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Isaiah Firebrace received a gift on his 17th birthday that’s pretty hard to beat – winning X Factor Australia 2016. This was the night that he was crowned X Factor champion, having been catapulted into the national spotlight.
Oh, and Iggy Azaela bought him an Ipad.
This was a double triumph for the quietly spoken kid from Moama, having been eliminated the year prior because of some forgotten lyrics. Isaiah was determined not to let that happen again, making the 6 hour round trip to Melbourne every week for a year for specialist singing training. It’s a lesson in persistence and having the courage of your convictions.
“All I ever wanted was to be a singer. That’s what I said when someone asked what I wanted to do. There was no plan B.”
The hard work has paid off. Isaiah has now sung with his hero Jessica Mauboy (“Always been an inspiration. She’s shown me that as an indigenous person I can follow my dreams and do the same”) and formed a close bond with his mentor Adam Lambert (“We stay in touch, he’s been incredible”).
Isaiah’s debut single “It’s Gotta Be You” hit the top of the Australian ITunes chart and is starting to make some noise in Europe. “It’s Gotta Be You” was crafted especially for Isaiah by Australia’s hottest song writing team DNA.
“I was blown away when the DNA guys played it for me. I remember thinking ‘This is perfect.’ It’s got a great groove and is catchy as hell”
Growing up in Moama, money was tight but there was always music playing. Isaiah’s dad was a drummer and with a family of fourteen it was pretty easy to throw together a band. Isaiah is pretty sure he knows the lyrics to just about every song by Credence Clearwater Revival.
“Dad was always encouraging my music. He made sure I knew that it was ok to follow this path, which meant a lot.”
At high school no one even knew Isaiah could sing, until he unleashed a powerhouse vocal at a school event in year 8. These days he’s got the whole town behind him. Local café’s are even selling the ‘Isaiah Smoothie’ (“Delicious”) and ‘Isaiah Burger’ (“I’m vego so haven’t eaten it, but love that it’s there”).
Family means a lot. During high school Isaiah would enter and win local talent contests to earn extra money to help out; and winning X Factor is not just a ticket to fame but also a way to provide support for his own.
Now, a wide-open road lies ahead. Isaiah’s debut album is out and plans for some serious touring are being hatched.
“I’m really excited. The album will be out, I’ll be doing some gigging, meeting fans, it’s gonna be fun!”
Isaiah’s biggest musical influence is Mariah Carey (apart from Jess Mauboy of course). Not just for her incredible talent, but also the inspiration she’s provided to ‘Follow your dreams’. This is something that’s always stuck with Isaiah, and now he’s in a position to deliver the same. The messages he’s received from fans have largely been that of thanks and inspiration, particularly from the indigenous community. This is something that means a lot to the quiet kid with a big heart.
“I just hope that I can connect with my music, with my voice, beyond just the words of the song. I want to connect on a personal level, in a way that means something.”
Be humble, give back and follow your dreams – Isaiah Firebrace is about to take this to a whole new level.