Want to know how long it’s been since Damien Leith beat out Jessica Mauboy and Dean Geyer to take the title of Australian Idol? It’s been so long that Leith’s son Jagger, born the year after his Idol win, is now recording his own EP.
“He’s mad into production and he writes all his own songs,” Leith tells Mamamia. “It’s beautiful to see.”
Leith, who won Idol in 2006, is dad to Jarvis, Jagger and Kikki. Because of COVID-19, he’s had to cancel dozens of shows, which means he’s been spending his weekends at home with his family in the NSW country town of Scone.
“To be forced to not go away somewhere at the weekend has been absolutely brilliant,” he says.
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As well as helping Jagger record in the family’s home studio, Leith has been helping Jarvis with his guitar playing and Kikki with her videos. All three have inherited their dad’s love of music, including music their dad has written.
“My daughter has put up a TikTok video of herself dancing to one of my songs, and I didn’t ask her to do it!” Leith says with a laugh.
Leith, his wife Eileen Stapleton and their three children moved from Sydney to Scone in the Hunter region two years ago so he could take up a job in breakfast radio. Despite having to get up at 4am every day, Leith says he and his wife “haven’t looked back” since making the move.
“It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous place,” he says. “I’m originally from a little country town in Ireland, so I always wanted to revisit that whole idea of country life, especially with the kids.”
Living in the Hunter inspired the couple to write the script for a movie set in the region. Called Just Ruby, it stars Leith as an Irish singer visiting a small town in a time of drought.
“It’s a traditional sort of romantic movie,” Leith explains. “We describe it as like a Notting Hill in regional NSW.”
The movie has been shot and is now being edited. Leith admits it was a “funny thing” playing the lead in a romantic movie that he had scripted with his wife.