THE Jessica Mauboy we know today is a very different woman from the cherub-faced teenager thrust into the spotlight at 14.
Mauboy's first taste of fame came when she won over judges at the Telstra Road to Tamworth talent contest with a cover of Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want To Have Fun.
Mauboy is the first to admit she wasn't ready for the industry back then.
"I just needed the time to grow," she says. "I think I have grown up."
Two and a half years later she was ready to give it another go, coming runner-up on Australian Idol behind Damien Leith.
Her performances scored Mauboy a record deal with Sony BMG, but she has taken her time. Instead, she continued school and joined all-girl pop group the Young Divas.
"I have been waiting for the right time because I wanted my first record to sound like me and not like it had just been put together by the label," the quietly confident teenager says.
"So I went off and did my own thing and came back with the results and they loved it."
Mauboy, now 19, titled her debut solo effort Been Waiting. The first single, Running Back, has been a huge hit.
The song, featuring a guest appearance from US rapper Flo Rida, has remained in the top five on the ARIA singles chart for seven weeks and was last week in fourth position, behind Beyonce, Kings Of Leon and Lady GaGa.
Running Back was inspired by a relationship break-up and Mauboy said she warned her ex-boyfriend when she realised the song was going to be a hit.
Mauboy's album, Been Waiting, was originally due for release next year but was brought forward due to the success of the single.
Mauboy appears to have taken inspiration from the likes of Rihanna and Beyonce with her sexy new image, embracing her curves and taking on the help of Sydney couturiers Master/Slave.
"I have grown up," Mauboy says. "Listening to the whole album, I've written about falling in and out of love and being hurt.
"Being in relationships has really helped me to grow."
Mauboy has also been busy filming her first feature film, Bran Nue Dae, in Broome opposite Geoffrey Rush, Deborah Mailman and Missy Higgins.
Been Waiting and the new single, Burn, are out now.
Article by JONATHON MORAN and KATHERINE FIELD Date: November 30, 2008 , 12:00AM sourced from news.com.au
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