Australian musician Jessica Mauboy on what makes her glow


“‘Glow’ was kind of like a compilation of all the moments that I never got to really celebrate.”

Often cited as Australia’s golden girl, Jessica Mauboy has been a household name since she burst onto the Australian music scene back in 2006. I vividly remember the image of a shy, 17-year-old Jessica auditioning for Australian Idol in the remote town of Alice Springs, belting out an impressive rendition of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Have Nothing’.

At the time, no one could have anticipated the profound impact she would have on advancing First Nations representation in the Australian media landscape. Now a name synonymous with female empowerment, the ensuing years saw her reach for greater heights, tallying up a number of impressive accolades spanning both the Australian music and film scenes. 

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Now, with a wealth of success behind her, she’s spent the past two years looking inwards and finding a new direction. Over the phone, Jessica’s infectious energy is palpable as she tells me how her time away from the spotlight gave her an opportunity to reboot and refresh. It was during this time that she began writing her latest single, ‘Glow’.

“I started working on this song last year in 2020… I felt like I was in a new space, in a kind of a place where I was dictating and, you know, just kind of planning and asking questions and having a reboot in a way; almost kind of starting again but… trying to bridge where I have been in my music catalogue,” she says. The disco-infused pop track that emerged from this time period fuses the 32-year-old’s love for EDM and funk, and signals a new direction for the singer. 

Her departure from Sony Music and subsequent new contract with Warner Music is indicative of this new direction. “Music is basically my freedom and my spirit, but it’s also my business” she tells me, vocalising her desire to steer her own ship.

“And not that I, you know, haven’t realised, but actually to take on all those jobs and know that I could handle it and I could do all of those things but [I] just needed the space and time to figure that out in a structure and a way that was right for me, so that I could give 100 per cent back to my team and we’d all feel really safe and know the direction.”

Talking to the inspiration behind the track, Jessica reveals ‘Glow’ is kind of like a compilation of all the moments that she never really got to celebrate. “If I look at the songs I’ve created and written, and every studio I’ve been in and every stage I’ve performed on and what that feeling has felt like when I put it all together… I felt really proud.” As highlighted in the opening line ‘Welcome to my future’, the soulful track is both a celebration of her past and an ode to the future.

Her time away from the stage encouraged her to reflect on what makes her truly ‘glow’, and she tells me the special connection she shares with her family and culture is a key driver in her happiness and confidence. “For me, it was being in touch with my family constantly through a change and making sure that I was voicing exactly what I felt. Where I grew up and the people that I know there and the people that know me there… that’s what makes me feel alive… I think the kind of relationship and bond I have with my family is super tight.

“As soon as I need a laugh I call my family, as soon as I need a cry I call my family, as soon I need to know a recipe I call my family… it makes me feel stable and balanced and ready to take on anything, and I think thats where I base my music as well.” 

She draws a similar parallel to the impact her parents had on her love of music, explaining “without my parents, or without particularly my mum, without her taking me to my auditions and forcing me to perform I wouldn’t be doing [this] or have found the love in music”.

And how she wants her listeners to resonate with ‘Glow’? “I want people to literally embody themselves… this idea of… going through life and being able to stretch yourself in ways you didn’t think was possible, I think this is what I want people to take away… you are in control of your shit, you know yourself, you know how far you can push yourself, so why not? Why not be entitled to that? You are entitled to your unique story.”

Looking to the future, Jessica tells me she wants to keep evolving as an artist. “I’ve been writing for the past two years and it’s been such a wonderful process. Working with people I didn’t think I’d be working with, and people I have been listening to and been so inspired by and admire so much… it’s kind of just the beginning so I’m excited to open the door to, I guess, a bridge between my first record to my last record – to something new.”

With a fresh new outlook and approach to writing, fans can expect to see the singer rise to new heights on her upcoming tour The Boss Lady, with glistening new sounds and a fashion refresh set to thrust her back into the musical and sartorial spotlight. It’s good to have her back.

You can listen to Jessica Mauboy’s new single ‘Glow’ here, and keep up with her here.

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