Australian Idol judge Marcia Hines on her success ‘secret’ and the one thing she doesn’t do

Singing legend Marcia Hines has revealed the secret behind her ability to keep at the forefront of the Aussie music industry, as she prepares for the 2024 season return of Australian Idol.

The 70-year-old pop and gospel icon has been juggling her commitments as a judge on the Channel 7 talent show with a tour across the country and two new albums.

But she has never taken her work and career — which has spanned six decades — for granted.

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And she says being able to pass on her knowledge to aspiring young artists is one of the most rewarding facets of all.

“It’s a really good thing to wake up and be grateful,” she tells, of the secret to her professional longevity.

“I love what I do… I love singing, and mentoring people is a nice thing because I came up in the industry and people mentored me and encouraged me, and that’s the least I can do for the kids on Idol.”

Marcia Hines, 70, performs in 2024. Credit: Brittany Long/WireImage

Hines also relies on a work ethos that she believes stems from her deep love of singing.

She is well aware that, to continue to be able to do what she loves, focusing on her health and treating her “body as an instrument” is key.

“You have to rest when it’s time to rest, you have to go home when it’s time to go home, and don’t stay up all night,” she said.

“I’m very good at sleeping.

“I like resting so if I have some downtime I’ll do that for maybe 45 minutes at the most and then I’m ready.”

American-born Hines says that throughout her career — which began at just 16 in an Australian production of the stage musical, Hair — she has never been a drinker.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with alcohol but I was just never brought up around it and it was never my go-to,” she said.

Australian Idol – 2024 judges Amy Shark, Marcia Hines and Kyle Sandilands. Credit: Seven Network

“So I don’t drink and I don’t suffer from any hangovers like that.

“I just think, you know, this body of mine is my instrument and I’m trying to do the best I can and take care of it.”

The singing mentor says Australian Idol, which premieres its 2024 season on January 29, has uncovered some “great talent” through the years.

Hines was a judge on the original series in 2003, and fulfilled the role for seven years before returning when the show was revamped in 2023 after a 14-year hiatus.

She helped discover artists including Guy Sebastian and Shannon Noll, in the inaugural contest; Casey Donovan and Anthony Callea in 2004; and Jessica Mauboy in 2006.

“I’m really happy to be back as a judge now,” she says.

Kyle Sandilands, Marcia Hines and Ian Dickson. Credit: Australian Idol

This time, she is joined by radio “shock jock” Kyle Sandilands and singer Amy Shark.

“I absolutely adore Kyle,” she said of reuniting with her fellow judge from the 2000s.

“He’s got a heart of gold. The persona that’s on the radio and the persona that I know are two totally different things.”

Recalling the Sandilands she knows, Hines looks back on an audition they were holding for Australian Idol where the contestant performed an emotional song.

“I looked at him,” she says, before gesturing about the tears that were streaming down Sandilands’ face.

Marcia Hines at the auditions for Australian Idol. Credit: Seven

“I thought, ‘What the hell happened to you, man’.

“Becoming a father and married has changed him. (His wife) Tegan’s the most beautiful girl too.

“I just think, you know, life has changed.

“He’s always had a big heart, I’ve always known it — but he’s never shown it.”

Australian Idol returns Monday January 29 on Channel 7 and 7plus.

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