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Kate DeAraugo Biography

Last updated: 04/05/2009 12:00:00 PM

Kate DeAraugo. Whatever happens from here, it's a name you won't forget any time soon. Kate DeAraugo - Our new Australian Idol.

Suddenly, all of Australia knows a lot about 20-year-old Kate DeAraugo. More than just a name, it feels as if a nation has fallen for her voice, her poise, her character. We've met her family, we know where she grew up. Her face is everywhere - television, the front pages of newspapers, magazines.

However, now begins a whole new journey for Kate. This is where it gets real. So forget what you think you know about Kate DeAraugo. Close your eyes, clear your mind and listen anew.

As for that earlier journey, Kate says there's a videotape collecting dust somewhere in the DeAraugo family home back in Bendigo, Victoria, that contains footage of what might forever remain the most important performance of her life. It features Kate as a 14-year-old, singing in public for the first time. Kate says she hasn't watched it in years. And nor does she really want to see it again anytime soon. For Kate, it's too emotional and just a bit plain weird.

"I was absolutely terrified," Kate says. "My knees were shaking, I was sweating. I was terrified. I remember it so well. It was horrible."

What makes this footage so special is not so much the song Kate sings (which was Carol King's 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow', just in case you didn't know that). It's what happens next, just as Kate finishes her song, that everything changes. Somewhere in the sound of all those hands clapping, somewhere in the moment where all Kate's terror and fears are instantly replaced by the most wonderful sensation she's ever felt, it's at this very moment that young Kate DeAraugo realises what she must do with her life.

"I thought, 'This is me. This is what I want to do. I like this feeling.'"

Kate was soon regularly performing around her country town in a duo with her uncle. Kate's age prevented the pair performing in clubs, so they performed wherever they could. "I became Bendigo's wedding singer," Kate says with a big laugh.

The next significant event in this formative period of Kate's career came soon afterwards when she met the woman who would become both her voice coach and life coach: legendary Australian singer, Vanetta Fields. During the rest of her high school years, Kate's musical education involved regular trips to Vanetta's home on the Gold Coast.

"I got up there every six to eight weeks," Kate says. "I would work for a week with her, five hours a day. And I would go home and process all that information and in another eight weeks, I would go back."

Within a couple of years, Kate's relationship with Vanetta had grown so close that the young singer left Bendigo to live and work with Vanetta full-time.

"It was meant to be a six-month thing and it's been nearly two years now," Kate says. "I learned a lot from just listening to her stories about people and life and situations. It's quite scary, actually, because her and my mum have become best mates, so she has become my mum as well. So I have got two mothers, which is quite stressful at times."

For all her efforts, one thing Vanetta couldn't teach her young prodigy was how to conquer that terrible stage-fright that Kate continued to suffer ever since that first ever performance. With a voice now ready to take on the world, Kate knew this was something she had to fix herself. Her career depended on it.

This weakness ruined Kate's auditions for the first two series of Australian Idol. In front of an audience of three judges and television cameras, a set-up which would soon become so familiar to her, Kate went to water, blew it. Kate was devastated.

It took a lot of convincing from Vanetta that Kate should audition for the third series of Idol, tackle her greatest demons (as well as those judges) face-to-face. Kate adopted a brand new attitude. It wouldn't be the end of the world - or her career - if she didn't become the new Australian Idol. And the rest, as we all know, is history.

And now, finally, Kate DeAraugo has realised her lifelong dream - to record and release her debut album, 'A Place I've Never Been'.

"I think it's great," Kate says of her debut effort, which, of course, features Kate's hit debut single, Maybe Tonight. "It doesn't pinpoint me to one genre. It's more about great songs. Which is perfect because I'm not into one particular style. I just love music in general."

Yes, Kate DeAraugo is the winner of Australian Idol. Yes, she 'beat' 25,000 other contestants to earn that title. Yes, it's what got her to where she is now, a high-profile recording artist with Sony/BMG, about to release her debut album. But forget everything you think you know about Kate DeAraugo because, for all her success so far, this is only the beginning...