Picture: Robert Duncan/The West Australian

He was a finalist on the seventh season of American Idol, has played tennis with some of the world's leading champions and recently sang for Richard Branson on his private island, but Michael Johns is still a Perth boy at heart.

The WA born and bred singer moved to the US 15 years ago on a tennis scholarship but only hit the big time in 2008 when his wife, interior designer Stacey Vuduris, encouraged Johns to audition for Idol where he eventually finished in eighth place.

Since then the 34-year-old has shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen and Lionel Richie, taken part in celebrity tennis matches with Gavin Rossdale and the Bryan brothers and is set to record a track with French producer David Guetta.

However returning back to his hometown for the first time in two years, Johns tells AAA Weekend he instantly felt 15 again.

"I came from a really good school group," the former Newman College student says.

"We are all still friends which is really cool. They all have little kiddies now, houses and marriage. It's a different tone."

Even in Los Angeles, where Johns now lives, he spends much of his time with fellow Australians, especially when the AFL grand final rolls around and around 200 well-known expats gather together to watch the sport.

The singer says the feeling of camaraderie among Australians in the US stems from fellow Perth actor Heath Ledger, who was an integral part of the group before his passing in 2008.

"Everyone misses him like you wouldn't believe," Johns says.

"He used to let struggling actors come and sleep on his couch, he was just that dude and it has carried on. The new community of Aussies who come through LA take on that spirit and we all support each other."

Johns' goal for the New Year also involves another iconic Australian, former INXS singer Michael Hutchence, whose life will be re-enacted in an upcoming movie.

"I would love to play that role, it's on the bucket list," Johns says.

"Will I get it? Who knows, but I definitely want to try."

The West Australian

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