The first time that I saw Jessica Mauboy perform I was speechless.
At that time I knew very little about Jessica. I had heard her name mentioned in the press and knew that she was discovered by a talent search tv show. But until that evening I did not know the power of her voice.
With the release of her latest record ‘HILDA’ we invite Jessica in to ask her what keeps her motivated, when she feels her strongest and what she loves the most about Australia.
We hope that you enjoy this interview. It is rare that you meet someone so talented yet also so humble and gracious. Jess’ authenticity and warmth make her easy to love and most of all, impossible to forget.
Jessica Mauboy interviewed by Kym Ellery
KE: Hi Jess! It is great to see you again and welcome to our Ellery woman series!
JM: Hello! Thank you for having me! *sings* “HIGHER! HIGHER!”
KE: *laughs* Now.. I wonder how many of our questions you’ve been asked before..
JM: Well.. I heard you guys going through them before and I actually thought to myself ‘Hmm.. I’ve never been asked that before’..
KE: Good to hear! That is exactly what we are aiming for. Now, let’s begin.
JM: *sings* “Let’s begin!”
KE: First question. If you were a piece of fruit, which fruit would you be?
JM: Oh if I was a piece of fruit.. I would be a dragon fruit. Yes. A dragon fruit.
KE: Beautiful choice. Why?
JM: Because it’s pretty on the outside but even more spectacular on the inside. That fruit says to me ‘to never judge a book by its cover’ if you know what I mean.
KE: Completely! What keeps you motivated and why?
JM: Music keeps me motivated. It has become my best friend. Ever since I was a little girl I felt really connected to music; the rhythm, the lyrics, the many different sounds.. Music has educated me in so many different ways.
KE: So when do you feel your strongest?
JM: I feel my strongest when I’m with my family. My family allows me to be who I am, you know? They know me better than anyone else and because of that, they give me confidence in so many ways.
KE: Who to you is a dream woman?
JM: Oh wow! This is a really good one. I would say Aretha Franklin both vocally and as an artist. Well, actually I have two dream women. I also love Mariah Carey. I grew up listening to her music and I also really admire her as a vocalist and a songwriter. Listening to her music I felt connected to her purely through her stories.
KE: And for you, Jess, why sing?
JM: Because to me it is the purest thing that I know. When I sing I feel that it’s the most genuine place, so honest and true.
KE: What is your star sign?
JM: I’m a Leo! *growls and laughs* Hear me roar!
KE: What is your ultimate fantasy?
JM: My ultimate fantasy is a music collaboration with all of my favourite artists and as many as possible! That’s my fantasy. A super project!
KE: What is your favorite landscape?
JM: Definitely the outback, the Australian desert specifically. Red earth with water holes. I love freshwater. I love to live between two places, sometimes with the red earth and sometimes in freshwater.
KE: If you had to be one of the two, which would you be: a Dolphin or a Kangaroo?
JM: Kangaroo for sure. Having grown up with them and being with them out bush they are for me the ultimate animal.
KE: What is your favorite record of all time?
JM: Would have to be ‘Daydream’ by Mariah Carey. *Smiles* Yeah, ‘Daydream’ for sure.
KE: Good choice! Who do you look up to the most?
JM: I would have to say, my mother. She is from a strong line of women who have survived a lot.
It’s nice to be a part of that bloodline. I would also call it a songline. They are essentially females who have powered through life and all of its challenges and also brought me here, a living being. So that’s really cool and I am grateful for that.
KE: Which garment has been your favorite that you have ever owned?
JM: I grew up in the ’90s and had mostly hand-me-downs but there was this one halter neck top that was passed down from my older sister that was electric blue with diamantes. It probably didn’t look that great on me but I rocked it anyway. *laughs*
KE: What do you love that most about Australia?
JM: There are a lot of things that I love about Australia, but most of all I love the culture. The fact is that Australia does flow deep culturally. I love the indigenous culture and also that it is so multicultural, so many faces and many, many colours.
KE: If Australia was a song what song would it be?
JM: Oh! My goodness.. I think it would be called ‘Songline’!
KE: Who is your favorite female voice?
JM: Mariah Carey! *sings loudly* “You’ve! got me feeling emotions.. deeper than I’ve ever dreamed of.. Ooh oh you’ve! got me feeling e-mo-tions, higher than the heavens abo-oove”
*Ellery team applauses loudly on set*
KE: Wow! Jess!! That was amazing. Your voice! I almost want to stop the interview so you can just keep singing but we have a few more questions to go.
If there was a film made about your life who would play the lead?
JM: Perhaps Cardi B *laughs*
I’m just kidding, but yeah that would be so gangsta. It would love that.
KE: What is your favorite flavor?
JM: *sings* “What’s your flava, tell me what’s your flava” I like chocolate. It’s a good flavor.
KE: If your life was a song which song would it be?
JM: Everything and anything by Prince!
KE: What’s your greatest fear?
JM: My greatest fear would be not doing what I’ve always wanted to do. Dreaming it but not doing it. Oh! And balloons! They are a big fear of mine. It’s a childhood thing. The popping, the sound of them, ugh.. I hate everything about them.
KE: And what scares you?
JM: I think being up really high scares me, especially as I have gotten older. If I can see the ground it’s fine but if I don’t see the ground then I’m scared.
KE: What has been your biggest joy?
JM: Being able to perform and sing. That has always been my greatest joy, being able to write and perform on stage – that is where I feel the freest.
KE: Where is home?
JM: Home is in Darwin, Australia. It is where all of my family live. I just can’t wait to get back there!
KE: And last of all, what is your idea of heaven?
JM: Heaven to me is taking my music and going back to basics. I think that music is so misunderstood these days and I would love to go back to when music was a simple joy.
KE: Thank you, Jess. Thank you for coming in and being our ELLERY WOMAN #05.It has been an absolute pleasure.
Since this interview, Jessica Mauboy’s latest record ‘HILDA’ debuted at number #1 on the Aria charts and is now available to listen to on Spotify.
A big thank you to the team that made this interview happen. It was the most fun that I have ever had on set.
Mikey Ayoubi: Stylist
Victoria Baron: Hair and Make-up Artist
Kitty Callaghan: Co-pilot
Tristan Kane: Digital Operator
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