entertainment

She won The Voice. And then she vanished.

In 2012, Karise Eden was absolutely everywhere.

She was the first Australian to win The Voice, under the apparently nurturing eye of her mentor, Seal.

On the week she won, more than three-million viewers  watched  Karise get her crown, and a week later, she had four songs in the top-five ARIA singles chart.

To put that into perspective, Karise was the first artist to achieve that since the Beatles in 1964.

But it was what happened after the show finished that got everyone talking. After performing just four concerts on her national tour, her final shows were cancelled and she disappeared from the public eye in a cloud of rumours.

Tonight on Australian Story, Karise talked about why she disappeared from the spotlight, after having suffered a complete physical and mental breakdown after her experience on the show. Karise says, “If I could put one word on my journey over the last couple of years it would definitely be ‘turbulent’.”

She shared  stories from her troubled childhood, including her various diagnoses of mental illness, self harm and foster care. And the picture that emerged was of a young woman smart enough to know what she could not handle, what was bad for her mental health, and when to walk away from a “dream” that was running out of control.

Karise explains that while she was on The Voice Australia, she felt so much pressure to perform that sometimes, she didn’t even want to go on stage and was ready to walk out on the series.

“The night before I sang Hallelujah I actually had a big tantrum and on top of that I was very physically ill. I just said I can’t do this. Then later I did get into a vocal argument with Seal. He was just saying, ‘Is that it then? Are you just going to throw this all away?’ And I just said, ‘Well right now, I don’t care, I quit, I’m not playing a part of this, I’m over this,” Karise says.

Karise Eden and her mentor, Seal.

“He did call me later that night and had a few words to me, and some of it not that nice to hear because he was basically just calling me an attention-throwing princess and that never feels nice to hear. But at the time it was just a bit of a reality kick at the same time.”

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But winning the show did nothing to soothe the anxiety Karise suffered. In fact, it made it worse. Colleen Ward, a friend of Karise says, “Once she won, everybody was wanting her. She was the person of the moment. She was being pushed and pulled.”

Karise says fans were constantly coming to her to share their own issues of self-harm and depression. “I didn’t know what to say, I was 19, only a kid myself,” she says. “I felt like a fake, like a joke.”

Karise Eden.

Karise says she hit “rock bottom,” as the pressure mounted, and called off her Voice tour just three days in.

Jimmy Poster, sound engineer for The Voice says, “It left people wondering what happened to her. Was she okay? Where was she? What was going on? This amazing voice we’d heard had vanished.”

This is the first time Karise has spoken about her experience on the show, explaining, “It’s been a huge secret. This will probably be the first time I’ve spoken out. Only my close family and friends are aware of truly what happened.”

Now, three years after winning The Voice Australia, Karise says she finally feels ready to step back into the spotlight.

Karise insists that she is now emotionally ready to take on the pressures of a music career in the public eye. She’s happily engaged, expecting a baby boy in December and is living in a home she proudly bought for herself in rural Queensland after The Voice.

“Yeah I definitely feel like I’ve been living under a rock and I’m finally crawling out. I’m excited. I’m pumped. I’m nervous. I’m ready.”

Tune into Australian Story on ABC at 8pm tonight to see Karise’s exclusive interview.

This post was originally posted here by iVillage and is republished with full permission.