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My Australian Life: Vanessa Amarossi

As told to Ros Reines

Vanessa Amorosi, 39, isn’t just a voice of Australia but a beautifully gritty part of our soul.

She was the only artist to perform at both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games 20 years ago this month as well as the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics. Her songs from that time including Shine and Absolutely Everybody became our unofficial anthems.

Amorosi currently lives in LA with her American husband, Rod Busby and their young son, Killian whom she hopes to school here. She has a new album The Blacklisted Collection and a single, Isolation, The Storm Will Pass. All proceeds from this single will go to Support Act - a charity set up to help all those in the music industry doing it tough during Covid.

I wrote `Isolation’ in LA in the early days when Covid took hold. I had been planning another tour but everything was cancelled. For a little while, I wrestled with my demons, then I started to write in my home studio."

LA is so far removed from where I grew up in country Victoria, in a town called Emerald. At the time I thought that everyone lived like us with a big acreage on a country block. There were kangaroos visiting in the morning with the fog closing in. We would always be on the lookout for snakes… I took it all for granted until I started travelling and realised we had the most incredible country.

It’s only when you’re away that you appreciate the true Aussie character. We’re a very tough lot and we always soldier on. We’re also very community based. You’re usually friends forever with the kids at school. I feel so lucky to have grown up in Australia and to have so many wonderful people in my life because of that.

I was touring here last year and got to see a very different part of the country. One of the places I discovered is Coolangatta. I love that it’s a little town on the beach.

Growing up I was basically a shy person but I become someone else when I’m on stage. That’s what happened when I sang at the Olympics. I also had no idea that the audience was in the billions then, that’s what saved me. I was just so excited to be there with some of the Australian performers who were household names. It was one of the best moments of my life. It was then I realised that I could be a singer. There had been so much struggle up to that point and I just thought it was the biggest victory. I felt like I’d found my place in the world.


Ros Reines is a Sydney journalist and the author of four books. She is currently penning her fifth - a memoir of a life in the media.

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