Jessica Mauboy
Jessica Mauboy

Jess Mauboy: ‘I never tried drugs’

SHE abandoned the temptations of the Harbour City to follow her heart, which took her back to her family in Darwin and a childhood where she grew up so poor that her grandmother made her clothes from op-shop material.

But Jessica Mauboy said she is grateful for her upbringing because it taught her to be the woman she is.

Jessica Mauboy will be doing an album signing and meet and greet at Liverpool Westfield on Thursday. Picture: Justin Lloyd.
Jessica Mauboy will be doing an album signing and meet and greet at Liverpool Westfield on Thursday. Picture: Justin Lloyd.

"They're my favourite memories of growing up because we learnt by our parents and grandparents how to create and make things from scratch," she told The Daily Telegraph.

"In a way it was survival, because they had to make their clothes because they couldn't afford them, so that taught me how creative they had to be without money.

"When I think about how I grew up that way I really value that and respect that because that's taught me how to live."

Mauboy got her start on Australian Idol in 2006.
Mauboy got her start on Australian Idol in 2006.

Mauboy, 30, will release her first album in six years, titled Hilda after her grandmother and is doing an in store meet and greet with fans at Liverpool Westfield on Thursday where she will sign copies of her first single, Little Things.

Those family values were not only the reason that she grew up humble and happy, but they're also the reason she never gave in to the pressures that come with showbiz.

She moved to LA for a period, toured with Beyonce and to the joy of her sisters even collaborated with Ricky Martin, Flo Rida, Snoop Dogg and Pitbull, but she never tried drugs or even really dabbled in alcohol.

Mauboy with Beyonce after their Melbourne show in 2009.
Mauboy with Beyonce after their Melbourne show in 2009.

"There were so many moments and not just being overseas but here in Australia too," she said of the temptations she encountered.

"People you love eventually do change and you'd hear things about what they've done and I think 'Now that I've heard their experience maybe I wouldn't do it that way'.

"I never went too deep, never did any drugs - the only thing was try alcohol - but there was never any of this going out to get hammered."

Mauboy said when people warned her of the dangers, she listened.

"I have really strong women in my life that had my back, saying 'don't do this, don't go there', because they have experience," she said.

Jessica Mauboy pictured in Darwin with her sisters Sandra, Jenny, Jessica, Cathy and Sophia
Jessica Mauboy pictured in Darwin with her sisters Sandra, Jenny, Jessica, Cathy and Sophia

"But having heard their experience in detail made me think 'thank you for sharing that, I'm not going to do that', whether it was drugs or alcohol or sexuality.

"I was so lucky to have older sisters that were open and stern with me."

It was her family that almost caused Mauboy to quit music completely because it was taking her away from the people that she loved.

She said by going home so infrequently and missing out on the big moments she felt as though she was betraying them - even if they never expressed that.

"I blamed music for taking me away from my family because it took up all of that time," she said.

Mauboy with parents Ferdy Mauboy and Therese Mauboy, at Sanderson Middle School during the Queen's baton relay in Darwin.
Mauboy with parents Ferdy Mauboy and Therese Mauboy, at Sanderson Middle School during the Queen's baton relay in Darwin.

"I grew up with a massive family who was always together, every birthday, Christmas Easter - to nothing.

"Every year I'd go back three or four times a year and most of the time (I felt like a stranger), because I didn't know any of my sisters' problems or what they were going through or their struggles.

"I was there one time for three days, so I was just hopping in and hopping out.

"It made me sad because I lost a lot of it, it felt like I was betraying them not being there."

It was through this record, Hilda, and combining the two loves - her family and her music - that allowed her to find a balance.

The album will be released through Sony in October and is available for preorder now.

Mauboy at home in Darwin with her sisters Jenny, Sandra, Sophia and Catherine. Picture: Elise Derwin
Mauboy at home in Darwin with her sisters Jenny, Sandra, Sophia and Catherine. Picture: Elise Derwin
She placed second but has by far been the most successful.
She placed second but has by far been the most successful.
Mauboy and Snoop Dogg released a song called Get Em Girls.
Mauboy and Snoop Dogg released a song called Get Em Girls.