Ricki-Lee Coulter (born 10 November 1985) is an Australian singer, songwriter, television and radio presenter. In 2004, Coulter placed seventh on the second season of Australian Idol, and subsequently signed a record deal with independent label, Shock Records. Her self-titled debut album was released the following year, which spawned the top 10 singles, "Hell No!" and "Sunshine"; both songs were certified gold by the ARIA. In 2006, Coulter briefly became a member of all-girl pop group Young Divas, before resuming her solo career in 2007.

Her second studio album, Brand New Day, was released in August 2007 and was certified gold; it produced three top 10 singles, including "Can't Touch It", which peaked at number two on the ARIA Singles Chart and was certified platinum. In 2011, Coulter ended her contract with Shock Records, and went on to sign a global record deal with EMI. "Raining Diamonds" was released in October 2011 as the first offering from her upcoming third album. The single reached the top 20 and was certified platinum.

Apart from her work in music, Coulter has also pursued careers in radio and television. From 2008 to 2009, she returned to Australian Idol as a co-host. In 2010, she became a full-time radio presenter for the Sydney Nova FM breakfast show.

Early life

Ricki-Lee Coulter was born on 10 November 1985 in Auckland, New Zealand, the daughter of John and Loretta Coulter. Coulter and her family moved to Gold Coast, Queensland in Australia, when she was three weeks old. She is the elder sister of Jodie Coulter. During her schooling years, Coulter developed a passion for playing netball for Queensland. However, after a serious knee injury requiring reconstructive surgery, Coulter was told she would never play netball again. Her singing talent was discovered months later when Coulter's mother overheard her singing in her bedroom. From then on, Coulter held gigs around the Brisbane and Gold Coast areas with live bands. She also participated in school productions, as she secured lead musical roles in Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, Cats, Rent, The Boyfriend, Phantom of the Opera, Grease and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Recording career

2004-05: Australian Idol, record deal and Ricki-Lee:

In 2004, Coulter auditioned for the second season of Australian Idol, singing En Vogue's "Don't Let Go" for her audition. She received praise from all three judges and progressed through to the theatre rounds. Following the theatre rounds, it was announced that Coulter had made it into the top 30 semi finals. During this stage, she was part of the third group of performers, where she sang Barry White's "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe". Coulter, along with Casey Donovan and Dan O'Connor, made the final top 12. Throughout the season, she was regarded a favourite to win the competition, until she was eliminated in the final seven round. Judge Ian "Dicko" Dickson described Coulter's departure as a scandal. Following her elimination, newspapers ran the story as front-page news and Coulter herself couldn't quite hide the anger and disappointment she plainly felt. Like contestant Daniel Belle, who was eliminated the week before her, Coulter had never appeared in the bottom three or two until her elimination.

Following her departure from Idol, Coulter was offered a record deal from Sony BMG. However, she declined the offer and signed with Australia's biggest independent label, Shock Records. Coulter released her debut single, "Hell No!", in June 2005. The song debuted at number five on the ARIA Singles Chart and was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), for shipping 35,000 copies. The single was followed by the release of Coulter's self-titled debut album on 3 October 2005. The album debuted at number 30 on the ARIA Albums Chart. "Sunshine" was released as the album's second single; it peaked at number eight on the ARIA Singles Chart and was certified gold. "Breathe" was released as the album's third and final single; it peaked at number 14.

2006-08: Young Divas and Brand New Day:

In 2006, Coulter and previous Australian Idol contestants, Paulini, Emily Williams and Kate DeAraugo, were asked by Sony BMG to be part of an all-girl band concept called Young Divas, for a 17-date national tour to promote all members as solo artists. The group released a cover version of Donna Summer's single, "This Time I Know It's for Real", on 7 May 2006, to attract attention for the tour, where all members would perform their solo material, as well as songs as a group. The song peaked at number two on the ARIA Singles Chart, and was certified platinum by the ARIA, for shipping 70,000 copies. A cover of Lonnie Gordon's "Happenin' All Over Again" was released as the group's second single; it peaked at number nine and was certified gold. The Young Divas' commerical success prompted the release of a debut album of classic disco and pop covers, titled Young Divas, on 18 November 2006. The album debuted at number four on the ARIA Albums Chart and was certified double platinum. On 22 June 2007, it was announced that Coulter had left the Young Divas to resume her solo career and to marry her fiance, Jamie Babbington. She told Qconfidential, "I just couldn't do it all - I really had to get back to doing what I love doing, and that's my solo career." Coulter was later replaced by 2006 Australian Idol runner-up, Jessica Mauboy.

In August 2007, Coulter released "Can't Touch It" as the lead single from her second studio album, Brand New Day. The song debuted at number two on the ARIA Singles Chart and was certified platinum by the ARIA. The album was released on 11 August 2007; it debuted on the ARIA Albums Chart at number 37 and was certified gold. "Love Is All Around" and "Can't Sing a Different Song" were released as the album's second and third singles, respectively. Both songs reached the top 10 on the ARIA Singles Chart. By December 2007, it was announced that Coulter had signed a UK record deal with Ministry of Sound, and with Pony Canyon in Japan.Brand New Day was released in Japan on 9 January 2008. Later that month, Coulter was an opening act on the Australian leg of Hillary Duff's Dignity Tour. In March 2008, she embarked on her first solo headlining national tour, The Brand New Day Tour. On 8 November 2008, Coulter released a compilation album titled, Ricki-Lee: The Singles. "Wiggle It", featuring Australian rapper Samir, was released as the album's lead single; it peaked at number 11 on the ARIA Singles Chart.

2009-present: third studio album, new management and record label:

At the 2009 Logie Awards, Coulter received a nomination for 'Most Popular New Female Talent', for her role as a co-host on Australian Idol. In July 2009, Coulter released "Don't Miss You", as the first single from her then third studio album, Hear No, See No, Speak No. The song peaked at number 24 on the ARIA Singles Chart. The album's title track was released as the second single in October 2009. The song debuted and peaked at number 46 on the ARIA Singles Chart. Coulter was expected to release the album in November 2009, however, the release was pushed back to 2010 due to production issues. Eventually, Coulter told her record label to cancel the album's release due to the first two singles struggling on the ARIA Singles Chart. In an interview with Adelaide Now, she explained:

"They got a lukewarm reaction to the singles they chose to put out, so it made sense not to release the album. I said I'd prefer the album not to go out than to go out and fail. It's my reputation on the line. I felt like the puppet dancing out the front while everyone else was controlling me. That's not who I am, that's not my personality. I was being made to do something I didn't want to do, but I was fragile at the time, I wasn't strong enough to fight it."

In March 2010, Coulter was a supporting act on the Australian leg of the Backstreet Boys' This Is Us Tour. In April 2010, "Can't Touch It" was used in the trailer for the film, Sex and the City 2. The song was also included in the film's soundtrack, released on 25 May 2010. In July 2010, it was announced that Coulter had parted ways with her manager, Lauren Brown, who had been managing her career for five years. It was later revealed that her new manager was Sean Anderson. In August 2011, The Daily Telegraph reported that Coulter had ended her association with management company, 22, and her recording contract with Shock Records. She later signed a global record deal with EMI. Her first single with the label, "Raining Diamonds", was released on 18 October 2011. It peaked at number 19 on the ARIA Singles Chart and was certified platinum. "Do It Like That", the second single from Coulter's upcoming third album, was released on 23 March 2012. Coulter will join The Voice (Australia) as a mentor for coach Seal's group.

Other ventures

Philanthropy:

In 2008, Coulter became an ambassador for Jeans for Genes, a charity fundraising event that benefits research into childhood genetic diseases. She had previously worked with the charity for three years and raised over $100,000. As of November 2011, Coulter has become a spokeswoman for the annual Red ribbon appeal, which raises money to fight HIV and AIDS.

Television and radio:

Coulter first branched out into her television career as a mentor on the celebrity singing show, It Takes Two, where she mentored Scott Draper. In 2008, she returned to Australian Idol as a member of the hosting team for the sixth season, alongside the primary hosts James Mathison and Andrew Günsberg. Coulter expanded her hosting role through to the seventh season in 2009 alongside Günsberg, while Mathison vacated his hosting position. On 12 July 2010, Coulter co-hosted The Morning Show with Larry Emdur, as part of the celebrity presenters week. Coulter has also pursued a career in radio. In January 2008, she joined Brisbane radio station, B105 FM, as part of their breakfast team, temporarily replacing Camilla Severi, who had given birth to her first child. In December 2008, Coulter was a part of the Summer Breakfast Show on Fox FM in Melbourne, alongside Mike Goldman and Brian McFadden. Throughout 2010, she became a full-time radio presenter for the Nova FM breakfast show in Sydney, replacing actress Kate Ritchie, due to the station trying to re-establish its ratings. Coulter's contract was not renewed for 2011.

Personal life

On 5 September 2007, Coulter married her long-time partner, Jamie Babbington, at a secret location in Gold Coast. However, after little over a year of marriage, it was announced in October 2008 that Coulter and Babbington had split, citing distance and time apart as the reason. Coulter is currently dating personal trainer and aspiring model, Richard Harrison.

In September 2008, Coulter revealed that she had suffered from depression in 2007, due to a lonely childhood and betrayals from family and friends. In August 2010, she told Who magazine that she had lost more than 15 kg. By July 2011, she revealed to OK! magazine that she has now lost 25 kg.