Jessica Mauboy is about to go where no Australian-born artist has gone before; she's been selected to perform during the Eurovision Song Contest this May in Denmark.
The indigenous Australian pop star and actor is the reigning ARIA female artist of the year, and one of the biggest-selling homegrown artists Down Under. Mauboy will perform a "specially written" song during the interval for the second Eurovision semi-final on May 8 in the capital, Copenhagen.
Her Eurovision slot came about when organizers rewarded Australia's SBS for its ongoing support by inviting the state-funded broadcaster to choose a performer. SBS made the call.
"She is incredibly good and a huge talent, and she is really, really excited about travelling to Denmark and standing on the big Eurovision stage", says Mikkel Bech, supervising producer for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. "This is huge for her. When we told her that up in the region of 180 million people watch the Eurovision Song Contest, you could tell that she was thinking 'Gosh, this is going to be huge.'"
The Darwin-born singer has been a star in her homeland since she hit TV screens for the 2006 series of "Australian Idol" (she was runner-up). A string of platinum-selling No. 1 records, ARIA Awards and movie roles have followed. Mauboy appeared in the 2009 comedy "Bran Nue Dae" and turning heads with her starring performance in the 2012 feel-good film, "The Sapphires."
Mauboy's third studio album "Beautiful" (Sony Music Australia) arrived at No. 3 on the ARIA chart last year. Ahead of its launch, she told Billboard of her vision for cracking Europe. "There's plans for the U.K. I see a big picture there and a whole other level and story there. Europe is one place I know that my music is perfect for. I feel my music is so connected in Europe, I want to go over there and tour and have my music known there. And I'll fight for that to happen."
It would appear Mauboy has got her wish.
Mauboy won't be the first Australian to take part in the annual kitsch-fest. Olivia Newton-John, who is globally recognized as an Australian but was born in England, competed at Eurovision in 1974, when she represented the U.K. with the song "Long Live Love." The song finished fourth in the competition.