EXCLUSIVE: Jessica Mauboy talks love, life and new music

"This is a dream come true!"
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There’s something different about Jessica Mauboy when WHO catches up with her for a chat – and it’s not just her bright cherry cola hair that she’s chosen to usher in 2024 with. “I feel like a chameleon,” she laughs.

The gorgeous smile is still the same, as is her generosity of spirit that has endeared her to those in the music industry and to her legions of fans. But there’s a lightness and freedom to her as she talks about her current approach to life.

Watch Below: Jessica Mauboy speaks with TV WEEK on the 2022 TV WEEK Logie Awards Red Carpet

“I’ve become a lot more patient,” she tells WHO. “I’ve grown in having my own back and being kinder to myself. I’ve always had the love there – but there’s a difference between loving and loving yourself. I’m embracing life. And I’m proud of this life and I am happy.”

A big part of her happiness comes from the life she’s building with her husband Them Magripilis. The couple, who have been together since they were 18, tied the knot in July 2022. Mauboy says exchanging vows was a “fairytale” for her but hasn’t changed their relationship.

“I thought it was going to change but we are just the same people – we wake up, we go to work, we say ‘I love you’,” she shares. “It was beautiful for my family, I think they were longing to know if we were going to stick together and be together.

“My dream was for us to be together, but also for our families to get along and it is a dream literally come true. And for us, for Them and I to have shared that love and shared that love to them, that we would back each other, that we would love each other and take care of each other, that really made that solid for our parents and to feel proud. Our parents feel proud they’ve been able to instil that into us.”

Jessica Mauboy in a gold outfit
Yours Forever is Mauboy’s first album in four years (Credit: Peter Brew-Bevan)

But as Mauboy explains, creating her latest album Yours Forever has had a profound affect on her. Collaborating with the likes of producers Nick Littlemore, Toby Anagnostis and Styalz Fuego changed not only the way she works but the way she lives.

“I feel much braver in this record than any other record that I’ve done,” says the 34-year-old of the album, which is her first since 2019’s Hilda.

“It’s my most freeing. A lot of the things that I’ve said in the past don’t come close to what I’ve said here. My goal has completely changed which has also changed my way of writing. I didn’t know what this album was going to be, but when the songs came together, I’m just storytelling. I’m so proud of these songs.”

Jessica Mauboy sits on a stool
Mauboy says she feels “freer” than she has on any other album (Credit: Peter Brew-Bevan)

Among them is dance track ‘Flashback’, inspired by the time that she first met her now-husband. “[When we were writing it], it all came back – what I was wearing, where we were, in the back of the ute, having French fries under the big Northern Territory stars – all those things started to come back about when I first met Them and it was magical.

“I remember going really quiet when we finished the song and I said, ‘This is big.’ Not big in that it’s going to be Number One but that it was a big feeling,” she adds. “If someone listens to that, they’re going to be reminded of their first love, or the first time they met someone who made them feel that way or even reflecting on themselves. We just stood there giggling, feeling giddy.”

She has also penned a tribute song to the late Whitney Houston, who inspired a young Mauboy and the woman behind her 2006 Australian Idol audition song, ‘I Have Nothing’. Mauboy was runner-up that year.

“I never dreamed of doing something like that,” she says. “I wrote a story about a young girl who loved to mimic and parrot Whitney Houston and hoping that one day, she would see me. It was one of those things where I wanted to tell a little bit of truth.”

Yours Forever album cover
Yours Forever is out now (Credit: Warner Music)

What hasn’t changed, and never will, is her enthusiasm for singing, telling stories through her music and performing for her fans.

“This record is what I’ve been longing for. My love and my passion for how I sing is still as electrifying now as it was when I first started,” she smiles. “It’s such a crazy feeling but it really keeps me youthful, young in my heart and fills me with such joy and wonder.”

Buy Yours Forever or stream it, here.

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