How does it feel to be back in the spotlight on The Voice? Are you feeling the pressure after your Australian Idol win?
It feels exciting, it feels a little bit scary. But I think I’m over that part now. I actually felt more pressure at the beginning but now, not so much because I’ve been getting messages on my social media and it’s really funny that people think I’ve already won the show since they know me as the winner of Australian Idol. So I think for me, whatever happens is fine because I’ve already done it and I’m not here to prove anything. I’m just here to have a good time and get my bounce back into the music world.
There’s been people who have been from shows like Idol or The X Factor before and then they’ve come on the show and haven’t turned any chairs … is that something you were nervous about?
Absolutely! That’s such a massive risk, yes.
What would you have done had that happened?
If they didn’t turn, I really would not want anyone to see that. So yeah, I’d probably just do everything in my power to not let that go out there.
Did you always know which coach you would choose if they turned their chair for you?
I had no idea. That bit for me was just a mystery. I think that was the most nerve-wracking part if I’m honest. I felt like with Guy Sebastian, it was a really good match because I felt like, I felt like I could relate to him and he could relate to me because of Idol. He actually said he thought I was really brave to be back and doing what I’m doing. He said there’s a lot of fans out there waiting to see what I’m going to be doing and to just go for it.
What did you do after winning Australian Idol?
During the show it was amazing. And afterwards, after a couple years actually, I had to go away and find my soul and myself again. There was a lot of deep stuff that was going on for me outside of my work and my music and it wasn’t until I got the big success that I did that I realised I had to go back into myself and feel a lot of things to actually receive the success that I had and look back and say I am actually proud of what I achieved.
As a child, I suffered from traumatic stress and things and I didn’t realise it affected me until after I won Australian Idol. That was one of the reasons I left Australia. I had to go away and actually work on myself.
It took me about seven years to really get the answers I was looking for. During that time I became a spiritual healer as well. I worked on music and making my own albums and freeing myself. Everything that I do post-Idol and everything I’ve done and the decisions I make now are all based on the healing that I’ve done. I know now that my success is my success and I know now that I deserve it and I know that I’m worthy of that. And that took me a long time to get to that point.
How did you get to that point?
I actually went to see a spiritual healer because I did counselling and that but I felt like that traditional method wasn’t really working and something inside me was saying go and see a spiritual healer so I had all these miracle experiences along the way on my travels and I then I got spiritual mentors and they helped me with neuro-linguistic programming and I became a practitioner in that and also the spiritual healing helped me a lot. Like meditation and visualisation.
It’s mentioned on The Voice you’ve gave birth three months before filming your Blind Audition. How has life changed for you since becoming a mum?
It’s changed a lot. I am a single mum. So for me, I make all the decisions so I make all the decisions and am just the mum and the dad at the moment and it’s been an amazing experience because I’ve just moved from Victoria to Queensland as well and so there’s a lot of changes at the moment.
But I feel like things just happen when they do and it’s been a really blessed year. Ever since I got pregnant with him I just felt like my life was a miracle every day. He’s a blessing for sure. His name is Jedidiah. It’s just grounded me. It slows everything down for me. I’m not as fast-paced as I used to be.
Along with the pressure of winning a reality show, your Idol season’s runner-up was Matt Corby who went on to great success. Was that an added pressure to see what he was doing, given you won the show against him?
Um, not really. I mean we both have our different journeys in life and paths and I guess it depends on how you look at success, you know?
Because for me, I won the show and to me that was a big success and the things I did afterwards just weren’t in the public eye. So I guess his journey is just destined to be different to mine so I never really compare that at all. I think he deserves all the success in the world as well.
What is the biggest difference between competing on The Voice and on Idol since you’ve been on both now?
Wow. Gosh, how honest do I need to be with you? That’s a really good question. Back in the day Australian Idol was innocent. The energy was fresh and it was about the music.
Now it’s doesn’t feel like it’s about that anymore. I feel like it’s much more about the propaganda and about the sales and the money and the commercialism – that’s the honest truth. It’s more business.
On the flip side, Idol could be a lot more brutal than The Voice when rejecting contestants, what was your experience of that part like?
Every week I packed my bags like I was leaving. I never took it for granted. Ever. When I was on Idol, I just felt like it wasn’t tainted at all. It was almost like a different world. I think they made it out to be more brutal because we had this whole Monday night show of “if you win or if you go home”. But the upside to that was there was this emotional connection that the contestants had with each other. It’s like we became a family.
And even though I hadn’t even seen Matt Corby again, I know that if I ever met him, we would have so much to talk about because we did so much on that show. And we lived together, we all lived together. We had a chef that cooked for us. It was one of the most professional experiences, I’ve ever, ever had. You just cannot compare. This to me is more like a gig, The Voice. You go in, you do your thing and you go home, whereas Idol was a huge family experience.
When you say you didn’t see Matt Corby again, why was that?
Well, I got signed to Sony and then Matt Corby decided to move into a different direction and go independent. So we toured together, we did a national tour and then we went our separate ways. And when we started our national tour, that’s when I got so busy that I didn’t know right from left. I was just so busy, I couldn’t even pop my feet on the ground. One day I will have a chat to Matt Corby about that…
There was a big controversy before the Idol finale when Matt publicly alluded to not being sure if he wanted to win because of the strict winner’s contracts and limited creative control. Was that something you were worried about at the time too?
Well, I wanted it. I wanted to get signed to Sony. So for me, I had a different dream to Matt and I think Matt always said to me, “You deserve to take it, it’s yours”. He knew that it wasn’t for him. So I think that it was destiny at that point.
I feel like if I had my time again, I probably would have stayed in Australia and stayed with my label and followed through with what I was guided to do at the time. Because of the fact that I didn’t have my feet on the ground, I didn’t really make the best decisions at that time. If I’m really honest, I really wanted it.
Do you keep in touch with any of the Idol people from back in the day?
Um, Dicko! [judge Ian Dickinson] Who else do I speak to? I speak to Mark Di Costa sometimes, and Benjamin McKenzie, I speak to him. And that’s about it, really.
What advice would you give to someone who wins a reality show like this? Do you have any tips from someone who’s been there?
I would say to get a really good psychologist. Someone who’s not attached to the show, someone who’s not attached to anything to do with it but understands the music industry and also to do work like mediation and stay off drugs. And just be healthy. Focus on your wellbeing and everything else just falls into place.
What is your plan if you win again?
I do have an album out that I’d love to work on with the team and that would be a really nice dream to do that. I would really like that album to come out, I’d like to work with them on it and release it. So I’ve done a lot of songwriting in the past, so songwriting is a big thing for me right now.