A pop idol with the X Factor
She sees herself as a girl from Logan who loves to sing and play piano. But this Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University graduate is much more than that. She is taking the music world by storm.
Dami Im sits down at the Steinway in the Queensland Conservatorium theatre – eyes closed, body swaying as her fingers dance over the keys.
“I missed this piano!” she laughs. “I remember bringing my whole family and all my friends to my final recital here.”
The pop idol is spending the morning back at the Queensland Conservatorium with a TV crew in tow.
Fresh from a triumphant performance at the Sydney Opera House and a lightning tour to the UK, she is in the midst of recording a new album.
Dami got her first big break in 2013, after winning the popular reality TV show, The X Factor Australia.
Her self-titled debut album reached number 1 on the ARIA charts, and she is a multi-platinum recording artist.
In 2016, she was chosen to represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest, where she was crowned runner-up after belting out her power ballad, Sound of Silence, to a global audience of more than 200 million people.
The pop princess and fashion icon emigrated from South Korea at the age of 9.
Her family fell in love with the relaxed lifestyle in Australia, but for a shy young girl who didn’t speak the language, it was a tough transition.
“I was so nervous starting school here. I didn’t want to stand out, but I didn’t speak any English and I don’t think the kids at our school had ever seen an Asian person before!”
Music proved to be Dami’s salvation.
“Even though I didn’t speak the language, I could play piano,” she says.
“I used to listen to Kylie and the Spice Girls to improve my English – I just wanted to fit in.
“Music helped me find my identity in Australia, and it’s really helped me through.”
Dami started out studying classical piano at the Young Conservatorium, and later completed a Masters of Music Studies at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
“My time at the Con really helped me get started with my singing career – I had wonderful lecturers,” she says.
“Irene has been a great mentor. I’m so lucky and blessed to have had such a caring and competent teacher. I couldn’t have anybody better to help me maximise my potential.”
Despite all the fame and glory, she is self-deprecating.
“I’m just a girl from Logan who likes to sing and play piano,” she says with a laugh.