The Logan-based singer-songwriter kicks off her Queensland tour at Brisbane venue the Triffid tonight and will play Ipswich tomorrow, followed by shows at Cairns’ Tanks Arts Centre and Maroochydore’s Solbar next month.
Im’s reduced-capacity show at the Triffid in June sold out in minutes and she said she was looking forward to returning to the venue to launch ‘Paper Dragon’ tonight.
“I played there for the Cabin Fever festival that they did to reopen the venue and I’m coming back there and that was outside in the beer garden but this time it will be actually inside the hall, which is an improvement,” Im told InQueensland.
Im said she was equally excited to heading to the far north but added: “Somebody told me that [Tanks Arts Centre] don’t have air-con and I was like, ‘but its Cairns … how can you do a gig without air-con?’ I really hope they’re wrong about that, but it’s OK,” she laughed.
‘Paper Dragon’ is an anthemic, synth-driven pop album written in collaboration with rising Sydney singer-songwriter ELKI and was originally earmarked as an entry for Eurovision, but Im said she instead decided to release the song now, because “we need something fun and colourful and happy”.
“ELKI is such a great songwriter and she is a little bit weird and a bit quirky,” Im said. “I obviously I couldn’t have had this song without her involvement – she’s the one who came up with this idea and I think she thinks very differently, so I’m very grateful that I got to collaborate with her.”
Im first came to public attention after taking out the top prize on reality-TV singing competition The X-Factor seven years ago and in 2016, she was voted runner-up at Eurovision, which was Australia’s best-ever result in the song contest.
She signed with Sony following her 2013 X-Factor win and announced she had signed a deal with ABC Music last month and said she has “really been enjoying the culture there”.
“The people there are very supportive of the artists and respectful and so far it’s been pretty good because with my previous label, it was very different,” she said.
“It was a bigger label but also you couldn’t always have the say in the end; there were a lot of politics to get through to get the result you wanted and it was a very complicated system whereas here, I get to make the creative choices and I think that’s very refreshing.”
‘Paper Dragon’ was helmed by Brisbane-based producer Konstantin Kersting, who has previously worked with artists including Tones and I, Mallrat and The Jungle Giants, and harks back to the pop hooks of early singles such as ‘Super Love’ and ‘Gladiator’.
Im’s last two full-length releases for Sony were cover albums and despite their success – including a gold record for Classic Carpenters – she said she was grateful to be moving on.
“I did two covers albums, which is what the label wanted and I’m still grateful for everything but I think my European fans and Eurovision fans in particular were waiting for me to come back to pop, and I think with Paper Dragon I’m finally back, it just took a few years.”
Although Im will be performing at smaller venues than she has in the past on this mini tour, she said she had enjoyed the intimacy of playing at the Triffid at June and was anticipating a similarly cosy, COVID-safe atmosphere this time around.
“I guess with these venues you can really vibe with the audience, it’s very intimate, and it helps me be very authentic and I can just be myself.
“It’s almost like I’m just talking to a group of friends or something, You feel like you’re part of the whole room, which is really lovely.
“When you do a big-size room or an arena it’s sort of like you’re getting excited by this massive wall of crowd that’s like one big thing, whereas with smaller venues I think you feel the individual faces and their reactions and their emotions.
“Obviously everyone likes big rooms, but I do honestly love the intimate size of these venues as well. There’s something very special about it.”
‘Paper Dragon’ is out now. Visit Dami Im’s website for tickets to her showsJump to next article