His life changed overnight when he won The X Factor five years ago, but it’s only recently that Isaiah Firebrace has begun to reflect on the massive heights he’s achieved in his career.
The 22-year-old singer has opened up to Yahoo Lifestyle about what it was really like winning the Channel Seven reality competition in 2016 and why he’s “nervous” about returning to the spotlight post-lockdown.
“I literally went from high school to working as a full-time artist. I was worked to the bone. I was exhausted,” he reveals.
“COVID came at that exact time when I needed a break because I was starting to feel a bit drained and my mental health was going down and I know I needed that time just to be back with my family.”
After spending several months at home unable to perform like a number of artists across the country, Isaiah says that he’s entering a new stage in his life filled with self-awareness.
“Because everything happened so quickly with The X Factor and I was only a teenager, I couldn't even take in what I was actually doing. Like, holy shit, I’m actually a famous singer,” he muses.
“It was such a whirlwind and you're just onto the next thing, there’s no time to stop. The last few years have been work, work, work and I guess I was too young to actually realise and have that mature kind of thought like, wow, this is my career.
“I feel ready now, because it was a bit hectic there for a second and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything and I just needed that break.”
On top of releasing his new single, More Than Me, on November 12 and performing at Melbourne Fashion Week this month, Isaiah was recently announced as a contestant in next year’s Eurovision - Australia Decides competition.
If selected, it will be his second time representing Australia on the Eurovision stage after coming ninth place in 2017 with his song, Don’t Come Easy.
“I always just had it on my heart that I really wanted to do it again because it was so much fun,” he says.
“It's definitely exciting. Probably a little bit more pressure because there are expectations from my previous performance, but I was so young back then and I feel like I'm a really different person now and I've grown so much.
“It was such a blur to me and that's why I want to do it again, just so I can more embrace the moment and be really present and show people where I am now.”
While he admits that his life changed “rapidly” after competing back-to-back on The X Factor and Eurovision Song Contest, one thing that has managed to stay the same is his relationship with his former mentor, Adam Lambert.
“He's invited me to every single Queen show he’s had in Melbourne and I’ve gone backstage and had drinks and caught up with him. I’m glad I still have kind of a friendship with him,” he says.
Until February when Australia’s Eurovision representative will be decided by the public’s vote, Isaiah has become an ambassador for Bella Management’s diversity model search.
“I'm so happy to be a part of something like this. It's focusing on diversity and really being inclusive of everyone, no matter what shape, size or skin colour,” he details. “I'm all about embracing your uniqueness.”
As an Indigenous man, Isaiah says he couldn’t be more proud of his background and he appreciates any opportunity to use his platform for good.
“I feel like my journey and experience has given a lot of people out there some hope that they can also achieve big things in the world, no matter where you're from,” he adds.
Five national winners and one ‘People’s Choice’ will win a 12-month contract with Bella Management and a portfolio shoot, with the winners being announced on November 18.
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