Dami Im (Korean: 임다미, born 17 October 1988) is a South Korean-born Australian singer, best known as the winner of the fifth series of The X Factor Australia in 2013. She subsequently signed with Sony Music Australia and released her winner's single "Alive", which debuted at number one on the ARIA Singles Chart.
Dami Im was born in South Korea and emigrated to Australia at the age of nine, with her mother and younger brother. Im's father Dong Eal Im stayed in South Korea to support the family. Her parents now live together, spending part of the year in Australia and part in South Korea. Im taught herself to sing by recording herself copying her favourite artists. At the age of 11, she began studying at the Young Conservatorium of Music program at Griffith University. Aside from singing, Im is also a violinist and pianist. She was a national finalist in the Yamaha Youth Piano Competition, and won the Nora Baird Scholarship and the Queensland Piano Competition several times. Im attended John Paul College in Daisy Hill, Queensland and graduated in 2005. She never sang while at school and would only accompany the choir on piano, and play violin for the school's Silver Strings group. In 2009, Im graduated from the University of Queensland with first class honours in a Bachelor of Music. Prior to entering The X Factor, Im was a music and piano teacher.
Im had a short career as a gospel singer in Korea. In 2010, she released a studio album, Dream, which consisted of nine tracks and was recorded to raise money for church endeavours. In July 2011, Im re-released the album with two extra tracks, which were both sung in English. On 5 December 2011, Im released a Christmas extended play called Snow & Carol, which consisted of seven tracks. On 9 July 2012, Im released Intimacy, which consisted of five tracks.
Im successfully auditioned for the fifth series of The X Factor Australia in 2013. She sang "Hero" by Mariah Carey and progressed to the super bootcamp stage of the competition. On the first day of bootcamp, Im was placed in the Under 25 Girls category and sang "I'm with You" by Avril Lavigne in front of her entire category and judges Redfoo, Ronan Keating and Dannii Minogue. On the second day of super bootcamp, she was put into an ensemble of 10 and they sang "Next to Me" by Emeli Sandé in front of the judges. Im made it to the third day of bootcamp, where she sang "Jolene" by Dolly Parton to the judges and a live audience of one thousand. After the judges made changes to the Boys, Girls and Overs categories, Im became part of the newly formed Over 24s category and she got eliminated. However, Im was called back for home visits in New York City to replace Matt Gresham who decided he could not commit to the competition. During home visits, she sang "If I Were a Boy" by Beyoncé in front of her mentor Dannii Minogue and guest mentor Kylie Minogue. Dannii later selected Im, along with Barry Southgate and Cat Vas, for the live finals—a series of ten weekly live shows in which contestants are progressively eliminated by public vote.
For the Judges' Choice-themed first live show, Im sang "One" by U2 and received a standing ovation from the judges. Natalie Bassingthwaighte said she had "the best vocal of the night." Im's performance of "One" peaked at number 42 on the ARIA Singles Chart. For the Legends-themed second live show, she sang "Purple Rain" by Prince and received another standing ovation. Keating told Im that the competition "at the moment, is yours." Her performance of "Purple Rain" debuted at number 29 on the ARIA Singles Chart. For the Top 10 Hits-themed third live show, Im sang Thelma Houston's version of "Don't Leave Me This Way", and her performance of the song debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number 67. Following the eliminations of Vas (in week two) and Southgate (in week three), Im became the only remaining contestant in the Over 24s category. After her performance of Katy Perry's "Roar" in the Latest and Greatest-themed fourth live show, Im received her fourth consecutive standing ovation from the judges. Im's performance of "Roar" debuted at number 44 on the ARIA Singles Chart. For the Rock-themed fifth live show, she sang "Best of You" by the Foo Fighters and received her fifth standing ovation. Keating told Im that it is "an honour to work on this show with talent like you." Im's performance of "Best of You" debuted at number 78 on the ARIA Singles Chart.
Following Im's performance of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water" in the Family Heroes-themed sixth live show, her mentor Dannii notably teared up as she dedicated Im's song choice to her parents and grandfather, following the death of her grandmother. Im's performance of "Bridge over Troubled Water" debuted at number 15 on the ARIA Singles Chart. For the Judges' Challenge-themed seventh live show, Im sang Zedd's "Clarity", which was chosen by Keating, and her performance debuted at number 77 on the ARIA Singles Chart. Im received a mixed feedback from the judges following her performance of John Farnham's "You're the Voice" during the Aussie Week-themed eighth live show. Keating said "it was pitchy and a weak performance" and Bassingthwaighte agreed. For the Power and Passion-themed ninth live show, Im sang "Saving All My Love for You" by Whitney Houston and "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus. Her performances of "Wrecking Ball" and "Saving All My Love for You" debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at numbers 61 and 85 respectively.
During the grand final performance show on 27 October, Im was required to perform three songs – her audition song, winner's single and last shot song. Im's winner's single was "Alive" and her last shot song was "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going". Her performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going", which debuted at number 29 on the ARIA Singles Chart, saw all four judges standing on the desk. Redfoo said Im's performance was "the best thing I've ever seen in my life", while Dannii added that she is "world class." Im's performance of "Hero" debuted at number 62. During the grand final decider show the following day, Im was announced as the winner.
After winning The X Factor, Im's single "Alive" was released on iTunes. She also received a recording contract with Sony Music Australia and a management deal. Four days after release, "Alive" debuted at number one on the ARIA Singles Chart and was certified Gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association for selling 35,000 copies. In November 2013, Im will embark on The X Factor Live Tour across Australia with Third Degree, Taylor Henderson, Jiordan Tolli and Jai Waetford. Her self-titled album Dami Im will be released on 15 November 2013, and features studio recordings of songs she performed on The X Factor.
Im was selected by broadcaster SBS to represent Australia at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm, Sweden where she will perform a new song called "Sound of Silence". She was revealed as the Australian representative on March 3, 2016 during 2014 winner Conchita Wurst's concert in Sydney.
Im cites Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae and Chris Tomlin as her musical influences. Aside from singing, she also plays piano and violin.