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From the school hall to the world stage

Nieve Walton and Kiara Aboo  |  02 February 2017

These artist's stories can inspire other Catholic school students to follow their musical dreams. 

Dami Im 

South Korean-born singer Dami Im took Australia by storm when she won the reality television singing contest The X-Factor in 2013. Dami then won the hearts of the world when she claimed second place in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. Dami moved to Australia with her family when she was nine years old and attended the ecumenical John Paul College in Queensland. Music was an integral part of her life, including singing pop songs with her parents and writing and recording Christian songs in both Korean and English. Dami participated in the Brisbane Full Gospel Church in Eight Mile Plains and in 2010 recorded the album Dream to raise money for the local church. She has come very far from her first paid gig at an up-market Chinese restaurant in Brisbane where she would sing for a couple hours each week. 

Tina Arena 

Filippina Lydia Arena, (better known as Tina Arena), began her singing career at the age of 5, in a spontaneous public performance at a wedding. She then went on to receive vocal lessons from Voila Ritchie, who suggested that she appear on the talent quest show, Young Talent Time. Arena soon became a regular member of the show and advanced to become a coach for other contestants. Arena attended St Columba’s College in Melbourne and her Catholic faith can be found in various songs of hers, such as ‘God Only Knows’ and ‘Heaven Help my Heart’. In both songs, Arena’s lyrics display her faith and trust in God’s plans for her future. She is also an official patron for Soldier On, a charity that assists mentally and physically wounded Australian soldiers. She has won various awards, both national and international, including seven ARIA Awards and two World Music Awards. She is also in the ARIA Hall of Fame. 

Anthony Field 

Anthony Field, also known as the Blue Wiggle, grew up in Sydney’s western suburbs as the youngest of seven children. Music was an important part of his family life, and he was taught guitar by his brother John. Anthony attended the all-boys boarding school St Joseph’s College, which his great-grandfather, an Italian immigrant and master stonemason, helped build. While still in secondary school, Anthony together with his brothers Paul and John founded the band The Cockroaches. In the early 1990s, Anthony studied early childhood education and this led him to eventually start The Wiggles. This children’s group became extraordinarily successful in Australia, the USA and parts of Asia. Since the very start of his career he has been heavily involved in charity work. Anthony is a devout Catholic and has been publicly recognised for his amazing service to the arts, community and as a benefactor and supporter of many charities. 


Harley Edward Streten, also known as Flume, grew up in Sydney. During his teenage years Flume attended St Augustine’s College in Sydney and began producing music as early as 13. Flume rose to fame in 2012, aged 21, when he won a Future Classic competition. As a result of winning he signed with a record label releasing his first single ‘Sleepless’ on iTunes. It went to number one on the iTunes Australia Electronic Chart for several weeks and was in the Top 10 for several months. Later that year, he released his self-titled debut studio album, Flume. This album reached number one on Australian iTunes charts and came second on the ARIA album charts. His song ‘Never Be Like You’ was voted into number one in this year's Hottest 100 in January. 

Samantha Jade 

Samantha Jade Gibbs, aged 29 was born in Perth, WA and attended Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School. Her singing talents were discovered early on, when she won a talent competition, singing ‘Amazing Grace’ at the age of just nine. 

At age 17, she had already signed with US record label Jive Records. Jade’s fame peaked when she won the fourth season of The X Factor, resulting in a recording contract with Sony Music Australia. Jade has contributed to various soundtracks in films including Shark Tale, Beneath the Blue and Step Up. 

Today, she is an ARIA Award-winning singer who has sold over 210,000 copies of her single, ‘What you’ve done to me’. 

Nieve Walton is a student at Thomas Carr College in Melbourne, while Kiara Aboo is a student at Avila College, in Melbourne. 



Topic tags: vocationsandlifechoices, heroesandrolemodels, australianidentity

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