Even in the program’s top-rating heyday, winning Australian Idol was never a sure path to success: remember, for every Guy Sebastian there’s a Kate DeAraugo.
Even so, 2007 winner Natalie Gauci seemed to get a particularly raw deal. Winning the show just as the public started to tire of it, she was the first Idol victor not even given the opportunity to release a studio album before she parted ways with record company Sony BMG, dropped after just one single and a hastily-recorded Winner’s Journey album of covers.
Three years on the talented 29-year-old has reinvented herself as a dance diva, thanks to a cracking new single Dreamer, released with producer Paul Brandoli under the moniker Tune In Tokyo.
This turn to dance is making queer fans pay attention — she played to an enthusiastic reception at the closing night of Sydney gay club Live earlier in the month — and it’s actually Gauci’s love of the gay scene that was behind the genre shift.
“I started going out to a lot of gay clubs about 18 months ago, and that’s how I met Paul. My husband Hamish and I tend to go to gay clubs instead of straight clubs because it’s more fun and not as rough; it’s a vibe we really like,” Gauci told the Star Observer.
“Dreamer was the very first song we wrote together. It’s hard, because we now have a standard that’s quite high, so we have to keep writing good songs.”
So high, in fact, that the song’s already been nabbed by Spanish pop starlet Soraya, who released it in September as the title track for her latest album. Cue misinformed online rumblings from Soraya fans accusing Gauci and co of stealing the singer’s work.
“Sometimes it takes a little while for a song to be released, and I think Soraya was meant to be releasing her version next year. Now it seems like we’ve done a cover of her song, but we wrote it,” Gauci said.
“It’s all a little bit strange, but I think it’s worked out for the best — now the song’s being promoted internationally by a famous European singer.”
And Soraya will have to try her hardest to outgay Tune In Tokyo’s video for the track. Directed by Melbourne director/model Dan Brophy, a past Sleaze Ball poster boy, it’s a relatively simple affair — an array of fierce, queeny gay boys vogue like their lives depend on it in front of a white screen while a glammed-up Gauci rocks out to the track.
“Dan asked me what the song was about, and I told him it was about coming out — not in a gay-specific sense, but in a sense of being the person you think you can be,” she said.
“I was called a dreamer in high school, but I’ve always been like that. So Dan gave me the DVD of (1990 drag documentary) Paris Is Burning to watch, and suggested the idea of these teenage boys who want to get out of their skin and dress up and dance.”
info: Dreamer (OneLove) is available now on iTunes.