How was it working with Nicole Scherzinger on AGT?
I’d heard so many stories about Nicole and how she’s kind of stern, straight up, and that she may not like me or she may like me. So I was going in cold. I didn’t know what to expect and I think that was the best way because, oh my gosh, she was the coolest chick. Sitting right beside her, she’s just so strong. She’s such a classy woman. She was giving me advice the whole time because I hadn’t seen any of the contestants. She helped me so much throughout.
Olina obviously resonated with you. Why is that?
Olina’s incredible already. She’s a songstress, she’s really straight up. Her background and her story is so deep that when you hear it – and what her family has done to protect [her] but also allow her to experience those emotions – it’s absolutely phenomenal. She’s a teenager and already manifesting so much. There were no opportunities for a 15-year-old at my time to perform on a big stage in front of millions of people. But you understand how to connect with music and that’s by telling the truth, the story and being able to share that with music. You have to be best friends with music because music is going to elevate your story. The beat and the rhythm are going to dictate how you’re going to tell your story.
Do you see any similarities between the two of you?
I understand – she’s come from where I’m coming from in terms of experiencing heartache and wanting the best. I had little end goals and a mission to be the best I could, but also to share love and kindness. Through love and kindness, you can still be strong. You can still be a boss.
Speaking of bosses, did you get along with Ricki-Lee?
Yes! Her strength is admirable. Ricki-Lee just does what she wants to do and I love that about her. She’s not about the greatest hits. She said she tried to break [into]America and says ‘It wasn’t for me’. I think that’s experience, but also someone who just knows herself. She is so aware of what she wants and what she doesn’t want and she’s OK with that. I love that role-model style. I look up to that.
It’s so great to hear your love and support for other women in the industry!
There needs to be more of that. Early on in my career, there was such competition and women were meant to feel scared of each other and we were meant to feel threatened by each other. Perception is such a dangerous thing. When I was in Young Divas people kept wanting us to fight, but Paulini, Kate DeAraugo and Emily Williams, they were all so nurturing. I’m just glad I stuck to the right people in the industry.
Mauboy’s latest album Hilda will be released in October.