Kate Miller-Heidke says she hopes to convey the message of inclusivity and diversity as she prepares to represent Australia on the world stage at Eurovision.
The classically trained veteran singer-songwriter, who has been recognised on the pop charts and on the opera stage, beat nine other contenders to be chosen as Australia’s Eurovision representative.
The artists competed as part of the very first public vote for Australia's representative at the Eurovision - Australia Decides contest on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Co-written with her husband Keir Nuttall, Kate Miller-Heidke’s song Zero Gravity explores the singer's experience with post-natal depression, which she suffered after the birth of her son, Ernie, in 2016.
The 37-year-old told SBS World News that she continues to draw strength from the emotion and power of the song.
"I find it a very empowering song to sing and listen to."
"There’s this sort of emotional thread that happens when I sing. I access a part of myself that I don’t get to access normally and I guess I rely on that."
She said she experienced a bout of nerves before she performed the winning song dressed in a towering metres-long silver dress and headpiece.
"I was so nervous beforehand but once I got up there I could feel the energy of the crowd. They just pulled me along and I sort of lost myself in the song."
The exuberant crowd cheered the singer with fans also feeling equally uplifted at the end of the performance.
"She was amazing," one fan said. "It was phenomenal."
Miller-Heidke won both the jury and the public vote.
She said she is still in disbelief at being chosen to represent Australia at the global song contest in Tel Aviv in May.
“[I'm in] slight disbelief, I really really didn’t expect it,” she said.
"It’s an enormous honour and a responsibility - and I don’t take it lightly."
More than 700 songs were entered by artists into the competition on the Gold Coast during the three-week entry period last year.
Miller-Heidke said she will be thinking about the Eurovision message of inclusivity when she takes to the world stage.
“It means true inclusivity and diversity; and it means breaking down of genres and anything goes.”
Fans said they feel the song could be a winner at Eurovision in May.
"What an amazing performance. That is going to be top five. My guess: top five in Europe," one fan said, delivering his verdict.
The creative director of Eurovision – Australia Decides, Paul Clarke, said it is clear to see why Miller-Heidke won over the jury and the public.
“It’s a win for out of the box brilliance, which Eurovision devours," he said.
“It’s a standout song with mesmerising staging. Kate is a total original and Eurovision will love her. Electric Fields delivered a stellar performance, and came so close, but it was Kate’s night. I want to thank all the artists who made the first ever selection show a spectacular success and all the fans who got behind them. The road to Eurovision 2019 has begun!”
Queensland Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said Kate will be getting a proud send-off.
“Kate will be a wonderful ambassador for Australia and Queensland at Eurovision – showcasing our local talent to a global audience of around 200 million people.
“We were lucky to have just a taste of the global phenomenon that is Eurovision with Eurovision - Australia Decides on the Gold Coast. The Queensland Government supported the event through Tourism and Events Queensland and we wish Kate the performance of a lifetime in Tel Aviv.”
Forty-two nations will compete in the Eurovision final on May 18 in Tel Aviv, with Israel hosting the competition following the victory of Israeli singer Netta Barzilai and her song, Toy, last year.
Australia has participated four times at Eurovision since 2015, taking second-place in 2016 with Dami Im’s song, Sound of Silence.