Of all the concocted controversies that played out on The Voice – from Shauna Jensen’s fabulous diva strop to Delta’s embarrassing hipster glasses – surely Carmen Smith’s unceremonious dumping was the most unfortunate.

The industry veteran, one of the brightest sparks in the competition, found herself booted out of the show after the powers that be deemed she had an ‘unfair advantage’ thanks to her day job as a backing singer for Guy Sebastian.

“I’m not gonna lie, the day that it all came out, I wanted to bury my head in the sand for a long time. It was horrible, but the next day I texted Guy and said ‘PS – I’m available for the tour if you need me…’” she told the Star Observer.

“I thought, I can either wallow in this or get on with it. In some ways, I got handed a different opportunity – people remember the curly-haired girl who got kicked off!”

With that in mind, Smith’s picked herself up and dusted herself off, releasing an appropriately spiky new single, titled They Don’t Know Me.

“There is a stigma of people just seeing me as Guy’s back-up singer, and not really knowing what I’m about. This song is my way of showing them, because I didn’t really get a good chance to show that on [The Voice].”

A heady mix of funk, soul and even some enjoyably bonkers operatic backing vocals, the track goes some way to positioning her as Australia’s answer to Janelle Monae.

“Because I work for pop artists and I’ve written for pop artists, people might assume that’s what my music would sound like – but it’s not really where my heart is. That track is totally me and what I’m about. I’ve got a bit of rock and roll fire in me when I’m on stage, which I haven’t often got to show in the past.”

The track leads an EP that’s on iTunes now (alongside Smith’s previous two independently released albums), with more music to come early next year.

And while Smith insists she has no regrets about her time on the show, we had to ask – why did she sign up in the first place?

“It felt like a chance for professional singers to really be heard. I don’t think many people understand that there’s a difference between being a professional singer and being the artist you want to be,” she explained.

“People might look at me and think, she’s singing for Guy, she’s fine. I did hear a bit of that, but as fun as my job is, it’s paying the bills and it’s not who I am as an artist. Now it’s my chance to show that side of myself to people.”

INFO: They Don’t Know Me EP out now on iTunes. www.carmensmithmusic.com

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