The Adelaide Festival has lined up a list of Australia’s biggest modern talents for this year’s contemporary Music program. Dami Im has charmed Adelaide’s audiences at previous festivals and this year is playing Wednesday 10 March at the newly formed Adelaide Festival Summerhouse, Elder Park. Dami forged her way into the hearts of Australians through The X Factor and has achieved so much more since the 2013 win. With four acclaimed albums this singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist can also be crowned as Australia’s Eurovision Queen!

Dami chatted to the HI-FI Way about her upcoming show at the Adelaide Festival.

You’re returning to Adelaide once again but this time for the Adelaide Festival. Are you looking forward to performing live again after the year that just went by?
Yes! Absolutely. I’m really looking forward to performing live again especially with my band and returning to Adelaide since I was last at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Last time you came to Adelaide you did My Life in Song. What can we expect from this show?
With this show I’m still deciding on the finer details and will finalise closer to the date. I will be coming with a small band. Last time at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival it was a show more about my life with lots of talking. This time there won’t be as much talking. It will be taking the audience on a journey with the songs. There will be some well-known songs that people love to hear from me and there will also be some new ones that they may not have heard before.

Adelaide definitely loves you. There was a great reaction to your show in 2019. What kind of connection do you like to have with your audience?
I think its great when my audience have special memories attached to my songs. When I perform each person interprets and feels differently even though it’s the same song everyone is hearing. I love it when they they have their own story as to what the song means to them. I’m hoping that the songs that I will be performing at this show will be special to each person in their own way.

Your latest single is Paper Dragon. Can you tell us what that song is about?
Paper Dragon is a big power anthem. It’s telling people I’m a dragon and I have this strength inside of me and don’t treat me like I’m some weak little paper. It was meant to be potentially my next Eurovision entry song but obviously everything has changed since then.

Will you be performing Paper Dragon at the Adelaide Festival?
Yes, I do like to sing my most current songs. So, it will probably be on the list.

Listening to that song I just loved your voice and the range so it would be great to hear it live.
Yeah, I do love performing it live. I think some of my latest music has been a bit more interesting, a bit slower and deeper but with Paper Dragon because I was considering it for Eurovision it’s one my more upbeat songs. I think the audience like that because I love more introspective and slower songs sometimes, I feel I lean too much towards that style. I like to have songs that break up that ballad style and Paper Dragon is definitely one that does that.

Well, you have a great voice so show it off! (Laughs)
(Laughs) If I keep doing what I love it would be a really sad emotional show (laughs). It’s good to do that when I’m on my own but when I do my shows, I need to mix it up and think about the audience (laughs).

How did you spend your time during 2020 and the chaos that was Covid-19?
For me it has been a year trying to be flexible, obviously all the things I had in mind and all the plans I had changed. I did a lot of live shows in Queensland. We were lucky in Queensland that we could still perform live. I’ve released Paper Dragon and worked on my new album as well as doing shows online.

Did you take some time to do some things that you normally wouldn’t do?
Oh yeah! I had these pockets of enthusiasm and passion for different things. For a time, I had an interest in origami because I was preparing for Paper Dragon, I had all this time. So, I’m like, ok I’m going to learn fold paper dragons. I was folding hundreds of paper dragons and then I got tired of that and turned to making banoffees (dessert pies). They are so delicious but I think I’m a little sick of that now as I had so many! I was taking more walks and saying hello to lots of dogs in our neighbourhood (laughs). So, yeah, that’s my life!

Besides the Adelaide Festival, what’s in store for Dami Im in 2021?
I’m performing at Bluesfest which was supposed to happen last year, so I’m hoping that still goes ahead this year. I’m also releasing my new album and a few more singles. There’s a few more things floating around but you just don’t know if they will happen. You have to be able to be flexible and spontaneous which isn’t something that I’m used to or good at naturally. I like to know what’s happening and have a strategy in place and follow it. At the moment it is like everything is out the window and you just have to play it by ear! I think I will just try and be more creative and open minded about different opportunities that come along.

Interview by Anastasia Lambis

Catch Dami Im at the Adelaide Festival Summerhouse on Wednesday 10 March 9.30pm. Tickets from the Adelaide Festival.

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