Australian Idol contestant Charlotte McKie has encouraged kids to find their "true colours" in a special performance in Lambton.
Charlotte, 19, sang to children at St John's Primary School on Wednesday.
She sang Cyndi Lauper's True Colours, You've Got A Friend In Me from Toy Story and Lay Me Down by Sam Smith.
The school asked Charlotte to sing to inspire students to follow their dreams and embrace their uniqueness and talent.
"I love singing, but I haven't gigged a whole lot," Charlotte said.
"This was a whole new experience, singing to kids. They were amazing. It was one of the most fun things I've ever done."
She started singing at age four with "the beautiful Margaret McNaughton [the former Newcastle lady mayoress]".
"As a kid, I called it singing for the old ladies. I went to nursing homes and sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow with Margaret."
Charlotte grew up "surrounded by Bowie, Queen and the classics".
"My dad loved music. My family is so beautiful and lovely and they'll tell you I could sing from a very young age. That's such a lie," she joked.
Charlotte developed her voice in her school days.
"I really started singing a lot at St Pious [at Adamstown] in year 7 when I did Grease and was in the choir all the way through high school," she said.
"I love performing and my dad really nourished that part of my life. He was such a rugby bloke, but he also loved musicals. From when I was about seven, that's what we did as daddy-daughter dates for my birthdays and Christmas.
"Music was always such a huge and special part of my life for connection with people. It's helped me get through some tough times."
When she starred on Idol last month, Charlotte shared her story of losing her parents. When she was four, her mum died of cancer. Her dad died after rupturing his small intestine.
"Mum was diagnosed in her first trimester with me. She fought it and it came back. She passed away in 2007. Dad passed in 2021," she said.
She loves how music connects people and brings out feelings, "whether that's happiness or sadness or just remembering something that means a lot to them".
"There's nothing that means more to me than hearing someone tell me after a performance how it made them feel. It's so special," she said.
Charlotte is studying nursing at university, but plans to keep singing.
"I want to work in health and I never thought I'd be capable of actually doing something with my voice, but I have such an amazing support system that the people around me say go for it," she said.
She will perform at Cancer Council's Relay for Life on Saturday at the University of Newcastle.
The event is a chance for communities to recognise and celebrate those who have overcome cancer or are undergoing treatment, as well as the people who care for them.
"Charity things like that are so important to me, hence why I shaved my head," Charlotte said.
"Being able to use Idol as a platform to do things like that means a hell of a lot to me. Idol is crazy and wild, but absolutely no regrets. It was really awesome."
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