celebrity

Jessica Mauboy's beloved 'Nanna Hilda' died in a freak fire. She was just 36 years old.

We first met Jessica Mauboy in 2006 when she auditioned for Australian Idol season four in Alice Springs.

She was only 16, and blew the absolute socks off the judges with her rendition of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Have Nothing.’

13 years later, Jessica is one of our greatest Australian stars, and she has just released her sixth album and in the process, given us a bit of a glimpse into her family life.

Here’s Jess’s new song ‘Little Things’. Post continues after video.

Video via Jessica Mauboy

A young Jess grew up in Darwin, her mother’s side of the family was from the Indigenous tribe KuKu Yalanji and her father was from West Timor.

She grew up with three older sisters and one younger sister and theirs was the “noisiest house on the block”.

Her parents were very musical; her mother sung and her dad played the guitar and they were all very involved in the local church choir.

Speaking to Anh Do’s Brush with Fame in 2017, Jess described her home life: “When I do think about it we weren’t poor, we were rich with togetherness.

“When kids did make comments about the shoes or what I was wearing it didn’t really matter. I was above material things.”

When Jess’s mother Therese was 10 her mother died.

Hilda was only 36, and was tragically killed when her grass skirt caught fire.

Jess carries her grandmother with her in her middle name and has named her new album after her.

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She recently released “Little Things” from the album and describes it on her Instagram as, “My most emotional song that I’ve ever shared, and I’m so thankful to see how many of you are already embracing it.”

The opening lyrics start with: “You don’t say I’m pretty, not like you used to. And I’ll never admit it, I’m trying so hard for you.”

The 30-year-old says the song is about her family.

Speaking to The Loop, Jess said writing this song made her realise what her mother went through.

“Watching my mother at a young age sit there at the table and try to figure out motherhood and having portrayed that story in the music video meant so much,’ she told the hosts.

“I mean, bringing five women into the world and not having a mother to tell her how to mother was an idea I had never known.”

Jess has been in a relationship with soccer player and council worker Themeli Magripilis since 2009.

They spent the first seven years of their relationship long distance between Sydney and Darwin.

He moved to Sydney with Jess in 2016, but the pair dash back to the Top End whenever she’s not working.

Jess Mauboy BF
Jess and Themeli in a rare photo shared to the singer's Instagram stories/ Jessica Mauboy.
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In an interview with WHO, Jess said of their relationship,"We're so in tune that I know that we'll be married one day. I know that we'll have kids one day".

After her appearance on Australian Idol, Jess's career has gone from strength to strength.

After achieving fourteen Top 30 hit singles and numerous ARIA accolades she tried her hand at acting, appearing alongside Geoffrey Rush in Bran Nue Dae, and then in the multi award-winning film The Sapphires.

Throughout her music career she's performed with Beyonce, Flo Rida and Chris Brown, and represented Australia at Eurovision in 2014.

But you might have noticed Jess hasn't been around for a while. She's actually had a six year break from music.

Speaking on Andrew Denton's Interview, Jess said she lost her love for music.

“I think I dedicated so much to it that I almost lost track of family, which is so important," she said.

“I just lost track of what music is and what it does, but on the other side I was also missing family.”

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Jess Mauboy has opened up about not making music for six years. Image: Seven.

“From the age of 11 to 30 (I dedicated myself) to music… but I think I just got lost a little bit in who I was and what I really wanted to do. There was a lot of noise, there was a lot of noise and a lot of doubt again, a lot of doubt had come back in,” she told Denton.

Jess says she's found her passion again writing Hilda, a dedication to her family and her childhood.

As she told Denton, she has rediscovered music in a "new light, in a new story and in a new way".

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