 23.[7][8]

iOTA changed his name by deed poll when he was 26. iOTA has cited three reasons for this: wanting to begin a new identity as an entertainer, being openly gay, and being a recovering alcoholic.[8][10][11][12]


iOTA's first album The Hip Bone Connection was released in 1999 and earned an ARIA nomination for Best Independent Release in 2000.[4] Following the release of the album, iOTA was labelled as an acoustic/blues/roots musician,[13] a label he does not like. His second, Big Grandfather, was considered less accessible, more atmospheric and was not as successful as his first. His third, La Caravana, "is about the nomadic life of a musician".[1] His fourth and most recent is Beauty Queen of the Sea and uses a full electric band, moving towards rock and away from his previous roots label.[13]

In November 2019 it was announced that iOTA would be a participant in Eurovision - Australia Decides; in an attempt to represent Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.[14] He competed with the song, "Life" and finished 9th.


As an actor, iOTA has performed on stage in Australia as an angel in Sydney Dance Company's Berlin, as Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and in the original productions Smoke & Mirrors[15] and B-Girl.[16]

His acting has won him Helpmann Awards for Best Male Actor in a Musical (for Hedwig and the Angry Inch) in 2007,[17] and Best Cabaret Performer (for Smoke & Mirrors) in 2011.[18] He also received Helpmann Awards for Best New Australian Work and Best Original Score for Smoke & Mirrors.

He appeared in George Miller's 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road (the fourth in the Mad Max series) as the Doof Warrior, a guitarist whose guitar is also a flamethrower.[19][20][21] He has said he learned to act by necessity: "In the country, poofters are there to be bashed, or ridiculed. So I put on a mask, and became tough and rowdy: the long hair, the slouching, the spitting, lots of drinking piss."[22] iOTA can be seen in Baz Luhrmann's 2013 film The Great Gatsby as Trimalcio the orchestra leader.

He is one of two singers for the character of Walter Walrus on the animated Netflix series Beat Bugs, along with Daniel Johns.[23]



Studio albums

List of studio albums
Title Details
The Hip Bone Connection
  • Released: 1999
  • Label: Mammal Records (002)
  • Format: CD
Big Grandfather
  • Released: 2001
  • Label: Black Yak (BYOA17)
  • Format: CD, DD
La Caravana
  • Released: 2003
  • Label: Black Yak (BYOA31)
  • Format: CD, DD
Beauty Queen of the Sea
  • Released: 2006
  • Label: Black Yak (BYOA34)
  • Format: CD, DD
  • Released: 2015
  • Label: iOTA (01)
  • Format: CD, DD, streaming
Wolf Number Nine
  • Released: March 2016
  • Label: iOTA (02)
  • Format: CD, DD, streaming

Live albums

List of live albums
Title Details
One of Life's Simple Pleasures
  • Released: 2002
  • Recorded: October 1996
  • Label: Black Yak Records (RR303)
  • Format: CD, DD


List of extended plays
Title Details
  • Released: 1998
  • Label: Mammal Records (001)
  • Format: CD
Little Carlos
  • Released: 2000
  • Label: Black Yak (BYOE15)
  • Format: CD, DD


List of singles as lead artist
Title Year Album
"Struttin' Rock Rooster" 2001 Big Grandfather
"Million Miles"
"Wooden Skeletons" 2002
"Scars" La Caravana
"Pigs" 2003
"I Want It Again" 2004 non-album single
"Handle on It" 2006 Beauty Queen of the Sea
"Come Back for Me"
"Life" 2020 Australia Decides

Cast albums

  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch - original Australian cast
  • Smoke & Mirrors - original cast


  1. ^ a b Moses, Alexa (29 August 2003). "One iOTA". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  2. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (20 May 2015). "Here's the Character Backstory for Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In Mad Max: Fury Road". The Playlist. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  3. ^ Vine, Richard (18 May 2015). "Mad Max: the story behind the flame-throwing, scene-stealing guitar guy". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b "ARIA Awards history: iOTA". Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Vaudeville triumphs among Helpmann accolades". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  6. ^ a b Valerie Lawson, 2007, '"Wear more make-up"', Sydney Morning Herald (October 6). (Access date: 5 April 2013.)
  7. ^ a b c d Annika Priest, 2008, "Frocker even more a shocker", Melbourne Leader (9 September) Archived 14 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine (access 2 April 2013).
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Rabbit redux". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  9. ^ a b Andrew Taylor, 2007, "Given An Inch, Debutant Takes A Yard", Sun Herald (28 January). Archived 11 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Archived by: (Access date: 5 April 2013.)
  10. ^ "iOTA And The Lizard Men @ The Annandale Hotel, 31/07/04". 2 August 2004. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Master of melancholy". 9 June 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  12. ^ "iOTA battles mental illness to bring B-Girl to the stage". 30 May 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  13. ^ a b Harrington, Stephanie (27 November 2006). "iOTA". Rave Magazine. Archived from the original on 11 February 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Mitch Tambo and iOTA next two artists for Eurovision Australia Decides". aussievision. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Smoke & Mirrors". Craig Ilott. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  16. ^ "B-Girl". Craig Ilott. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Helpmann Awards 2007 winners and nominees". Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  18. ^ "Helpmann Awards 2010 winners and nominees". Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  19. ^ Zalben, Alex (15 May 2015). "That Insane 'Mad Max' Flame-Throwing Guitar Is No CGI Trick — Here's How They Actually Made It". MTV. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  20. ^ Connelly, Brendon (13 August 2012). "Official Plot Blurb And Cast List For Mad Max: Fury Road". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  21. ^ "Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Full Cast & Crew". Internet Movie Database. Amazon. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  22. ^ Dow, Steve (3 September 2008). "Frock and horror". Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  23. ^ "Voice of Walter". Behind the Voice Actors. Retrieved 18 September 2018.