Saphoia Tamalemai

Saphia Tamalemai on stage in the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WinkiPoP Media

An interview with Saphia Tamalemai


Saphia Tamalemai, finalist in the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod Junior Singer of the Year, reveals how her family inspired her to start singing and which singers continue to inspire her everyday.  She also spoke about how she prepares for her performances and the best piece of performance advice she has ever heard.

Why do you love singing?

It's like I am in my own world, in my own time, in my own space/place where I can be whoever I wish to be. It's what I love and do best which reflects on my achievements both academically and in stage performances.

Most of all, is the immense support, guidance and teachings from my parents and my sister who are there for me every step of the way. Not to mention the great support from my extended families and friends. 

Who inspired you to start singing? 

It was at my Granny's 80th Birthday Celebration in front of a lot of people is what got me started when I sang Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams".

It was my very first live performance and the whole experience was magical. From there on, my parents worked very hard, financially, mentally and physically, to ensure I continue down the Music path in fulfilling my dreams as so not to go through the same

thing they went through as young dreamers, because their parents weren't financially able to fulfill their dreams in the Music realm. These special people in my life are whom gave me the greatest inspiration. I have loved it ever since and still do - can't see myself without music in my life. 

You chose to perform "Listen" in the Sydney Eisteddfod Singer of the Year Final, tell us a little bit about this piece.

 It is one of my greatest vocal pieces I started getting into since I was 9 years old and as time went by, I became more and more experienced with it, as I loved it more and more each time. Most of all, are the memories I have created throughout my singing/performance journey so far with this particular piece. It was one of my last performances for Primary School at the end of year assembly and Year 6. It was the chosen piece by my High School Music Teacher to perform for the School's Open Day and it's Open Night on my first year of high school. It was the piece chosen by my Vocal Coach to perform at the Dinner Event Fundraiser for Cancer. It was the piece that won me First Place in the R&B section at the Show Us Your Talent Singing Eisteddfod; First Place in the Junior Singing Championship as well as First Place for MusicalTheatre for Curtain Call Song & Dance Festival; won me the I Wanna Be Famous Ultimate Talent Quest for 9-22 year olds; won me the automatic Grand Finalist for Fast Track Singing Competition that gave me 3rd Place; and Second Place in the Campbelltown Song& Dance Festival, Musical Theatre Vocal Section. It was the piece I did at the Paramatta Day in front of so many locals. Most importantly, it gave me my First Place achievement at my very first Eisteddfod ever, in the 15/under R&B/Gospel Section for SydneyEisteddfod, in 2014 (I was 11 years old) which also gave me the title of Tops the Pops in it's articles (First Place Country for 15/Under, First Place Vocal Performance 11 years; and Second Place in Musical Theatre 11 years). The piece has been one of thegreatest highlights of my singing/performance journey so far 

Which other performers do you most like to listen to/watch, and why?

I am inspired by the female big voices, such as Australia's own, Sia, by the amazing Whitney Houston, the incredible Beyonce, the spectacular Jennifer Holliday, and the fantastic Celine Dion.

In my own world, I enjoy listening and watching my school's CAPA performances, especially when we perform in groups/ensembles, with vocal and instruments combined, that makes me so proud to be part of such an amazing group of people and school; as well as watching other performers in the events/competitions I take part in, because of how unique each talent is which makes me proud to be a vocalist/singer/performer. 

What do you do to prepare for your performances?

Rehearsals and practices with my parents and my sister; lots of sleeps and plenty of rests; continuous rehearsals and practices at school as well during lunch breaks and during my CAPA classes because my Music teacher(s) encourages out of school performances for development. 

What is the best piece of performance advice you've ever heard?

Go up there and enjoy yourself. Be yourself and everything will fall into place naturally. Don't think too hard, don't try too hard, just see it as though you're in your own happy place where there are no limits, no rules, no restrictions, no negativity.

What have you learnt from your Sydney Eisteddfod experience?

The continuous amount of talented young people inspires me more and more, not to mention the opportunities provided by the organisers for the young dreamers to continue down their music journeys by providing the platform, the support and guidance for the artist in each individual.

What do you hope to achieve NEXT?

My voice, to be able to send the positive messages, to touch the hearts and to inspire people, in all walks of life, no matter their background, where they're from, who they are - that every person is special and unique. Just want to make people feel, love, and embrace. To forget and ignore all the negativities in this world and uphold positivity always, through music.