Tilli McMahon

Tilli McMahon on stage in the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WinkiPoP Media

An interview with Tilli McMahon


Tilli McMahon, finalist in the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod Junior Singer of the Year took some time to tell Sydney Eisteddfod about her love of singing and her biggest musical inspiration. The 13-year-old also shared what she has learnt about herself through competing in Sydney Eisteddfod. 

Why do you love singing?

Quite simply, I love music and singing makes me happy.

What inspired you to start singing?

Our house is filled with music from morning until night and I've always loved singing to my favourite songs. One summer, when we were camping, I sang to the campers and visitors who encouraged my Mum and Dad to enrol me in lessons to follow my love for singing.

You chose to perform “Over the Rainbow” in the Sydney Eisteddfod Singer of the Year Final, tell us a little bit about this piece.

My Nanna wrote the lyrics of this song out for me when I was little and we used to sing it together.  That was the Wizard of Oz version but for the Junior Singer of the Year Finals I am performing the Eva Cassidy version with a little twist of my own.

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

I love jazz, blues and folk styles including Eva Cassidy and Amy Winehouse. Adele is an inspiration, both talented and courageous, Adele has faced her fears to bring her beautiful talent to the world. 

What do you do to prepare for your performances?

Lots of practice with my singing teacher, at home, in the car and in the shower! I try not to think that I'm competing, or being judged, and remind myself that I am doing what I love to do.

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

Every performance is an opportunity and a privilege. No matter what the outcome, I always learn something new about myself and ways I can improve my voice and stagecraft. There is always another opportunity to perform and apply your newfound skills.

What have you learnt from your Sydney Eisteddfod experience? 

Have fun and never underestimate yourself. I'm only 12 and I honestly didn't think I would get the opportunity to perform in the finals.  

What do you hope to achieve next? 

I had an amazing experience singing in Opera Australia's 2016 / 2017 season of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci and I would love a chance to sing with Opera Australia again. I hope my singing gives me an opportunity to also perform in musical theatre but, most importantly, I just want to continue to develop my voice, have fun, and enjoy the journey it can take me on.