This story originally appeared in Stellar and was republished here with permission. 

Incredibly talented former X Factor Australia winner and 2016 Eurovision runner-up, Dami Im, sheds light on her frustration of ‘inappropriate’ baby questions, what she learnt in 2020, and why leaving a major record label was the best move for her.

Last year you belatedly addressed a tabloid magazine story from 2013 about your “baby plans” and said lockdown had given you the courage you wish you had back then to speak out. Stellar has a firm policy to not ask talent about their baby plans. What is your take on that line of questioning?

It’s such an inappropriate question. I was only 24, just getting started. I wasn’t this girl who was dreaming of having this perfect family. I felt like that’s how people saw me because I had a husband and I was this nice, smiling Asian chick. That frustrated me for a long time. I didn’t want to speak about it because I didn’t want the word “pregnancy” to follow me around. It took me seven years to say something about it. It’s important for me to acknowledge it so I can move past that frustration and anger I was stuck with. I got a lot of private messages from other women, some who don’t want babies and some who do but can’t who are constantly being asked when they’re having a baby. There was this understanding from women experiencing similar things. That felt really nice.

So you came out of 2020 feeling more authentic?

It’s making us all reflect on what’s important and ask really deep questions about who we are and what it means to be authentic, to make meaningful choices. It can be a difficult process and it rocks you emotionally and psychologically. Things that were buried deep down are being exposed. This is happening for me, but it’s been good. I’m learning more about myself and how I’m wired, how to think about my goals, how to approach my work and what kind of music I want to make.

Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.

It’s been almost five years since you came second at the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Sound Of Silence’. Have people stopped saying you were robbed?

No! When I introduce ‘Sound Of Silence’ [at a concert] people still shout out “You were robbed!” I appreciate they feel so invested in what happened. I understand it. We were so close to winning. There were political things going on there, but I accepted the result because you don’t want to be a sore loser.

It’s mixed emotions, but I’m grateful people still care. Eurovision is up in the air due to COVID. You’d put your hand up to represent Australia again in 2021 until the 2020 event was cancelled and last year’s local representative Montaigne (Jessica Alyssa Cerro) was green-lighted to perform in 2021 if it happens.

Last year you released ‘Paper Dragon’, which was going to be your Eurovision 2021 entry – where do you sit on Eurovision 2022?

I don’t have another song planned. I wouldn’t rule out going back to Eurovision at some point, but I just don’t know what next year is going to be like. And who knows when it can happen again properly?

You have a new single called ‘Lonely Cactus’. That’s a striking title.

I wrote it during COVID world. There were days where I felt lonely. I needed to make friends or see my friends. Other days I just wanted to be alone – everything was annoying me; I started to not answer phone calls. We made the lyrics into talking about another person because you don’t want to sound like an arsehole in your own song! But it is about me.

Last year was tough for musicians, but you were quite prolific.

I found it emotionally difficult because all our plans crashed. At the same time I was able to figure out how my new album should sound. Ever since leaving [my record label] it’s been a time of transition; going back to what I’ve always wanted to make. I had to do projects and cover albums that weren’t necessarily my ideas, and last year I had time to figure out what my ideas actually are now I have the freedom to do that. So in hindsight, 2020 gave me good space to explore and experiment.

It’s quite a brave move to leave a major record label. How are you feeling about that now?

I don’t want to piss anyone off, but I really needed to make music that fits me as an artist and a person. Being with a big label has its benefits, but it really limits you. You don’t get full control and if the vision isn’t aligned, you waste a lot of time. That was happening to me for a few years. I needed to leave that situation. I feel really creative now.

‘Lonely Cactus’ is out on Friday. Dami Im goes on tour from March 10. For more information, see damiim.com.

This story originally appeared in Stellar and was republished here with permission.

Source link