25 July 2014
One of the most exciting new talents to rise from this year’s McDonald’s Sydney Eisteddfod is 11-year-old Saphia Tamalemai. Saphia, who lives at Silverwater and attends Enfield Public School, is a budding contemporary vocalist with a mature voice that belies her tender years.
New to the Sydney Eisteddfod platform, Saphia emerged from the 2014 Contemporary Singing platform this week with three gold medals and one silver to her credit. She scored her first win in the Country event for singers aged 15 years and under performing Dayne Taylor’s I’ll always love you with such a depth of feeling that adjudicator Anne Kirkpatrick said it ‘gave her goose bumps.’
Contemporary singing judges at Sydney Eisteddfod often advise young vocalists to forget about emulating famous recording stars, and point out that by singing in their own sweet voices, they can make a song their own. Sophia it seems has already discovered this and sings every song as a story she wants to share with her listeners. In her own age group, she finished a proud second in the Song from a Musical/Music Theatre (11 years) and an hour or so later won the Vocal Performance event singing David Guetta’s Titanium. Her presentation impressed adjudicator Meredith O’Reilly who praised her ‘stunning upper range, glorious sound and voice control,’ and thanked her for telling the tale so vividly.
A few days later, Saphia scored her final victory by finishing five marks ahead of her nearest rival singing ‘Listen’ from Dreamgirls in the R&B/Gospel Singer (15/u) event.
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