If Australian singer-songwriter Samantha Jade were to describe her career, it would be "So close, yet so far".
She moved to the US to pursue her music dream at the age of 16. Within two years, she was writing songs for teen idols, such as the title track in the Hollywood animated film Shark Tale, which JoJo sang; and the dance track Positivity for Ashley Tisdale.
But Jade didn't really make it, at least by her definition, until she moved back to her homeland in 2012 and won the popular singing competition, The X Factor Australia. It was then and there that her rise to stardom began.
"Before the show, I was going to give up. I was like, 'I'll do the show. If it works, it works, if it doesn't, I'm going to get a completely different kind of job outside of music'," says Jade.
Now 26, the pop star recently played a gig in Hong Kong, and revealed details of her sophomore, yet to be named, album, due out in the next couple of months.
"I'm not finished with it yet, I have to find the right songs so that it'll be [solid]," she tells Young Post. "As artists, we want to come up with a solid piece of work, not just one song here and there."
Before the vocal sensation made it, she had every reason to despair. Despite the hard work she was putting in, her moment to shine remained constantly out of reach.
When she moved to America in 2002, her debut track was plunged into limbo as her record label in Perth folded.
Four years later, her supposed debut album My Name is Samantha Jade - which featured work from notable American producer Timbaland - was also withheld due to production setbacks.
Her title track for the dance movie Step Up failed to top charts, and I Need You Now, which she worked on with French producer David Guetta for his best-selling album One Love, was shelved last minute.
Before she entered The X Factor, Jade had already taken a factory job in Perth, where she worked on and off for two years.
Many people would've given up. But she never lost faith; all of the setbacks, she reckons, only made her stronger. Being in a singing competition motivated her again.
"There was a point when I hated the industry and I hated singing. I didn't love it anymore," she recalls. "But once I was on the show, I got to sing live again, and that's the favourite part for any singer. I was lucky to rediscover my love."
She says the contest was good for her because it gave her a chance to speak directly to the audience. Before that, she worked mostly behind the scenes.
Now that her career has taken flight, her goal is to establish her style, and pursue the kind of music she's passionate about - pop with an R'n'B touch.
But the singer, whose inspirations include Beyonce, Alicia Keys and John Legend, certainly doesn't want to be fixated on one style.
"One day, I'd love to make an acoustic record, just the guitar and me," she says. "But that's way down the line. For now I've got to establish my sound."