Creativity can strike at any time and from anywhere. For Dami Im, it was a humble cactus that inspired a new song.
"Why a cactus? Good question," she said, laughing.
"While I was promoting my last single Paper Dragon I became obsessed with cacti. I really wanted to write a song about a cactus and it started off as an idea about myself, living as I did during lockdown.
"On one hand I felt lonely and wanted to be around other people, and on the other hand I quickly got annoyed and prickly around people and just wanted to be left alone.
"I also saw a meme that was like 'notice me everyone, give me attention, but also leave me alone'. I could relate. I think we all feel like that sometimes."
The song is called Lonely Cactus and it reveals Im's quirkier side, as did last year's Paper Dragon. It also gives fans a glimpse of what's to come from her sixth studio album later this year. Im is delving deeper into herself, lyrically, while embracing a softer, gentler and more organic sound.
Written with Bri Clarke and Andrew Burford (aka One Above), Lonely Cactus has a catchy hook that will bop along in your head all day.
"I wanted the song to have enough production to keep it fun and interesting, but to be as minimalistic as possible and not overshadow the simplicity of the melody and the vocal textures," she explained.
Im became a household name when she finished second in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 with her song Sound Of Silence, which charted in 38 countries. She has had four top 10 albums on the ARIA chart and further hit singles with the likes of Alive, Super Love and Gladiator.
Equally at home behind a piano in an intimate setting as she is in front of a television audience of millions worldwide, Im has found a new creative direction and is seeing where it takes her.
She is chatty and relaxed and excited about being on the Bluesfest line-up, having performed at the Adelaide Festival just last week.
"It felt amazing to be back on stage. I realised how much I had missed being up there, connecting with my audience. It was beautiful," Im said.
"At my shows I will be talking about the songs, inviting conversation - it'll be like a catch-up with friends over music. That's how I picture it, anyway.
"With this album I'm working on, I definitely want it to be something that tells a story about me. I also love to use other people's experiences, other people's characters, in my songs, imaginary ones too. Ultimately these songs capture something that I have been thinking about, or a part of me that I want to share with the world."
The album will be released "sometime this year", Im says, but it remains a work in progress for now. It will be her first with ABC Music, who she signed with last year.
"Everyone in the music industry is hopeful that things are slowly improving - last year was tough," Im said.
"I'm just happy I am able to return to the stage and I know my fans, the Dami Army, will be there cheering me on. I don't feel any pressure from them at all, it's just nice to have them there."
Dami Im will perform at Lizotte's Newcastle on March 21 and at Bluesfest in Byron Bay on April 4. Tickets are on sale now.
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