My stepdad, Peter, came into our lives when I was eight. I have fond memories of playing games with him and looking forward to him coming home from work to throw a bucket of water on him or get him with the garden hose. He was my play partner: we would ride around on a dirt bike and jump on the trampoline.
I have two younger sisters, Natasha and Mellissa. My stepdad had two kids from a previous marriage and when they joined us it was like kids running amok. We’d build tree houses and play outside on our huge property. My mum and Peter had one son together, Anthony.
I started singing at the age of 12. Eventually I got a job singing three nights a week in restaurants and as a wedding singer. I didn’t hang around the family home much.
I wasn’t very popular at school [Emerald Secondary School] and didn’t give two shits about it. I already knew what I wanted to be. I had my first band, Milton, with three male friends – bass player Justin, guitar player Brent and drummer Tim. We had a lot of fun and wrote a record. It was during this time I started writing my debut album, The Power.
My parents made me finish year 12. It was torture but they said I had to have a backup after music.
The first record deal I signed was with Mark Holden and Jack Strom. Once my career took off, in 2000, I spent the majority of time with these two men. I have a lot of memories of going to Mark or Jack for guidance.
I don’t remember my first kiss, but I do remember grabbing a boy’s hand for the first time and initiating it. I was sick of waiting for it to happen and just went for it. I was around 14.
I was never attracted to musicians. They’ve always felt too close to home. As a teenager, I liked boys who were into cars and motor sports.
I had a crush on Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and was infatuated with his music and solo records. I met him in London when I was 18 and on tour. He was tall and had these crazy blue eyes. I thought, “Oh my God, he is not what I was expecting.” He was quiet and had a beautiful aura about him.
In 2009 I moved to LA, where later I met Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics. We have become close; he changed my life. I felt I had to be very formulated as a songwriter because I was known for a certain type of music. I was always taught to stay in my lane. He told me to follow my heart, to write gospel songs if that’s what I wanted to do, and take the consequences if it didn’t work out.
Jon Stevens is a super-supportive musician. When it came to choosing the first single from my forthcoming album, I went to him for help. He told me to choose what made me feel nervous and excited at the same time.
I met my husband, Rod Busby, at a coffee shop in LA five years ago. He is a martial artist and we own a gym in LA together. He is Brazilian and totally about his fitness routine. I fell in love the minute I met him. Our first conversation lasted for two hours. Within three months, we got engaged. We got married in 2017 on Halloween in the Kill Bill Church in Lancaster, California.
Marriage and kids were never in my plan, but meeting him meant my plan went out the window. I like being in a relationship but never needed a piece of paper to say someone owned me. I changed my view on that.
We have a son, Killian, aged three. He is headstrong like me. He’s not easily misled. I think it’s a case of karma coming to bite me in the arse.
Vanessa Amorosi is on tour throughout Australia in November and December.
This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale November 3.
Jane lives in Melbourne, spends her time collecting vinyl records, shops at Victoria Market and spends too much on shoes. She’s big on leopard print accessories, has been writing about fashion, music and lifestyle over two decades.