Ricki-Lee Coulter Biography 1985-
Ricki-Lee Coulter has always wanted to be a singer. “As a little kid I used to lock myself in my room and put on my Whitney Houston CD’s and pretend to be her and try and hit every single note that she hit,” she admits. “I used to dream that one day that would be me.” This buxom brunette took the first step toward realizing that dream in 2004 when she auditioned for the reality TV series Popstars. Ricki-Lee’s strong vocals and powerful presence helped her stand out from the crowd and she made the show’s top 60 before being sent home following a subsequent round of cuts.
Undeterred, Ricki-Lee auditioned later that year for the second season of Australian Idol and this time around she wouldn’t be denied. Her stirring renditions of “Work It Out” and “Proud Mary” transformed her into an overnight sensation and she finished in seventh place after being favoured by many to win the competition. Outspoken Idol judge Ian “Dicko” Dickson even went so far as to declare the results a “scandal,” and encouraged Australians “to get off your arses and vote.”
Although the results may have been disappointing, Ricki-Lee Coulter still managed to cash in on her fame by signing an exclusive recording contract with Shock Records, Melbourne’s largest independent label. The company gave her the space and encouragement she needed to succeed and she responded in 2005 with “Hell No!” and “Sunshine,” a pair of catchy top 10 singles that received heavy airplay throughout Australia.
Ricki-Lee Coulter continued her hot streak on October 3, 2005 with the release of her eponymous debut album. The upbeat 14-track compilation received glowing reviews from the press and went onto to become the country’s third most successful independent album of 2005.
By now a certifiable star, Ricki-Lee Coulter took a break from her solo career in 2006 to join the Young Divas, a fabulously foxy quartet featuring fellow Australian Idol contestants Paulini Curuenavuli, Emily Williams and Kate DeAraugo. The group’s pedigree attracted immediate attention and their first two singles, “This Time I Know It’s For Real” and “Happenin’ All Over Again” became top 10 hits. Emboldened by their success, the group embarked on a three-month tour of Australia and later released a double platinum-selling self-titled album featuring classic disco and pop covers.
Although Ricki-Lee enjoyed performing with the Young Divas, she also longed to return to her own projects and she announced on June 23, 2007 that she was leaving the group. “I just couldn’t do it all – I really had to get back to doing what I love doing, and that was my solo career,” she says. “The girl’s were great, they understood completely.”
Any disappointment her fans may have felt was alleviated on August 11, 2007 with the release of Brand New Day, Ricki-Lee’s second solo album. An arresting blend of pop, R&B, soul, and dance, the record climbed to No. 8 on Australia’s independent charts thanks to hit singles like “Can’t Touch It,” “Love Is All Around” and “Can’t Sing A Different Song.”
“A lot of my songs on the album were about things that happened on my journey — all the ups and the downs,” she explains. “Everyone thinks that it’s all so glamorous [but] I’m like everyone else. I go through things that everyone else does.”
The tremendous success of Brand New Day led to Ricki-Lee’s first national headlining tour in March 2008, and also prompted Hilary Duff to handpick her as the opener on the Australian leg of her Dignity Tour later that year. She has since sold out venues throughout the country, released a compilation of her 15 most popular singles and made multiple appearances on Australian Idol as a mentor to the program’s young singers.
Ricki-Lee Coulter is currently putting the finishing touches on Hear No, See No, Speak No. This deeply personal album documents her breakup with Jamie Babbington, to whom she was briefly married from September 200, until October 2008. “The whole album is like a diary of the breakup,” she says. “It’s the confusion, the not knowing what to do, the ups and the downs — it’s a rollercoaster and merry-go-round of a breakup. It’s the not knowing what to do and making the decision of — ‘No, that’s it’ — and then finding empowerment and finding strength to walk away.” Hear No, Speak No, See No will be available in stores throughout Australia on November 20, 2010.