Casey Donovan (singer)

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Casey Donovan
Casey Donovan (33493146133).jpg
Casey Donovan at the musical premiere of The Bodyguard in Sydney Lyric on 27 April 2017.
Background information
Born (1988-05-13) 13 May 1988 (age 31)
OriginSydney, New South Wales, Australia[1]
GenresPop, rock, Folk
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, Actress, Author
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active2004–present
LabelsSony BMG (2004–2006)
Independent (2006–present)
Associated actsGuy Sebastian, Kate DeAraugo, Damien Leith, Natalie Gauci
WebsiteOfficial website

Casey Donovan (born 13 May 1988) is an Australian singer, songwriter, actress, theatre actress and author, best known for winning the second season of the singing competition show Australian Idol in 2004. She won the competition at age 16, becoming the series' youngest winner. In 2017, Casey won the third series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here.

Early life[edit]

Casey Donovan was born in Condell Park, New South Wales, of indigenous descent to a family that included several relatives with musical careers, including her father, who along with his brothers is a member of country band The Donovans. After her parents divorced, her mother and siblings moved in with stepfather Norm Axford. Growing up, Casey was always interested in singing and performing. Contact with the Donovan cousins fostered interest in both singing and playing guitar, which led to busking on the streets of Tamworth during the Country Music Festival when she was 10. Casey's musical interest was noticed at Bass Hill Public School and Georges Hall Primary but was not enough to have any public notice. It was not until attending Condell Park High that her talent became noticed and was supported especially by both her mother and stepfather.

Donovan on her ancestry
It's really hard. I'm half white, half Aboriginal. I'm proud to be white, and I'm proud to be Aboriginal. It's just there is a juggle there. There's lots of people who are on one side and I'm like what about my mum and her family?[2]


2004–2006: Australian Idol and For You[edit]

In 2004, Donovan transferred to the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney and auditioned for the second season of Australian Idol, singing Kasey Chambers' "A Millon Tears". During the series, Donovan won a Deadly Award for Most Promising New Talent in Music. In November, Donovan was announced the winner of Idol over favourite Anthony Callea. Her success was marred by a typographical mistake by Australian Idol sponsor Telstra, in a half page nationally run newspaper advertisement including what was assumed to be her website. The link was a memorial for the late American pornography actor of the same name.[3] Telstra apologised for the error.

Donovan released her debut single "Listen with Your Heart" on 29 November 2004 which debuted at number 1 and was certified 3x platinum. On 13 December 2004, Donovan released her debut album, For You which debuted at number 2 and was certified 2x platinum.

Australian Idol performances[edit]

Week Theme Song Artist Status
Audition N/A "A Millon Tears" Kasey Chambers Selected
Theatre Round
Day 1
N/A (a cappella) 6,8,12 Brian McKnight Advanced
Theatre Round
Day 2
Group Performance "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours"
with Em Rusciano, Liza Schulberg and Yasmine Dia
Stevie Wonder Advanced
Theatre Round
Day 3
Solo Performance "Exodus" Evanescence Advanced
Top 30 Semifinal Group #3 "Here's Where I Stand" (Touchdown) Tiffany Taylor Advanced
Top 12 Australian-Made Music "Symphony of Life" Tina Arena Safe
Top 11 Pop Music "Don't Speak" No Doubt Safe
Top 10 Songs of the Sixties "Somebody to Love" Jefferson Airplane Safe
Top 9 Disco Hits "Shake Your Groove Thing" Peaches & Herb Safe
Top 8 Idol's Choice "Special Ones" (Touchdown) George Safe
Top 7 Lennon–McCartney "Eleanor Rigby" The Beatles Safe
Top 6 Songs of the Eighties "The Flame" Cheap Trick Bottom 2
Top 5 Songs of R&B "Beautiful" (Touchdown) India.Arie Safe
Top 4 Music of Big Band "Why Don't You Do Right?"
"Come Fly with Me"
Peggy Lee
Frank Sinatra
Top 3 Songs of the Seventies "You're So Vain"(Touchdown)
"Misty Blue"
Carly Simon
Dorothy Moore
Finale Idol's Choice
Idol's Choice
Idol Winner's Single
"Take Me as I Am"
"Listen with Your Heart"
Vanessa Amorosi
(winner's single)

In February 2005, Donovan released "What's Going On" which peaked at number 18 on the ARIA Charts. At the Deadly Awards 2005, Donovan won Single Release of the Year for "Listen with Your Heart" and Artist of the Year. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2005, Donovan was nominated for Highest Selling Single, losing to Anthony Callea's "The Prayer". In 2006, Donovan was dropped from Sony BMG.[4]

2007–2016: Post-Idol career[edit]

In 2008, independently released the Extended Play Eye 2 Eye.

While starring in the successful concept show Women of Soul, Donovan was approached by Rhoda Roberts for the theatrical production of Miracle in Brisbane for the Brisbane Festival in October 2009.[5]

In 2010, Donovan was cast in the role of Cynthia in a musical stage production of The Sapphires which saw the show tour Australia throughout the first half of 2010. Donovan won praise from the critics for her role in the production, which was presented by Company B Belvoir and Black Swan State Theatre Company. Donovan went on to take home the Best Supporting Actress award at the 4th Daegu International Music Festival Awards while on tour with the production in South Korea in July 2010.

Donovan returned to music with the release of her single "Big, Beautiful & Sexy" written with songwriter Beau Golden, released in August 2010. "Big, Beautiful and Sexy" has also become an anthem for larger women. The song also saw Donovan's online Facebook support group Big, Beautiful & Sexy (which attracted nearly 2000 fans in its first weeks) grow to over 10000 fans. Donovan herself has lost over 20 kg and continued her support of larger men and women as they achieve their life goals. Donovan went on to release another single in November 2010 titled "Last Regret" which saw the continuation of support from fans and media, and also gained some commercial airplay.[6]

In December 2010, Donovan was nominated for two awards in the 2010 Sydney Theatre Awards for "Newcomer" and "Supporting Actress", continuing to receive praise and recognition from the industry for her work in The Sapphires.[7] Although she auditioned for a role in the 2011 movie version, Donovan was not cast.[8]

2011 saw Donovan reprise her role of Cynthia Macrae in another tour of the hit show The Sapphires. The tour ran during February in ACT and NSW, and was followed by two weeks in the UK in March.[9]

In August/September 2011, Donovan created the role of Mama Cass in the world premiere of new musical Flowerchildren – The Mamas & the Papas Story written by Peter Fitzpatrick and produced by Australian company Magnormos. She was joined by Matt Hetherington as John Phillips, Laura Fitzpatrick as Michelle Phillips, and Dan Humphris as Denny Doherty.[10]

In 2016, Dononvan played Killer Queen in We Will Rock You.

2017–present: I'm a Celebrity, TV advertisements and "Lonely"[edit]

In January 2017, Donovan was revealed as a celebrity contestant on the third season of the Australian version of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.[11] On 13 March 2017, Donovan won the series and was announced as the first ever Queen of the Jungle.[12][13] In April 2017, Donovan became the face of the Coles Supermarket "Down down" campaign.[14] On 23 April 2017, Donovan performed an acoustic version of David Bowie's "Heroes" at the 2017 Logie Awards in which she received a standing ovation.[15] In May 2017 the Coles, "Down Down" campaign was refreshed with Casey performing a disco version of the advertisement.[16] Donovan released her first single in 7 years, "Lonely" on 19 May 2017 and Off the Grid & Somewhere in Between EP in August 2017.

She performed on New Year's Eve 2017 in Sydney, singing Lady Marmalade, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Nutbush City Limits.

Personal life[edit]

Donovan lends her name and support to a number of charitable and non-profit organisations. Donovan is an Ambassador for APRA/AMCOS and an Advocate for the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. From 2004 Donovan was a victim of a six-year-long hoax telephone relationship with a persona named Campbell, constructed by a woman named Olga. [17]


Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart
For You 2

Extended plays[edit]

List of EPs, with selected details
Title Details
Eye 2 Eye
  • Released: 1 January 2008
  • Format: CD, digital download
  • Label: Casey Donovan
Off the Grid & Somewhere in Between[20]
  • Released: 25 August 2017
  • Format: CD, digital download
  • Label: Casey Donovan


List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing year released and album name
Year Title Peak chart
Certifications Album
2004 "Listen with Your Heart" 1
  • ARIA: 2× Platinum[21]
For You
2005 "What's Going On" 18
"Flow" 51
2010 "Big, Beautiful & Sexy" Non-album singles
"Last Regret"
2017 "Lonely" [A] Off the Grid & Somewhere in Between
"The Villain"[23]
— denotes releases that failed to chart.
  1. ^ "Lonely" did not enter the ARIA Singles Chart, but peaked at number 48 on the ARIA Digital Track Chart.[22]


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Australian Idol Contestant Winner
2017 I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Contestant Winner
2017 Coles Supermarket Ad Herself
2017 Have You Been Paying Attention? Guest Quiz Master
2017 All Star Family Feud Contestant Team Captain
2018 Hughesy, We Have a Problem Celebrity Problem
2018 Blind Date Contestant
2019 Show Me the Movie! Celebrity Guest
2019 Who Do You Think You Are? Guest
2019 Celebrity Name Game Herself 2 episodes


  1. ^ "Casey Donovan: Deadly Singer/Guitarist 16 years". Message Club. ABC. Archived from the original on 14 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Donovan". Dynasties. ABC. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  3. ^ "Porn apology over win". Sydney Morning Hearld. 22 November 2004. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Australian Idol winner Casey Donovan now a killer stage queen in We Will Rock You". Herald Sun. 5 August 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  5. ^
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Casey Donovan's omission from a film version of show The Sapphires". The Daily Telegraph. 30 July 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "flowerchildren". 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  11. ^ "Celebrities enter the jungle". 12 February 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Casey Donovan is the first woman to win I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!". 13 March 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Casey Donovan wins I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! 2017". TV Tonight. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Casey Donovan doesn't let the social media jungle get her down". Daily Telegraph. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Casey Donovan Logies". Mama Mia. 23 April 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Clun, Rachel (26 February 2014). "Casey Donovan: 'I spent six years in a fake relationship'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Discography Casey Donovan". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  19. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 100 Albums 2004" Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Off the Grid & Somewhere in Between". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  21. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 2004" Archived 13 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "ARIA Report issue 1422" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. 29 May 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  23. ^ "The Villain (single)". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 18 July 2017.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Guy Sebastian
Australian Idol

Season 2 (2004)
Succeeded by
Kate DeAraugo