Washington was born in Port Moresby where she lived until 1997 when the family moved to Brisbane, where she spent her teenage years, and attended Moreton Bay College.
After that, she also attended Sheldon College, where she discovered her talent for music. She is currently based in Melbourne. She studied jazz voice at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and released Nightlight, an EP with jazz pianist Sean Foran in 2006, and then an EP Bennetts Lane with pianist Paul Grabowsky in 2007.
Washington's stellar 2010 - during which her album rose to No. 3 in Australia, went platinum and culminated with her ARIA wins - was just reward after years of toil, but the whirlwind of promotion and performance took a toll when she found herself in hospital with pneumonia last December.
That, along with her difficulties sleeping, provided fuel for what she calls "a work in four acts" that was an attempt to make sense of the intense year that followed the release of I Believe You Liar.
"I had incredibly bad luck for the first six months of this year," she says. "I had pneumonia twice and a lot of medical things went wrong. I couldn't sleep and I was very unwell and I spent a lot of time at night writing songs."
Washington readily concedes the condition seriously messes with her head at times.
"Some days I wake up and feel like I've been dreaming for about three months," she says. "I don't remember what I've done or where I've been ... I don't think I'm going nuts but it has certainly been a very strange, foggy time - but all this music came out of it."
Spotter: Peter Kranz