Why Dami Im wanted to change the world’s expectations of her after X Factor

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Dami Im is a singer-songwriter, an X Factor winner, a Eurovision runner-up and a Celebrity MasterChef contestant, but there’s one thing she’s not - predictable.

It’s something she’s proven when choosing which reality TV shows to appear on, and also when it came to making her upcoming album, My Reality.

Dami Im.
Dami Im says her new album My Reality is her “dream album”. Photo: Instagram/damiim

Chatting with Yahoo Lifestyle, the Pray hitmaker opened up about the “big new chapter” in her musical journey and why she’s so excited for the world to hear her new album.

“I definitely think this is my dream album,” she declares.

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“I had a moment when I was finishing the tracks like, oh my gosh, this is the album that I’ve been wanting to make for so long but it just never happened. It’s quite an important moment for me.

“Every song I tried to tell a different story from something I was thinking about or an experience that I’ve had, and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Dami Im's album My Reality.
Dami’s new album arrives 29 October. Photo: Instagram/damiim

My Reality, which arrives October 29, is Dami’s first album in seven years made up entirely of original songs, her first album where she’s written on every track, and her first album with her new record label, ABC Music.

She describes the album-making process as “very different” compared to her time at Sony Music, as she was given the opportunity to make a number of important decisions, including what the cover art looked like and who she collaborated with.

“I just had so much freedom to decide,” she details. “I felt very valued and respected for my vision as an artist, and I think that’s really helpful when you are trying to be creative.

“There was no pressure from anyone to be like, ‘Don’t do that’ or ‘You should do more of this’, it was all me going, ‘What else do I need for the album?’ and ‘What do I want to try?’.

“This new chapter has been really refreshing and I felt really free to just explore, do it in my own time and enjoy each process.”

Reflecting on her early singles after being crowned the X Factor champion in 2013, Dami admits she feels rather indifferent towards her ARIA chart-topping winner’s song, Alive.

Dami Im on The X Factor.
Dami Im says she feels indifferent towards her X Factor winner’s single Alive. Photo: Channel Seven

“I go through phases. At the start, I didn't love it because it's a bit weird, a bit long and too inspirational. Not fast, not slow,” she explains.

“But then it was my X Factor winner single, so it’s special in that way. But it wasn’t a song that I picked, I was given it.

“It’s like an arranged marriage. Like, I love you, but you weren’t my choice,” she adds with a laugh.

Dami’s two follow up singles, Super Love and Gladiator, were both inspirational power anthems that she says are still “so much fun to sing” on tour, but they also had a profound impact on her songwriting process for the new album and the direction she wanted to take as an artist.

“When I was writing this album, I went through these different phases where I was like, I want to write cool songs! I want to stop writing things that are motivational and make people feel better,” she says.

“Because I felt like for a while, that’s what people expected from me. So I was like, well if that’s so predictable, I’m not going to do that. That’s so lame and that’s so corny.”

However, it didn’t take long for her to get out of that headspace and realise that people might actually need those positive pop songs “to get through their days”.

“That sounds really corny, but it’s not. So I was like, let’s not be like that. Let’s embrace some of that,” she recalls. “Not every song has to be an inspirational song, that’s probably too much.

“But especially during this time where everyone’s feeling so much uncertainty and anxiety, let’s write some songs that are uplifting and helpful. That’s how I wrote some of these new songs, like Pray, Fire and Paper Dragon.”

Dami’s new album My Reality is set for release on October 29. You can stream her latest single, Pray, on all music platforms here.

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