Teagan Denham on stage at Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WInkiPoP Media.
Audiences were not surprised when "triple threat" performer Teagan Denham won the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod Senior Singer of the Year. A veteran of Sydney Eisteddfod stages, Teagan was selected as a Finalist in the Sydney Eisteddfod Junior Singer of the Year in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and then for the Senior event in 2014 and 2015. Now in her sixth year of making it to the Final, she gave the ultimate performance making her the stand-out of the evening.
Teagan recently spoke to Sydney Eisteddfod about her passion for performing and her Sydney Eisteddfod journey.
What inspired your passion for singing?
As a young girl I have always just sung without even knowing it. I was that theatrical little girl in front of the TV performing hard out choreography and singing random made up songs while the rest of my family were trying to watch their favourite TV Show. My first ever song I sang at age 2 was 'teenage dirtbag', I know how ironic but it has made for a laugh and good memories.
Who inspired you to start singing?
My family are most definitely the key inspiration for the catalyst of my love for singing. My mother was a musical theatre performer when she was younger and has always played variety of genres throughout my life. Having musical siblings was a massive inspiration for me as most nights we would 'jam' out as a family.
You chose to perform "Gravity" in the Sydney Eisteddfod Singer of the Year Final, tell us a little bit about this piece.
I have chosen to sing Gravity by Sarah Berellies as one of my 3 songs as it is a song who's meaning can be interpreted in different ways. It's beautiful, climatic melody is one that truly resonates with me on a musical level and allows myself to be taken on a journey whilst I perform it. Although posing as a disjointed love song, as an artist I am able to deconstruct the song and interpret the love it portrays in a different type of relationship that one may expect. Therefore making it unique and special to me as an individual who wants to tell a story.
Which other performers do you most like to watch, and why?
I love to perform, move and dance whilst I sing, hence performers such as JLo and Beyoncé are people I look up to when it comes to performance and stage production. Artists such as Rihanna, Alicia Keys and Jessie J also inspire me with their ability to connect with people of all types and become raw and vulnerable; this is something so important to me as an artist who wants to affect people when performing.
What is the best piece of performance advice you've ever heard?
Don't be selfish when you perform. This meaning a performance is not only for you but to entertain the audience and bring them on your journey. To assist with this I have learnt that closing eyes often when singing can tend to shut the audience out and create a 4th wall between the audience and the performer which is not a quality wanted when singing.
What have you learnt from your Sydney Eisteddfod experience?
Sydney Eisteddfod has taught me to not doubt my choices as a performer, just to be confident and own the stage. Having such influential, talented judges with loads of experience in the performing arts is such a blessing to get their constructive criticism to keep on improving and growing as an artist and as a person.
What would you say to a young singer that was thinking about entering Sydney Eisteddfod?
I would 100% advise them to give it a shot ! It's not about winning or placing in a section, it's about the experience and knowledge you gain from being confident and allowing yourself to perform to an audience that is supportive.
What do you hope to achieve next?
I'm currently studying a Diploma of Dance - Performing Arts course at Brent Street Studios. Training in dance, singing and acting has provided myself the knowledge and skills to confidently relocate to LA next year to study at millennium complex which will allow me to make connections, train, perform and audition for various shows, both theatre and commercial based. This is a goal I've been working hard to achieve and can't wait to take opportunities as they come and grow into a diverse performer, whose love for the arts will never die.