Dami Im Opens Up About ‘Toxic’ Environment at Sony Music
Dami Im has once again spoken about her time with Sony Music Australia, revealing that she found it so mentally distressing, she frequently locked herself in the bathrooms to cry.
Im is promoting her new book “Dreamer”, which, in part, details her time with the record label and her decision to leave it.
She said her favourite chapter in the book is the one titled “Boardroom”, which details her meeting with Sony bigwigs as she attempted to take back control of her career.
“Essentially, I reached a breaking point where I thought ‘I’ve had enough’,” she said on “The Project” last night.
“And I went into a meeting and there were just men in suits, lawyers, just to intimidate me, I think. And I was clearly outnumbered, but I had to go in there. [I] told them, ‘If this is going to be my career, I can’t have this anymore. And if you keep wanting me to record these covers’ – that I wasn’t wanting to do anymore – ‘then I’m happy to be off the record label’. And I was essentially saying I was ready to give up my career and never sing again or record another album. I’ve had enough.
“And having that meeting, it was actually cathartic because that was the first time – I’m not a confrontational person – but to just step up and just say ‘Look, I’m done. I’m done with you and I’m leaving’.”
Im said she was compelled to speak out about her experiences with the “toxic” label when ex Sony staff members began sharing their stories. She realised artists didn’t appear to be in a position to criticise their label, so she joined the chorus of ex staffers, realising she had nothing to lose.
“For artists, no one’s really been able to step up and talk about this, because – I understand why – it’s really scary, and to think that your dreams will never come true again, you can never make music and, you know, we’ve been working all our lives to record these albums and it’s scary to come forward in case, you know, there’s a real threat that Sony could make sure that you never sing again,” she said.
“But I thought someone needs to come forward and talk about this, and I feel like I have the power and I’m in a position where I don’t really care of fear what they’re going to do to me. I still make the music I want and have a career.”
Im signed with Sony Music after winning “The X Factor” in 2013. In 2020, however, she defected to ABC Music.
In the wake of the fallout at Sony Music Australia last year, which included a culture crisis and the eventual departure of long-serving CEO Denis Handlin, Im was critical of the major label including its controlling culture and Handlin’s alleged meddling in her career.
In publicity ahead of “Dreamer’s” release, Im said this is the story fans have been waiting for, that she’s now ready to tell.
“I’ve been recording, travelling and performing non-stop for almost a decade, so it was timely that I got to pause and reflect on everything that has happened before going on to embark on new projects,” she said.
“It also feels really good to finally speak of things that I have’t been able to reveal before.”
Publicity for the book said “Dreamer” will tell the story of “fighting for your dreams and never losing belief in yourself, of not compromising your values even as those around you try to make you”.
Hachette noted: “In the years since “The X Factor” [Dami Im] has seen her ambitions squashed and creativity was not just ignored, but discouraged. But with the 2021 release of her album “My Reality”, she emerged as the artist she was destined to be.”
Dami Im’s “Dreamer” is out via Hachette Australia now.