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Like all great stories, Dami Im’s life sounds a lot like a fairy tale. There’s a certain amount of struggle, a determination to succeed and then the joys that success itself eventually brings. Selected as Australia’s entrant in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, Dami joins an elite list of Australian performers who have previously represented their country including Guy Sebastian and Jessica Mauboy.
In 2013, Australian TV audiences witnessed the astonishing transformation of Queenslander, Dami Im. As her X Factor mentor Dannii Minogue noted, “She looked like she stumbled on stage by accident”. From a shy awkward ingénue, Dami Im blossomed into a powerhouse vocal star, and first-rate performer on The X Factor 2013. The shy girl in the corner took centre-stage and brought the house down, deservedly winning the show convincingly.
“X Factor was a great training ground for me,” Dami reflects. “It gave me the skills as an artist to be able to navigate around the industry.”
Of South Korean descent, Dami moved to Australia with her family when she was nine years old. Whilst she calls herself a proud Australian/Korean these days, life in a new country struggling to find where she fitted in wasn’t always easy.
Travelling back and forth to Korea on short stints to pursue her career was a short-term fix; in truth Dami wanted a pop career back home in Australia. “I had some gigs in small bars, churches and jazz clubs, but very few, to be honest. I really didn’t know how to get my music out there, and I didn’t have any connections. With my personality, I shied away from things that I wasn’t sure about; I was afraid of meeting new people and putting myself out there, which of course didn’t help.”
After embracing her initial reticence, accepting an avant garde inspired approach that struck a chord on The X Factor, Dami released her debut single ‘Alive,’ which debuted at number one on the ARIA singles chart. “That was amazing! I was in the car on my way to a gig when I got the call about being number one … I might have gone a little crazy. Actually I was also in the car when I heard myself on the radio for the first time and again … I went a little crazy. I think there’s a theme developing!”
That sense of humility is always with her, but the music she brings is meant for the world. Buckle up Eurovision, Australia’s entrant for 2016, Dami Im, has arrived!
Dami Im performed ‘Sound Of Silence’ at the Eurovision Song Context in May, 2016 and placed Second.