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.
“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.”