Hello Asia editor Johnny Au catches up with Australian pop star Dami Im. Dami’s incredible 2016 continues after her mesmorising performance and runner up placing at 2016 Eurovision Song Contest propelled her onto the global stage. On return from her triumph in Stockholm, Dami has been on the road around the country with her “Yesterday Once More: Classic Carpenters 2016 Tour”. Johnny chats to Dami about her experience at Eurovision, her Eurovision single “Sound of Silence”, the influence of The Carpenters on her music and upcoming new songs and album.
Dami you’ve had a pretty incredible 2016 so far. Let’s revisit your Eurovision experience. It’s now almost 5 months since you came second in Stockholm. What are your thoughts when you look back and reflect on your whole experience at Eurovision?
It really felt like it happened in a distant world because it was such a crazy experience to have represented Australia in arguably the biggest stage in the world. It was an honour but looking back it was such a crazy experience. I’m just grateful to be a part of Eurovision.
Let’s talk “Sound of Silence” which you performed at Eurovision. I’m not sure if many people know that is an Australian produced track from the guys at DNA. What was it like to work with them again for Sound of Silence?
I’ve worked with DNA before with my debut single “Alive” so I already know them quite well. DNA had a very short time frame to come up with a track for Eurovision and I had to find a song and when I first heard “Sound of Silence” I thought the song had great potential. So we went ahead and recorded it and it felt great and turned out to be a really good song. We had to build it up a little more and I knew the song had room to build extra “dimension” on the live stage.
Were you surprised by how well “Sound of Silence” did not just in Australia but around the world?
It was a big surprise. As an artist and a singer there’s no bigger honour than your song being played but for “Sound of Silence” to be played globally that’s more than I would have hoped for.
Why do you think the public embraced Sound of Silence?
I guess the public related to it because the song is about the feeling of the distance between you and your lover. I guess most people have experienced that at some point in their lives. On a different level its about being disconnected because of social media so it has that double meaning. So I think that resonated with people. It’s also a sad song, even though it is powerful its sad and maybe people like this sadness in a way.
Let’s talk about your album Classic Carpenters that you released this year. Firstly how much of an influence did The Carpenters have on your career?
Since I was little my parents used to play some of The Carpenters songs so I knew the songs but didn’t know who The Carpenters were until I was older. At my first gig at a tiny little restaurant in Brisbane years ago I picked a few The Carpenters songs to perform. They’re beautiful songs and I knew people would recognise them. So eventually it led me to record a whole album of their songs because I think they’re great songs. Now I’m doing a national tour called “Yesterday Once More Tour” which is a tour of me covering The Carpenters hits. So I guess they had a huge influence on me and my career.
Do you have a favourite Carpenters track?
There’s so many! But I love “Yesterday Once More” because of the nostalgia it brings. I also like “I Need To Be In Love” which is one of The Carpenters lesser known tracks but apparently it was one of Karen Carpenter’s favourite tracks. It really resonates with me.
My favourite is “Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft”
(Laughs) That one didn’t make it to into my album but it is an interesting song!
I also noticed Classic Carpenters also charted in Korea. What does that mean to you to have your album being recognised in Korea?
Even though I have strong Korean influence in my life my main work is here in Australia so its a bonus when you hear your album has done well and gets recognition in Korea. Its surprising in a way since I don’t do much promotion over there. It’s really cool since I have family and relatives living in Korea so whenever I get recognition over there they can see it, whereas in Australia they don’t get to see it.
How is the “Yesterday Once More: Classic Carpenters 2016 Tour” going? I believe you have been on the road for awhile now?
We’ve been touring since July and done about 20 shows so far. Initially it was a 36 date tour which is huge but because the shows have been selling out we had to add some new shows. So now we have added dates till May 2017. It’s ended up being a huge, huge tour so I’m really grateful for that.
What’s it like to perform in the regional areas of Australia? I see there are lots of shows being performed outside of the capital cities?
It’s different because every venue is different as each area has their own characteristics. More than anything I feel like I wouldn’t have had the chance to visit these areas if it wasn’t for the tour. Some of these places we visit are so beautiful. For example, I played a show at Merimbula which is about six hours away by car from Sydney and it was the most beautiful place. I wouldn’t have discovered it had I not toured there. And also the audience at these towns tend to appreciate us being there so its really good fun.
What’s your plans for the rest of this year besides the national tour?
I’ve been working on new music right after I finished Eurovision. Actually the day after Eurovision finshed I was in a studio already! I have a new song coming out really soon so I’ve been working on the music video and other things associated with the song. It will be released in October or November. And I’ve been working on a new album as well so I hope that will drop really soon too.
When you sit down to write songs for the album are there any particular themes or process you go through?
It’s mainly just digging up my thoughts and what I was thinking about in the period before I start writing or going into a writing session. I try to keep it as real as possible and channel those feelings or thoughts. It’s different from time to time, but eventually after you have a body of work behind you there is a consistency and that can become the theme or the title of the album.
This weekend you’re coming up to Sydney to perform at BEYOND. What songs will you be performing and I believe its an acoustic performance?
Yes it will be. Unlike the tour where I play with a full seven piece band I’ll be just playing the piano and I’ll have my guitarist so it will be really intimate. I’ll be performing songs from the tour like The Carpenters and some of my own hit singles like “Super Love” and maybe “Sound of Silence”. I believe its outdoors so it should be fun show. I’m looking forward to it.
I believe there will be free Adriano Zumbo macarons as well at BEYOND?
Yes I know! I’m looking forward to the macarons! (laughs)
Everyone should head along and see you perform and have some macarons.
You can’t ask for more than that! (laughs)
Dami Im will be performing at 12 noon on Saturday 1st Oct at 99 Forest Road, Hurstville (Sydney) at the new BEYOND precinct in Hurstville. Its a free performance. Adriano Zumbo will also be giving away free macarons and there will be free manicures and nail art by I Scream Nails and other fun things to do.
Check out Dami’s tour dates at www.damiim.com.