Presented by Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed 13 June 2019
Dami Im became a household name as a contestant on the fifth season of The X Factor, going on to win the series and receiving a record contract with Sony Australia. Since then, the Korean-born singer-songwriter has travelled to Sweden in 2016 to represent Australia in Eurovision, coming second overall with the highest Australian score in history. But in all the glitz and the glamour, and all the ornate dresses and outlandish hairstyles, Im lost something. In her show, My Life In Songs, Im took off the mask that had been constructed for her, and told her story. Her way.
Dami Im was five years old when she began learning the piano. Emigrating to Australia from South Korea with her family at 9 years old, Im soon began studying classical piano at the Young Conservatorium of Music at Griffith University. It wasn’t long, however, before Im decided that piano wasn’t her only instrument, and by recording herself copying her favourite artists, she taught herself to sing. Armed with a Masters of Arts degree in contemporary voice, Im tentatively audition for The X Factor with Mariah Carey’s Hero. And it was singing this song in all its glory that Im burst on to the stage of the Dunstan Playhouse.
Holding the heightened persona created by the television show at an arms length, Im provided the audience with a stripped back, honest insight into her remarkable life. She payed homage to her friend and mentor Danni Minogue, with Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out of my Head, and reflected on her youthful love of k-pop (Korean Pop) with an acoustic rendition of Gangnam Style. She demonstrated her versatility with an impeccable classical piano piece, and reflected on her time at studying jazz voice at university with Gershwin’s Summertime.
Im’s voice was flawless throughout, but it was the big ballads that demonstrated her extraordinary capability. Sounds of Silence, the song that she took to Eurovision was breathtaking, and her rendition of Prince’s Purple Rain was perhaps the highlight of the evening, as her voice negotiated the notes effortlessly. Im was backed by an accomplished four-piece band, who also supported her with polished backing vocals.
Backed by glistening sequinned banners, from the back of the Playhouse stage hung five LED light structures that were configured to form beacons of light. Yet, the biggest beacon was Im herself, as she proved to Adelaide just how bright she could shine.
Reviewed by Ben Francis
Rating out of 5: 5