Nothing can hold Ricki-lee down
ID of the dead weight that threatened to sink her pop career, Ricki-Lee Coulter is finally in control of her destiny.
The singer was forced to part ways with friends, family, a former record company and her ex-husband in recent times for fear of being held back.
Eight years after becoming a household name on Australian Idol, Coulter is calling the shots with the release of her third album Fear & Freedom.
‘‘It really is a celebration of the freedom and happiness I never had before,’’ Coulter, 26, says of the album.
‘‘I’ve had to fight and overcome a lot of hurdles and setback to get to this point in my life. It’s such a powerful feeling because I now truly feel like I could do anything now. I feel a bit like a superhero who could go outside and turn a car on its head if I wanted to.’’
The fresh confidence running through Coulter is a far cry from bouts of depression she suffered in the five years since her last album, Brand New Day. She claims she was controlled by other people, including friends and family, and was forced to confront her life with painful consequences.
‘‘I always tried to please everyone else and sometimes when you’re so busy making everyone else happy you forget to please yourself,’’ she says.
‘‘You look in the mirror one day and realise that you’re miserable and that’s a horrible thing.’’
The most heart-wrenching life edit was divorcing then husband Jamie Babbington in 2008 after their seven-year relationship.
Lyrical messages running through Fear & Freedom touch on the idea of following an inner voice, something Coulter learned first hand.
‘‘Getting divorced was the first of many of these things in my life that I’ve had to confront and overcome,’’ she says. ‘‘I got married and looking back I knew it wasn’t right but I still went through with it because I was afraid and I didn’t know anything else.’’
Scratching another seven-year itch, Coulter ditched her record company, Shock, after executives at the label were left lukewarm by some songs on Fear & Freedom.
After they threatened to slash her budget by more than half, Coulter made the leap to go it alone, believing the new songs to be the best of her career.
‘‘I took a huge risk in leaving and I was so scared because it could have been career suicide and these songs might never have seen the light of day,’’ she says.
‘‘But I had that thing deep down inside that said ‘no, you’ve got to do this’.’’
Coulter was quickly snapped up by EMI, who released the comeback hits Raining Diamonds and Do It Like That and her current single, Crazy.
The pop songstress has also found new management with her affairs now being looked after by her partner Richard Harrison.
Coulter believes all 10 songs on Fear & Freedom have the potential to be hits, with the empowering Burn It Down likely to be the next single.
Having previously been hung up on criticism and dented by her haters, there is a new sense of belief wrapped around her willingness to let go.
‘‘I’m at peace with who I am and I don’t compromise that for anyone now. I’ve got a team who encourage me and I feel so lucky,’’ Coulter says.
is due out on August 17. Ricki-Lee Coulter plays Westfield Chermside, Brisbane, on August 17 at 3.30pm (free show ) and Family Nightclub, in Brisbane, on September 9 (tickets $15).