Dami Im

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Dami Im
ESC2016 - Australia Meet & Greet 31 (crop).jpg
Im in 2016
Background information
Born (1988-10-17) 17 October 1988 (age 28)
Seoul, South Korea[1][2]
Origin Daisy Hill, Queensland
Genres Pop, gospel[3]
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, piano, violin, flute
Years active 2013–present
Labels Sony
Website damiim.com

Dami Im (Hangul임다미; RRIm Dami, IPA: [im‿da.mi], English: /ˌdɑːm ˈɪm/ DAH-mee IM; born 17 October 1988) is a Korean-born Australian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist performing artist. Im is known for achieving the highest ever Eurovision score for Australia.

Im emigrated to Australia from South Korea with her family at the age of nine. She won the fifth season of The X Factor Australia and subsequently received a recording contract with Sony Music Australia.

After winning The X Factor, Im released her debut and winner's single "Alive", which debuted at number one on the ARIA Singles Chart. This was followed by the release of her self-titled second studio album, which debuted at number one the ARIA Albums Chart and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association. Im became the first X Factor Australia contestant to follow up a number one single with a number one album on the ARIA Charts. Im's third studio album, Heart Beats, was released in 2014 and became her second top-ten album. It produced the top-twenty hits "Super Love" and "Gladiator".

Im represented Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 held in Stockholm, Sweden, with the song "Sound of Silence", where she won the jury vote and placed fourth in the televote, coming second overall with a total of 511 points.

Early life[edit]

Dami Im was born in Seoul on 17 October 1988 to Lee Hae-yun, a trained opera singer, and Im Dong-eal.[4] She is the elder of two children.[4] Im began learning the piano at the age of five,[4] and she taught herself to sing by recording herself copying her favourite artists.[5] Aged nine, Im emigrated to Australia with her mother and younger brother Kenny because their parents thought they would have more opportunity growing up in Australia.[4][6][7] They stayed with their uncle in Brisbane,[4] while her father stayed in South Korea to earn money to support them.[5][7] Im's parents now live together, spending part of the year in Australia and part in South Korea.[7]

Aged 11, Im began studying at the Young Conservatorium of Music program at Griffith University.[8] She was a national finalist in the Yamaha Youth Piano Competition, and won the Nora Baird Scholarship and the Queensland Piano Competition several times.[8] Im attended John Paul College in Daisy Hill, Queensland and graduated in 2005.[9] She never sang while at school and would only accompany the choir on piano, and play violin for the school's Silver Strings group.[10] In 2009, Im graduated from the University of Queensland with first class honours in a Bachelor of Music.[11] She subsequently completed a Masters of Arts degree in contemporary voice at Griffith University.[12] At Griffith University, Im was trained by Dr. Irene Bartlett,[13] lecturer and voice coach who also trained a number of other well-known Australian vocalists such as Katie Noonan, Megan Washington, Kristin Berardi,[14] and Elly Hoyt.[15][16] Prior to entering The X Factor, Im was a music and piano teacher.[17]

Career[edit]

2010–12: Early career[edit]

Im had a short career as a gospel singer in Korea,[5] performing at Christian youth camps.[12] In 2010, she released her debut studio album, Dream, which consisted of nine tracks and was recorded to raise money for church endeavours.[18] In July 2011, Im re-released the album with two extra tracks, which were both sung in English.[19] On 5 December 2011, Im released a Christmas extended play called Snow & Carol, which consisted of seven tracks.[20][21] On 9 July 2012, Im released her second extended play, Intimacy, which consisted of five tracks.[22]

2013: The X Factor Australia[edit]

In 2013, Im successfully auditioned for the fifth season of The X Factor Australia, singing "Hero" by Mariah Carey.[6][23] She progressed to the super bootcamp round of the competition and was placed in the Under 25 Girls category.[6][24] On the first day of bootcamp, Im sang "I'm with You" by Avril Lavigne in front of her entire category and judges Redfoo, Ronan Keating and Dannii Minogue.[6][24] On the second day of bootcamp, she was put into an ensemble of 10 and they sang "Next to Me" by Emeli Sandé in front of the judges.[24] Im made it to the third day of bootcamp, where she sang "Jolene" by Dolly Parton to the judges and a live audience of one thousand.[25] After the judges made changes to the Boys, Girls and Overs categories, Im became part of the newly formed Over 24s category and was eliminated.[26] However, Im was called back for the home visits round in New York City to replace Matt Gresham who decided he could not commit to the competition.[27] During home visits, she sang "If I Were a Boy" by Beyoncé in front of her mentor Minogue and guest mentor Kylie Minogue.[27] Minogue later selected Im, along with Barry Southgate and Cat Vas, for the live finals—a series of ten weekly live shows in which contestants are progressively eliminated by public vote.[28]

For the Judges' Choice-themed first live show, Im sang "One" by U2 and received a standing ovation from the judges, with Natalie Bassingthwaighte saying she had "the best vocal of the night".[29] Im's performance of "One" peaked at number 42 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[30] For the Legends-themed second live show, she sang "Purple Rain" by Prince and received another standing ovation.[31] Keating told Im that the competition "at the moment, is yours".[31] Her performance of "Purple Rain" debuted at number 29 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[30] For the Top 10 Hits-themed third live show, Im sang Thelma Houston's version of "Don't Leave Me This Way",[32] and her performance of the song debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number 67.[33] Following the eliminations of Vas in week two and Southgate in week three, Im became the last remaining contestant in Minogue's category. After her performance of Katy Perry's "Roar" in the Latest and Greatest-themed fourth live show, Im received her fourth consecutive standing ovation from the judges.[34] Im's performance of "Roar" debuted at number 44 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[30] For the Rock-themed fifth live show, she sang "Best of You" by the Foo Fighters and received her fifth standing ovation.[35] Im's performance of "Best of You" debuted at number 78 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[36]

Following Im's performance of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water" during the Family Heroes-themed sixth live show, her mentor Minogue notably teared up as she dedicated Im's song choice to her parents and grandfather, following the death of her grandmother.[37] Im's performance of "Bridge over Troubled Water" debuted at number 15 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[30] For the Judges' Challenge-themed seventh live show, Im sang Zedd's "Clarity", which was chosen by Keating, and her performance debuted at number 77 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[38][39] Im received a mixed feedback from the judges following her performance of John Farnham's "You're the Voice" during the Aussie Week-themed eighth live show.[40] Keating said "it was pitchy and a weak performance" and Bassingthwaighte agreed.[40] For the Power and Passion-themed ninth live show, Im sang "Saving All My Love for You" by Whitney Houston and "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus.[41] Her performances of "Wrecking Ball" and "Saving All My Love for You" debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at numbers 61 and 85, respectively.[42]

During the grand final performance show on 27 October, Im was required to perform three songs – her audition song ("Hero"), winner's single ("Alive") and last shot song ("And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going").[43] Her performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going", which debuted at number 29 on the ARIA Singles Chart,[44] got all four judges standing on the judges table.[45] Redfoo said Im's performance was "the best thing I've ever seen in my life", while Minogue added that she is "world class".[45] Im's performance of "Hero" debuted at number 62.[46] During the grand final decider show the following day, Im was announced as the winner.[47]

     denotes a performance that entered the ARIA Singles
     denotes winner

Performances on The X Factor[edit]

Show Song choice Theme Result
Auditions "Hero" N/A Through to Super bootcamp
Super bootcamp "I'm with You" Through to second day of bootcamp
"Next to Me" Through to third day of bootcamp
"Jolene" Was eliminated but was called back after Matt Gresham's withdrawal
Home visits "If I Were a Boy" Through to Live shows
Week 1 "One" Judges' Choice Safe
Week 2 "Purple Rain" Legends Safe
Week 3 "Don't Leave Me This Way" Top 10 Hits Safe
Week 4 "Roar" Latest and Greatest Safe
Week 5 "Best of You" Rock Safe
Week 6 "Bridge over Troubled Water" Family Heroes Safe
Week 7 "Clarity" Judges' Challenge Safe
Week 8 "You're the Voice" Aussie Week Safe
Week 9 "Saving All My Love for You" Power and Passion Safe
"Wrecking Ball"
Week 10 "Hero" Audition song Winner
"And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" Last shot song
"Alive" Winner's single
"Purple Rain" Best moment of the live shows song

2013–15: Dami Im and Heart Beats[edit]

Im performing at The X Factor Live Tour in November 2013

After winning The X Factor, Im's debut and winner's single "Alive" was released on the iTunes Store.[48] She also received a recording contract with Sony Music Australia and a management deal.[49] Four days after release, "Alive" debuted at number one on the ARIA Singles Chart.[30] It was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association for selling over 70,000 copies.[50] Im's self-titled second studio album was released on 15 November 2013 and featured studio recordings of songs she performed on The X Factor.[51] The album debuted at number one on the ARIA Albums Chart and was certified platinum for shipments of more than 70,000 units.[52][53] Im became the first X Factor Australia contestant to follow up a number one single with a number one album on the ARIA Charts.[52] On 23 November 2013, Im toured alongside Third Degree, Taylor Henderson, Jiordan Tolli and Jai Waetford for The X Factor Live Tour, which ended on 2 December 2013.[54] In late December 2013, she signed on as an ambassador for the children's charity Compassion Australia.[55]

It was reported on 19 January 2014 that fashion label Alannah Hill had signed Im to be the face of their autumn and winter 2014 collection.[56] On 24 January 2014, Im released a cover of "I Am Australian" with Henderson, Jessica Mauboy, Justice Crew, Nathaniel Willemse and Samantha Jade, to coincide with the Australia Day celebrations.[57][58] The song peaked at number 51 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[59] Im's next single, an acoustic cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene", was released on 7 March 2014, but failed to chart.[60] In May 2014, she became an ambassador for Priceline Pharmacy's You Beauty campaign, which celebrates the diversity of Australian women.[61] The following month, Im became the ambassador of Nintendo's video game, Tomodachi Life.[62] On 3 September 2014, Im performed at The Marquee in Sydney as part of Nova FM's Red Room Global Tour.[63]

Im's third studio album, Heart Beats, was released on 17 October 2014 and debuted at number seven on the ARIA Albums Chart, becoming Im's second top-ten album.[30][64] The album was preceded by the release of its first two singles, "Super Love" and "Gladiator", both of which peaked at number 11 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[30] The former also reached the top-twenty on the South Korea Gaon Charts and was certified platinum, while the latter was certified gold for selling over 35,000 copies.[65][66][67] In December 2014, Im was the supporting act for John Legend's Australian leg of his All of Me Tour.[68] Im's sixth lead single "Smile" was released on 29 May 2015, and debuted at number 48.[69][70] In June 2015, it was confirmed that Im was working on her upcoming fourth studio album.[71]

2016–present: Eurovision Song Contest and Classic Carpenters[edit]

Im was invited to participate in the international cast BTV Global Spring Festival Gala presentation by the Chinese BTV television station which was broadcast on the second day of Spring Festival 10 February.[72] Im performed an acoustic rendition of "Close to You" in English and then teamed up with Chinese Kazakh singer, Tasiken (塔斯肯), to perform the popular "365 Mile Road" (三百六十五里路) as a duet, in Chinese. The pairing of Im with Tasiken in the duet performance is also notable in that they both share remarkably similar journeys in their music competition experiences. In the second series of The Voice of China competition in 2013, Tasiken was initially eliminated in the Blind Auditions round, but was later selected by coach A-mei in a second chance round.[73] Tasiken performed well and won the Battles and Knock Out rounds, only to ultimately lose to the eventual winner of the series Li Qi (李琦) in the Playoff round.[74] This almost mirrors Im's own experience of being eliminated in the super bootcamp round of 2013 The X-Factor Australia competition, only to be recalled to the home visits round. Im of course went on to perform very well in the subsequent Live Finals and eventually win the competition. The very popular Global Spring Festival event was reportedly one of the world's most watched TV program, broadcast to a global audience of over 200 million.[75]

Dami Im during a rehearsal before the second semi-final

On 3 March, it was announced Im would represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2016. Her song was "Sound of Silence". On 4 March, it also announced Im would release a new album in April called Classic Carpenters. The album is a collection of cover versions of some of The Carpenters' biggest songs.[76] It was released on 22 April 2016. Three music videos of her performing the songs "(They Long to Be) Close to You", "There's a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)" and "Yesterday Once More" were released on 14, 17 and 19 April, respectively.[77][78][79] Classic carpenters charted with massive success on the ARIA charts gaining the chart position of Number Three, Im's third studio also gained success on the South Korean charts achieving a position of 23 within the Top 25.

At an interview, Paul Clarke, Australia's head of delegation to the Eurovision Song Contest, was asked about the potential of Im's performance at the contest. Clarke remarked that Im's journey as a migrant to Australia at the age of nine and learning English from songs of Kylie Minogue was conducive to the multiculturalism and diversity of the European competition. Clarke adds that "Im is also a lightning rod of emotion when she performs", which is something he believes will resonate with the Eurovision audience. He further notes that "She can just feel an audience and be able to be the conductor of it, better than just about any performer I've ever seen, she just does it intuitively."[80]

In the Eurovision Song Contest 2016, Im was announced to perform in second semi-final. Im performed tenth in the running order and successfully progressed to the final with the highest score and top ranking of her semi-final.[81] As this was the first time Australia competed in the semi-final stage, Im became the first ever Australian representative to progress from the semi-final to the final. In the final, Im performed 13th in the running order and achieved the top score of 320 points from the national jury. Ultimately, she received 191 points from televoting and was announced to have gained 511 points in total, placing 2nd in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016.[82] Im's second place score is the highest score ever achieved by an Australian representative. Following the contest, Im's single "Sound of Silence" charted at number 3 on the ARIA charts and gained huge success across Europe with Im's single selling over fifty five thousand copies worldwide, and has also achieved two Gold certificated for her single from the ARIA Charts and the Swedish Recording Industry Association charts respectively. Also "Sound of Silence" charted within the top fifteen in Finland and Belgium – a first for Im in her singing career, the single also charted for the first time in Im's career on the UK Charts, the Spanish, German and Austrian charts. This single is Im's most successful in her career to date. In October 2016, Im released her first post-Eurovision single, "Fighting for Love". In 2017, it was announced through various social media that THE.mgmt has signed Im to a special arrangement modeling contract with the agency.[83]

On April 7, 2017, Im released a new recording of Hold Me In Your Arms with original Southern Sons singer, Jack Jones. On April 9, 2017, it was reported that Sony Music Australia CEO Denis Handlin was moved by Im's earlier live performance of the song on Australia Day with Guy Sebastian that he "spared no expense securing the original voice of the song Jack Jones (Irwin Thomas) to re-create is 1990 hit with Dami Im."[84] On 28 April, 2017, Im posted on her social media photos of herself with Sony Australia CEO Denis Handlin receiving Gold certification for her album Classic Carpenters and her Platinum certification for her single, Sound of Silence.[85]

Artistry[edit]

Im credits her home influences, with her mother being an opera singer, and her own classical music training, as providing her the grounding and instilling in her the love for music and performance.[86] Im has also cited K-pop music as an inspiration in regard to her love and passion for singing.[4] Her musical influences are Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, Chris Tomlin and BoA.[6][12] She also cites BoA along with Lee Juck and Kim Dong-ryool as her favourite singers.[87] Aside from singing, Im also plays piano and violin and has co-written some of her material.[6][18] She co-wrote eight songs on her third studio album, Heart Beats.[88]

During a radio interview in 2016, Im credited Guy Sebastian as providing her with the initial impetus to dream that perhaps one day she could follow in his footsteps in competing and winning a reality music show.[89] Im described how watching Sebastian take first place in Australian Idol in 2003 as the beginning of her own dream for her own career as a professional singer. She also described how at the time, while still a teenager, that she would spend hours practicing in her bedroom, recording her own voice. She described singing to such songs as Stacie Orrico's "Stuck" as pivotal to her initial preparation as a singer. She explained that practicing doing the runs that Orrico and other singers execute in their songs helped her improve her own singing ability. Im eventually went on to master her craft by completing her voice training at post-graduate level at the Young Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University, under the tutelage of Dr Irene Bartlett.

Apart from Im's career as a musical performance artist, she is also recognized as a fashion trendsetter.[90] During the X Factor competition, she is known for the extravagant outfits that she wore for her performances. After winning The X Factor, Im was sought after by different designers and fashion houses to showcase their creations, including such names as Alannah Hill and Carla Zampatti. At Eurovision, Im's iconic dress was custom designed by well known Australian couture designer, Steven Khalil.[91]

Grease – The Arena Experience[edit]

On November 7, 2016, it was announced by Harvest Train, the Australian musical theatre company, that Im is going to be appearing in the Brisbane production of Grease: The Arena Experience.[92] The show is scheduled to play for three performances at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre from 7–8 April 2017. Im has been cast in the role of Teen Angel and will be performing a rendition of "Beauty School Dropout". This is the first time Im has taken part in a major musical production and also the first time that a female has been cast in the normally male role.[93]

The musical is directed and choreographed by Callum Mansfield. Along with Im, this production of Grease will also star Meghan O'Shea in the role of Sandy, Drew Weston as Danny, Tim Campbell as Johnny Casino, Brisbane radio station's 97.3FM's Terry Hansen as Vince Fontaine alongside a core cast of 30 professional performers as well as an amateur mass ensemble of over 800 performers from across South-East Queensland.[94]

Filmography[edit]

  • 2014: Paper Planes

In 2014, Im was invited to perform a rendition of Macy Gray's "Beauty in the World" for part of the soundtrack of Paper Planes, an Australian children's movie.[95] Paper Planes starred Sam Worthington, David Wenham, Deborah Mailman and Ed Oxenbould, and was co-written by Steve Worland and Robert Connolly. Connolly also directed the movie. The co-producers were Liz Kearney and Maggie Miles. The movie opened in cinemas on 15 January 2015. A version of "Beauty in the World" was also recorded for Im's Heart Beats album.

  • 2016: Trolls

On 15 November 2016 multiple media sources announced that Im would be making her film debut in the Australian release of DreamWorks Animation's feature Trolls.[96] She is cast as the voice to the role of Grandma Rosiepuff. Im would share the role with Susanna Reid, who will be the voice of the character for the UK version and GloZell Green who will be the voice for the US version. Media also reported that Im joined Justin Timberlake at the Australian premiere of the film on 20 November at Hoyts Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park, Sydney.[97][98]

Carols in the Domain[edit]

Soon after winning The X Factor in 2013, Im was invited to her first appearance at Carols in the Domain.[99] An annual event that is broadcast live in Australia, the event consistently draws large crowds of in excess of 80,000.[100] The event is often hosted by media personalities with a diverse cast that is made up of musicians, performers, characters from popular media, choral groups and choirs. Im's has participated in this annual event every year since her first show in 2013. On 21 November 2016 it was announced that Im would once again be a part of the cast for the 2016 event to be held and telecast live on 18 December 2016.[101] The details of Im's performances at each year's shows are listed below:

Year Date Songs Ref
2013 21 Dec 2013 "Silent Night" [102]
"Away in a Manger" [103]
2014 20 Dec 2014 "O Holy Night" [104]
"The Christmas Song" [105]
2015 19 Dec 2015 "O Come, All Ye Faithful" [106][107]
"Silent Night" (duet with Cyrus Villanueva) [108]
"Away in a Manger" [109]
2016 18 Dec 2016 "The First Noel" [110]
"O Holy Night" [111][112]

Carols By Candlelight[edit]

On Saturday, 24 December 2016, Im was among an ensemble cast of Australian performers who performed at the Vision Australia Carols By Candlelight at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, Australia. The other performers include Anthony Callea, Tim Campbell, Kate Ceberano, Shane Jacobson, Lucy Durack, Marina Prior, Silvie Paladino, David Hobson, Denis Walter, Darren Percival, legally blind opera singer Michael Leonardi, and Ol'55, who celebrated their 40th anniversary at the event.[113] The event was broadcast live nationally by the Nine Network. Media reports of the event acclaimed Im's performance, "Dami Im stole the show -hands down- last night."[114]

Year Date Songs Ref
2016 24 Dec 2016 "All I Want for Christmas Is You" [115]
"When a Child Is Born" [116]

Personal life[edit]

Im is a Christian. She met Noah Kim, a fellow Christian, at church and they were married in Seoul, South Korea in September 2012.[4][18] Im and her husband live in Daisy Hill, a suburb of Logan City in Queensland.[117] In October 2013, she was named the cultural ambassador for Logan City and was offered the key to the city by mayor Pam Parker.[118] Im was presented with the key at a ceremony on 4 December 2013.[119]

Dami is an avid foodie, and has an enjoyment for sweets. She often seen sharing on her Instagram account of the different foods when she is consuming it.[120] During a Facebook Live interview with New Idea magazine in 2016, Im shared that she likes cooking and relaxing at home. She said her favourite food is her mother's home-cooked food, especially Chijimi, a Korean pancake.[121] At another interview she also intimated that her 'go-to' comfort food is Korean fried chicken.

Compassion Australia[edit]

Im is a passionate supporter of Compassion Australia and one of their most active Ambassadors.[122] After Eurovision 2016, against the advice of many in the industry, Im went ahead with a pre-planned trip to visit her eighth sponsor child, Jovi, in Uganda.[123][124] During the trip, Dami Im, hosted a concert for the 200 children in Uganda and broadcast it live on Facebook.[125] She is passionate about drawing attention to the poverty of people around the world and the need to help support people in these circumstances. She said that her trip to Uganda was grounding to her and gives purpose for what she does in her life and work.[126]

Notable performances[edit]

Dami Im is a highly sought after performance artist across Australia and beyond. She has appeared in numerous public performances marking special occasions and on live TV. Some of her most memorable performances include:

Discography[edit]

Concert tours[edit]

Headlining

The X Factor Live Tour (2013)[54]
Yesterday Once More Tour (2016–17)

Supporting

Nova's Red Room Global Tour (Series 1: 2014)[63]
John Legend's All of Me Tour (2014): Australian leg[68]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Type Award Result
2013 Poprepublic.tv Awards[147] Breakthrough Artist of 2013 Nominated
Favourite Album of 2013 (Dami Im) Nominated
The X Factor Australia First Prize Won
2014 ARIA No. 1 Chart Awards Number One Album (Dami Im)[148] Won
Number One Single ("Alive")[148] Won
World Music Awards World's Best Female Artist[149] Nominated
World's Best Live Act[150] Nominated
World's Best Entertainer of the Year[151] Nominated
World's Best Song ("Alive")[152] Nominated
Cosmopolitan Fun, Fearless, Female Awards Fun, Fearless, Female Woman of the Year[153] Won
Singer[153] Won
Channel [V] Awards[154] [V] Oz Artist of the Year Nominated
2016 Eurovision Song Contest 2016 First Prize Runner-up
Griffith University AEL (Arts, Education, Law) Young Alumnus of the Year Award[155] Won
Cosmopolitan Australia Women of the Year Awards Artist of the Year[156] Won
2017 Queensland Music Award - BOQ People's Choice Most Popular Female Artist[157] Won
Australian Club Entertainment Awards Club Performer of the Year[158][159] Won
Female Vocalist of the Year[160][161] Won

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Justice Crew
with "Boom Boom" and "Everybody"
Australia in the ABU TV Song Festival
2014
Succeeded by
incumbent
Preceded by
Guy Sebastian
with "Tonight Again"
Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest
2016
Succeeded by
Isaiah Firebrace
with "Don't Come Easy"