“The ‘Promo’ & Extra Gigs”: Ricki Lee Reveals Why She Left Young Divas

11 April 2023 | 9:15 am | Mary Varvaris

Ricki-Lee Coulter details the beginnings of Young Divas, the pressures, and what ultimately led to her decision to leave the band.

(This Time I Know It's For Real single cover)

Australian Idol alum and pop star in her own right, Ricki-Lee Coulter, has gotten candid about her departure from the girl group Young Divas in the latest episode of Chart Beats: A Journey Through Aussie Pop.

Episode 29, part one of two starring Coulter, goes from Idol and beyond, spending more time in her tenureship with Young Divas, which was never part of the plan.

“It was never pitched to me as ‘Hey, do you want to join a girl group?’ I would never have said yes,” she admitted. After placing seventh in Idol, Coulter said that she was approached about a co-headlining tour starring another three women from the show. 

Coulter, Paulini Curuenavuli, Emily Williams and Kate DeAraugo signed a contract for the tour and were subsequently asked to record a cover of the Donna Summer classic, This Time I Know It’s For Real, as a promotional single.

The cover hit #2 and reached Platinum status in Australia. “It went off. Suddenly, the tour went from three dates to a million dates,” Coulter said. "Then it became, let’s capitalise on this and record an album. Every step of the way, it was very clear that I’d do the tour, and then I was out. I still had a couple of albums left to deliver on my (solo) contract.”

2007 marked the end of the original lineup of the Young Divas, and for the first time, Coulter discussed her departure.

“All the promo, all the shows, all of these extra gigs” became too much, and Coulter lost her voice while on tour. 

“I had to have a sit-down with one of the guys in charge. I went in a room backstage by myself without the girls,” she began, explaining to her unnamed boss that she had a doctor’s certificate, which entailed a week of vocal rest.

“He was so enraged. He lost his mind. I’m a 20-year-old girl having an adult conversation with a grown-ass man. He was yelling, screaming, and then he threw a sandwich in my face. That is so wrong! Come on, dude,” she revealed. “That was very much the end of it for me. My voice is my career, and that’s how you’re going to react? I thought it was so embarrassing for him.”

Ricki-Lee Coulter released her latest single, the Sia-influenced On My Own, last month.

Check out the full Chart Beats episode starring Ricki-Lee here.