Today I met Australian Idol winner Natalie Gauci; she was helping promote Honor a brand of mobile phone  – which included taking a cheeky selfie or two –  and luckily for me I managed to get one with her afterwards! (Ignore the big cheesy grins)

Hi, thanks for agreeing to chat with me. I must say I was very impressed with your performance.
Thank you very much.

What do you think of Liverpool and the University?
Love it! It’s great here!

What do you like about the University?
You have a wonderful grand piano in the hall.

Have you had a go on it?
No not yet (laughs).

How was your experience on Australian Idol?
Well you are famous very quickly and you have to learn to deal with that, I didn’t go in to win, I just went in for some exposure. I did enjoy the success, playing with Lionel Richie at the royal Albert Hall with such a huge crowd was amazing, but I’m also aware of the potential psychological damage which, no matter how much money you have, could cause irreversible damage. 

How did you deal with that scrutiny?
With a lot of crying. I received criticism for my ‘Endless Love’ performance, despite it being something I really wanted to sing, and the claims that it was terrible and out of character were unjustified – it was a cover so there is only so much you can do! I thought I sung it really well so the harsh words affected me but in morning I decided I didn’t care what they thought.

Would you say the experience was on the whole positive or negative?
Both; like I said before, playing to big crowds was a great experience and it gave me values that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, however the problem with the show is everyone wants you to do stuff for other people and not for yourself, which is what’s important: values for yourself.

What do you think of the current state of shows like this?
Would the world be better without the X Factor? Maybe; I don’t think we need it anymore, and I’d advise anyone thinking about joining a talent show against it. However with the amount of people putting their content out there it’s really difficult to be seen, so on this front I understand why they do it.

What did you do after the show finished?
It was strange: I didn’t really know what to do with myself afterwards; I was lonely and had to decide if it was what I wanted to do, so I went away from it all and dedicated myself to practicing, working hard and honing my craft.

What’s your ‘For the Brave’ campaign all about and how did you get involved?
It’s all about knowing who you are. Honor thought I was brave to go through Idol. They then asked me to be the ambassador for the phones who are brave by competing with giants like LG.

What were your influences?
Well the recent Florence and the Machine album (How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful) is really well constructed and their earlier albums have had a big influence on me. I also like a bit of soul – Alicia Keys and Norah Jones spring to mind – and I’m also a big fan of jazz, especially Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, the latter being one of my all time favorites.

Did you use any as inspiration for your music?
All of them – they’ve all helped in some way.

What do you think of intimate venues such as this in comparison to your time at Australian Idol?
They’re actually more challenging as people aren’t focused on your music (they’re more concerned with drinking coffee!) but they’re real, genuine people who have no hidden agendas. 

Anything upcoming?
Yeah, ‘Freaky’ has just been released today which I’m really excited about! I’m also working on an album but I don’t know when that will be released (laughs).

What do you do outside of singing?
I’m a teacher: I teach people singing; song-writing; that sort of thing. Mainly how to build confidence whilst performing.

How do you teach confidence?
Breathing! Confidence comes from your breath…

It was a pleasure speaking to you, thank you for your time and I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay here in Liverpool.
Thank you!

Check out my review of her performance here.