Jazzella Coogan is continuing to follow her dreams 20 years on.
Jazzella Coogan is continuing to follow her dreams 20 years on.

This star was born to sing: Jazz taking industry by storm

AT JUST the age of three, it was clear Jazzella Coogan was going to be a star.

With a voice to be reckoned with, the talented young girl posed for her first of many editorials in the Daily two decades ago.

Now 20 years on, Jazzella continues the determination to ensure her name is one the Coast music industry will never forget.

The Parrearra woman said her first big break recorded in the paper gave her the confidence to carry out her dreams.

A newspaper clipping of Jazzella Coogan from when she appeared in the Sunshine Coast Daily 20 years ago.
A newspaper clipping of Jazzella Coogan from when she appeared in the Sunshine Coast Daily 20 years ago.

“It definitely makes me feel grateful to be part of such a supportive community,” she said.

“I’ve always loved music, and the Sunshine Coast Daily has been really nurturing and so supportive of local artists getting out there and following their dreams.

“It always made me feel like I’m going to make it because they believed in me.”

Hustling her way through gigs in high school, Jazzella was awarded a major opportunity in 2013 when she appeared on competition show X Factor.

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“That went pretty well, I made it to the top 10 girls of Australia,” she said.

“Then as soon as I graduated from school at 17, I booked a huge tour all by myself and started in Cairns … and we ended up performing in every town from Cairns all the way down to Sydney and played over 100 shows.”

Singing at least five times a week across the state, all of Jazzella’s dreams were coming true.

That was when her ambitions came to a grinding halt.

“I had just started booking a lot of band gigs, but then I started to encounter a lot of huskiness and problems,” she said.

“I started realising I wasn’t recovering from my gigs as much.

“I went to get it checked and was diagnosed with vocal nodules.”

Jazzella continued to perform despite the shock diagnosis, but the problem quickly worsened.

“I kept pushing and singing and then it got to … I was about 21 and I couldn’t talk,” she said.

“My confidence was faltering a little but I kept pushing and it even got to the point where I’d go in the morning to order a coffee, and the people would say ‘speak up, we can’t hear you’.

“I couldn’t even order a coffee because they couldn’t understand what I was saying.”

The prospect of ending her music career was devastating to the young performer.

“I realised something had to change and so I pulled back from gigs, but it was difficult to do that because music is the one thing that really made me feel like me,” she said.

“To stop was … I just couldn’t comprehend that that would be the answer.”

Jazzella in her Sunshine Coast home. Photo: Warren Lynam
Jazzella in her Sunshine Coast home. Photo: Warren Lynam

Yet as COVID-19 restrictions kicked in, Jazzella said the time off from performing gave her the chance to find balance once again.

“I went to get my voice checked and the problem had completely gone,” she said.

“The last time I got it checked was a year ago, and they told me the issue was three times as big, and so swollen, and that I would have to get surgery.

“Somehow I’ve managed to heal it naturally … now I can talk. That’s one thing I will never take for granted again.”

The difficult experience has given Jazzella more passion than ever, as she prepares to release a new album in the coming months.

“I’m actually grateful for the journey because now I have so much more respect for the craft, I’ve learnt so much along the way,” she said.

“I’ve managed to write all the songs on love, loss, trying to follow my dream and it’s made up this really groovy kind of jazz album that I’m now recording with local producers.

“I’m feeling really positive and just so excited to release this music.”

Those interested in following Jazzella’s journey can listen to her music here.