Long-haired rocker Altiyan Childs became the unlikely winner of the second series of The X Factor Australia despite some rather bizarre off-field behavior that earned him the nickname of "Caveman." Born Altiyan Juric in Mount Isa, Queensland to a Serbian mother and Croatian father, he later moved to Sydney where, inspired by the likes of Prince and Van Morrison, he formed his first band, Over the Top, at age 13. After graduating from high school, he achieved minor success with pop/rock outfit Masonia, scoring a Top 50 single with "Simple" before they disbanded in 2008.
Abandoning his rock star ambitions, he became a forklift truck driver for several years until his father persuaded him to give his music career one last push and apply for the 2010 series of The X Factor Australia. Despite regularly forgetting his lyrics in the audition stages, he made it through to the live finals where he was mentored by Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating in the over-25s category. After earning rave reviews for his performances of tracks by Train, U2, and Bon Jovi, he caused concern when he disappeared from rehearsals in order to "reconnect with beautiful sadness" at a cave on the Sydney Northern Beaches. But Childs continued to impress the judges and TV audiences alike, never appearing in the bottom two, and eventually triumphing over runner-up Sally Chatfield in the final to be crowned the series' first winner since 2005's vocal group, Random.
After signing to Sony Music Australia, he released his debut single, the original composition "Somewhere in the World," and his self-titled album, featuring ten of the songs he performed on the show, both of which made the ARIA Top Ten. In 2011, he courted controversy when he announced he wanted to marry his then 19-year-old girlfriend whom he had met on Facebook just two months previously. Also around that time, Childs found himself at the center of a drug scandal when police arrested his manager over a chemical lab and illegal weapons discovered at the manager's suburban home where Childs had been living prior to the bust. In 2012, Childs parted ways with Sony Music Australia, signing first with Oxygen Music Group and later Vibe Management. However, by 2013 Childs was once again an independent artist when he released the single "Dreams." Two more singles, "Girl" and "Celebrity," followed in 2014. In 2015, Childs delivered his second full-length album, Born Before the Sun, on 9Love Records. ~ Jon O'Brien
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