Samantha Jade was the first female to win the Australian series of The X Factor Australia in 2012. She subsequently signed with Sony Music and released her winner’s single “What You’ve Done to Me” which reached number one on the ARIA Singles Charts. Jade has had a series of hits since and she released her second studio album, Nine, in November last year. Jade also starred as Kylie Minogue in the mini-series, INXS: Never Tear Us Apart in 2014 and this year, Jade has joined the cast of the long-running soap opera Home and Away. I chatted to the 28-year-old about her career, her plans to make it in the UK and how the death of her mother, Jacqueline Gibbs, impacted her music.
What are you up to, at the moment?
I am preparing for a bit of a big year. [My] deluxe record will be out this year… [I’m] a guest role in Home and Away, which is pretty exciting… It was so fun to film — it was so different than the Kylie, INXS role. It’s so different from the real me so it was a really creative moment.
Do you enjoy acting?
I love it… A lot of people say acting and music are similar. It’s not! It’s actually really different. Music obviously, is self-expression because if you’re a writer and you’re writing about your experiences. With acting, you’re playing a character, you’re playing someone who is not you, who shouldn’t think like you, who hasn’t been through what you’ve been through — you’ve got to create a whole world for them. It’s really different and I really enjoy that side of it because it just is so creative.
How do you measure the success of an album?
I think that that’s something that comes with age, realising what success really is and I think that a few years ago if you would have asked me that I would have said, “Oh Top 10. It has to be Top 5 or it’s not good enough.” For me now, after everything I went through last two years with my mum [passing away]… success is such a different thing to me now and happiness has become my number one and just my whole idea of life has completely changed. So for me, getting an album out, was a really big deal and for people to actually listen to it and actually getting those messages that I wanted to write about across — that’s success to me. It has really changed for me, I just am happy it’s out and that my fans are happy with it … There’s a song called Nine on there about my mum and a lot of people have written and said, “That’s gotten me through… I lost my Grandfather. I lost my uncle or I lost my Dad” it’s such a positive spin on such a sad moment. It has really helped me and that’s success.
Your new album draws inspiration from dark moments in your life, including the death of your mother; in what way did the passing of your mother impact your music?
Yes [it impacted my album hugely] I took a lot of 2014 off because she got sick that January. Australia Day we found out she had cancer, which was the hardest day… I basically relocated back to Perth and I still had to work but I just would fly over and fly straight back. It was a full six months and it took a lot out of us. So once everything happened and she passed, we went on a holiday. I came back and started to rewrite the album because I felt like everything I had written didn’t make sense anymore for me.
How did you manage to get an album out?
I kind of think that — I don’t have a partner, I don’t have a child. So, my work is my everything right now. So I threw myself into it. My mum said to me when she was sick, “you do not stop working — you’ve worked so hard for this, this is your love. I’m so proud of you,” and I knew for her, I had to keep working as well. My Dad kept reminding me of that. He was like, “You’ve got to do it. You love what you do.”
What do you do in your time off, when you’re not working?
I love to shop, I love to go to the movies, and I love to go to the beach. And I’m the ambassador for “Star Summer Hits” at The Star Sydney. It’s really exciting because I’m a Perth girl and Sunday sessions are huge thing in Perth and it’s really hard to find that out here in Sydney. So, Thursday through to Sunday on the Sky Terrace they’ve got a beautiful bar in the middle and there’s this really cool little area with grass and it’s just a nice way to let your hair down through summer and a very nice little Sunday session with champagne, brunch. It’s just lovely.
What are your plans for 2016?
I would love to go to the U.K. That’s a really big thing for me. I would love to go there and just feel it out [career wise] and see how it would go. So, that’s my goal this year. And the deluxe record and maybe a tour and just to stay in music.
What is the biggest impact winning X-Factor has had on your life?
My job is now music. I get to wake up every day and do what I love. That’s incredible to say, not many people can do that and say that. But I think the ability to inspire people is a really incredible feeling that I’ve only realised how powerful that is in the last year, because of my album and because of what I went through and when I went through what I went through with my mum and there’s so many people that go through that, and having a little bit of a profile — you are lucky because you can inspire people, I’m really like to have the ability to do that.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I hopefully am married by then, and having a child because having a baby and being married is as much of a dream for me as music is… So, I’d love that and I’d love to still be in music.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
I always say Ed Sheeran because I think he is one of the best songwriters of our generation… There’s no facade with him.
WE WENT TO Sokyo, The Star, Pyrmont.
WE ATE a fruit platter and a selection of pastries.
WE DRANK coffee and juice.
Photography by Chris Pearce.