The singer and songwriter is heading to Brisbane with a fresh new album under her belt.
Paulini has entertained crowds of thousands during her assault on the Australian music industry, but nothing quite compared to the nerves she felt when releasing her new album Come Alive.
The album is a collection of catchy pop, sexy grooves, RnB and heart-felt soul, written across the globe from New York to Los Angeles, Paris, London and Germany and was labelled by the artist as her “most personal album to date”.
“I’ve co-produced this album as well so for the first time I really feel like it’s my work,” she said. “My songs are based on experiences I’ve had in my life, things that I’ve gone through. Things my family and friends have gone through. I’m just trying to be as honest as I can with the lyrics to this album.
“When the album was ready to come out I had so many mixed feelings: I was nervous, excited and scared.”
The album is packed with an eclectic mix of tunes. The title track Come Alive is a soaring ballad which Paulini feels “represents my personal struggle over the past few years to find my voice, not only in music but in life”, while True Love uses authentic instrumentation from her homeland of Fiji.
“True Love just automatically took that direction; it gives it an edge and something different because it’s not just straight up pop,” she said. “I’m defiantly going to be rocking more songs that go in that direction, songs that celebrate my Fijian roots and try and include it as much as I can.”
During her career Paulini has forged her own path in the Australian music industry. Her debut album One Determined Heart and single Angel Eyes achieved double platinum status while her second solo album Superwoman preceded two more double platinum albums with the popular all-girl group Young Divas. She is still one of only 10 Australian female solo artists to have a #1 album on the Australian ARIA Charts.
However, the road to success has hardly been littered with roses with the 32-year-old saying she struggles just like any other to creative artist and is very vocal about the challenges facing Australian musicians.
“A big issue for artists is downloading illegally,” she said. “It’s an issue that’s affecting the music industry and every other entertainment industry. That’s our biggest threat; we need to get rid of all these sites that allow people to download illegally.
“In Australia there’s also the issue of Australians supporting their own. I find that everyone is very willing to support overseas acts but with Australian acts they’re quite hesitant or doubtful to give it a try. It’s always ‘nah, I’ll just buy the international’.
“Those two things are the massive difficulties that the Australian music industry is facing right now. Most people that download illegally don’t think about whether that’s going to help the artist out or not, they just want to enjoy the song. I think if the public were more educated about what happens when you download illegally then things would change.”
As an artist keen to interact and speak with her fans, Paulini is a keen social media user and thinks it’s the only way forward for artists to really connect with their fans.
“I’m a little much on Instagram, I’m always posting,” she said with a laugh. “It’s the way to go now. Without social media you can’t really get yourself out there. The great thing about it that you’re in touch with each fan, personally, so they’ll leave a comment on my page and I’ll reply and they’ll go “ oh gosh did you really reply!” so that’s the most amazing thing about it.”
Many of her fans have truly grown up with her, first discovering the young Fijian singer on Australian Idol in 2003 where she placed fourth.
“I still have a lot of fans from Idol, but they’re a lot older now,” she said. “They still support my music and they are always going to be a very faithful fans. I’d rather people focus more on my news music but you know what? Idol really did give me the platform I have now and allow me to have the career that I have so I’m always going to be thankful for that. It’s a great story that’s in the past.”
Another Idol memory that is still burned into people’s brains from her time on the show is the infamous ‘gold dress’ debacle. When Paulini wore the fitted dress, designed for her by Charlie Brown, Judge Ian “Dicko” Dickson shocked the singer and the nation by saying “You should choose more appropriate clothes or shed some pounds”, which resulted in a great deal of debate and controversy.
“Before Idol I didn’t think that I should be eating healthy and exercise was not a massive thing in my life but after Australian Idol and that whole experience I started thinking differently,” she said when questioned about the incident. “I thought to myself ‘if I’m going to be performing on stage then I need to be healthy’, I need to exercise and I need to eat right.
“When this subject comes up I’m the first one to go ‘music is music and you shouldn’t judge anyone by the way they look’. I’m a huge believer in not judging people. It’s not a nice thing to do when someone puts their heart and soul out there for the world to see.
“I’m also someone who encourages young girls to be healthy, because once you become healthy your whole personality, everything you think about changes from negative to positive. It’s got nothing to do with being skinny or being a certain size. Everytime that story comes up I’m always stressing that it’s not about the size.”
Paulini will perform at Queen Street Mall on Sunday June 21 at 1pm. For more information on her tours and new album, head to www.paulini.com.au.