It’s one of the biggest, most nerve-wracking moments of anyone’s life. Add to that live TV and four of the world’s biggest recording artists and no wonder The Voice hopeful Nathan Brake’s heart was racing as he proposed to his boyfriend of six years, Mitchell Baines.
“I have been with Mitchell for six years, and three years ago I proposed for the first time,” Nathan tells WHO. “Obviously it wasn’t legal in Australia, and with the postal marriage survey and everything that happened there – it was a divisive campaign and it kind of took the shine off everything for us.So coming into the Blinds [Blind Auditions], the law had just changed, and I just wanted to take the opportunity to elevate our engagement; to feel more real, because now we can do it, and now we can work towards getting ready to marry with our family and friends.”
The proposal couldn’t have gone better. Not only did Nathan have the whole audience on their feet, but Kelly Rowland also jumped up, offering to sing her megahit “When Love Takes Over” at their eventual wedding.
Nathan, who was a contestant on Australian Idol back in 2009, aged just 18, says coming to terms with his sexuality wasn’t the easiest of journeys for him. “I grew up in Western Sydney and my primary schooling was tough,” he explains. “I was constantly bullied, called all the names in reference to sexuality — that was from the age of about seven. It wasn’t an easy road.”
Gaining notoriety through Idol at such a young age just made things trickier. “I found myself in a deep, deep state of denial in one stage of my life where I had convinced myself that a certain way of living was the only way,” he says. “[So] to step away from that was really hard because I’d presented myself on a national stage in that way, so that was a struggle for me to come to terms with after the fact. In actual terms, I had no idea who I was.”
It was a tough time for Nathan, but he made it through thanks to the support of family and friends. “That journey was probably the toughest period in my life, to fully remove myself from the persona and bells and whistles and really take a look at myself and who I am,” he says. “I am grateful for the fact that I am where I am today. Without those experiences I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Nathan also says he also owes a lot to the constant support of his partner, Mitchell, who accompanied him to the Blind Auditions. “He’s come to everything,” he says. “He just gives me endless love and support, I couldn’t be more grateful for him.”
The couple haven't set a date yet for their wedding. And for the time being, Nathan is focusing his attentions on getting through the next round of the contest with new mentor Delta Goodrem by his side.
So why, when Kelly and Joe Jonas were so ferociously vying to take him on,and after singing a Nick Jonas song, did Nathan choose to go with the Aussie singer? “I just had a connection with Delta from the start,” Nathan admits. “I worked with her briefly when she was a mentor on Idol back in the day, so we had a fleeting interaction there. But she said she was a true fan and that stuck with me during the last decade. And seeing how much she really cares – I couldn’t get past that.”
With reporting by Alana Wulff.