X Factor star well grounded

Dami Im

Australian Eurovision 2016 contestant Dami Im came runner-up on votes, but the real talk around her focused on her incredible ability to represent her adopted country with none of the ego and detachment often seen in pop stars.

The classical pianist and piano teacher first came into the spotlight when she won X Factor Australia in 2012 by giving the voting public what they wanted: a star of ability and character.

That reputation persists, as The Herald Sun recently noted, "Entertainment journalists and industry figures around the country will tell you, Dami is one of the nicest people you could meet in a business that can be full of egos, divas and tantrums."

At a Eurovision press conference in May the 27-year-old characteristically did not tout her abilities, instead saying, "My parents have been praying I would get selected – and that's why I was selected."

The daughter of a Korean opera singer and an IT businessman, Dami was a natural on piano but struggled to find her place in Australia when she arrived with her mother and brother at age nine.

"I felt really lonely from not being able to speak English," she shared with Wesley Impact TV. "I was always this shy kid, stuck in between the Korean and Australian communities."

She won piano competitions and played for the school choir, but would have kept her passion for singing secret if not for the warm environment of her local church.

As her parents took her to church every Sunday Dami says she found her voice and a relationship with Jesus that has been her bedrock ever since.

"I sung in the church band, and slowly friends told me, 'You're really good at this'. I gained confidence because church is not as judgemental as other places."

Dami says she started to pray to God in her teens because she "didn't really know who Jesus was".

"I asked, 'God are you really there. Jesus, is this all true?'"

God's loving response to her changed her life, as she says, "From then on, I started to really believe in [Jesus], that He exists and that He died for me and for my sins [against God]."

Dami says she was able to keep her feet grounded in torrents of social media praise and abuse during X Factor and Eurovision by reading the Bible and praying every day.

She calmly endured ugly criticism when she forgot her lyrics on X Factor and was eliminated, only to be recalled when another contestant dropped out.

"I don't think I could handle it without holding on to my faith ... It's the truth that doesn't change," Dami told The West Australian in 2013.

"[The Bible] doesn't say one day you are good and the next day you are this way and that, it's stable, it's a rock ... It helps me remember who I am."

Dami deflected racist criticism during Eurovision "by reminding myself I am making songs to help people connect and use the talent God has given me."

As for the reason she won X Factor in 2012, Dami told a national women's magazine that every night many contestants were off partying, while "I would be in my room, practising."

Dami Im 2

Wherever her career goes her desire is to be a quiet example of Jesus' name and true character, instead of the curse word many refer to.

"When people hear the name of Jesus they should feel the warmth, that He is someone loving and you want to know Him," she says.

"Jesus really loves us. He sacrificed Himself so that we could... know the love of God and have that [broken] friendship with God [restored] again.

"I believe that it's really important... for people to know that they're not alone, that God really cares about you, God loves you and He's done that by Jesus taking all our sins and faults by dying on the cross."

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