Singer Christine Anu hasn’t had a drink or a smoke since February last year.
Like many Australians, she enjoyed a cigarette when having a social drink and had a quiet puff to unwind at the end of a hectic day.
But the death of a colleagues’ mother from a heart attack aged just 44 changed that.
The Rainbow’s End tour had just arrived in Bendigo in 2012 when her young co-star received news of her mother’s death.
“I had never had something so close to me happen like that before and I think it was a real wake up call,” Anu says.
“I thought well her Mum would have been two years older than me … that could be me, that could be anybody.”
Anu, now aged 44, says the incident prompted her to give up smoking and alcohol.
“The reality is I can still have a good time and not have to sacrifice my health,” she says.
“If you are in (a) higher risk (category) because of your lifestyle choices it’s just a simple matter of changing that up a bit.
“It’s really not that hard if your health is important to you.”
Anu has released a new version of her single Beat of Your Heart, with part of the proceeds going to Heart Research Australia.
The track is inspired by heart beats from hundreds of Australians recorded on special pods.
The pods then turned the heart beats into music, which formed some of the backing for Anu’s song.
Anu will continue to perform her show REWIND – The Aretha Franklin Songbook this year.
She hopes to release an original album in the next year-and-a-half, which would be her first in more than a decade.
* Beat of Your Heart can be downloaded via iTunes from April 8 to May 8, 2014 with a percentage of the proceeds raised going to Heart Research Australia.