After winning Australian Idol in 2006, Damien Leith’s career skyrocketed. Since then, he’s been a singer, songwriter, producer, author, playwright and tv/radio host personality, sometimes all at once.
He took time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.
How do you prepare before you go on stage?
I used to carry around a photo of my family, and put it in my back pocket before I’d go on stage. I have a warm-up routine that I do all the time. I don't drink at a show at all. I used to, years ago. Now I don't. I always go on fully raring to go. So yeah, I'm the calmest and probably the most relaxed I've ever been going on stage now than when I was a lot younger.
What do you do after the five minute call?
I always send a text to my wife. I always say ‘wish me luck’ and I wait for the text to come back saying ‘good luck’. And then when I get that, I feel like OK, I'm ready to go. That's actually kind of what I do every time. Sometimes I don't get to text back. Those are scary nights. (laughs)
What’s your most memorable performance so far?
Nessun Dorma at the Sydney Opera House. It was part of Australian Idol all those years ago, and it was a last-minute decision by the producers. They said, “OK, if the final comes about, will you do that song?” I was really nervous to do it 'cause, it was the final. I don't speak Italian. I'm not an opera singer either. There was all those different things and I was nervous. But I tell you what, it was an incredible feeling.
If you had a one way ticket – what would be the destination?
If I had a one way ticket I’d want to go to the moon. I just want to see what it’s like. Wouldn’t that be cool? Hardly anyone’s been up there… although one way? It would have to be all the way round, back to the start.
What makes you laugh?
My own jokes. It’s a terrible thing. I’m well-known for laughing at my own jokes. Generally it’s when they are really bad. Jokes that aren’t actually funny, but I find them hilarious.
What makes you cry?
I’m not much of a crier. The only thing that ever really makes me cry is thinking about my family back in Ireland. If I’m feeling homesick, or if I miss a major event back in Ireland, that can bring on tears. It’s been twenty years, and I love Australia, but I still miss Ireland a lot.
How has your life changed since Australian Idol?
Sixteen years ago I was working as a full-time chemist and I decided to audition for Australian Idol. I had my day job, and then I did that audition, and from then, my life completely changed. I'd been doing music for years up until that point, but once Idol came along, I became a full-time musician. Doors opened. I've been exposed to so many different things, and I've just met a lot of amazing people, from audiences, to people that you work with, and I'd never take it for granted. It's an amazing journey and long may it continue.
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