Despite her perceived overnight success, 2014 X Factor Australia winner, Marlisa Punzalan’s triumph proves that experience pays off….. no matter what age. Now contracted to Sony Music Australia, with her single Stand By You ARIA certified Platinum and about to launch her new single, we spoke with Marlisa about her current success, dreams for her future, her inspiration and the path she took before competing in X Factor.
Born in Sydney, 15 year old Marlisa has been performing with her family in community events from a very young age. She entered her first Sydney Eisteddfod in the Vocal Performance category when she was 10 years old singing Alicia Keys If I Ain’t Got You. When recalling this first step in her career, Marlisa comments “competing in Sydney Eisteddfod was so memorable because it was my very first competition and I won 1st place!” Subsequent years saw Marlisa return to the Sydney Eisteddfod stage many times to compete and often win Gold in R&B, Jazz or Blues, Gospel and Country Singer divisions. Finally in 2013 she claimed Triple Gold Medals and so Marlisa says “to anyone thinking of entering Sydney Eisteddfod, this is a great platform to gain experience and develop your confidence. I grew to love what I do – there are ups and downs but each time I felt down I took it as a challenge to try even harder.”
Marlisa particularly recognises the value of performing before the Sydney Eisteddfod qualified adjudicators, how the experience definitely helped develop her confidence and technique and notes that with every event she entered “they are providing feedback” and no matter the outcome “they recognise each entrant’s effort and offer positive encouragement”.
She sites her grandmother as her initial inspiration as “she was my first teacher and we have been singing together since I was 3 years old.” Of international artists, her “greatest inspiration is Celine Dion, she has a very clear and pure voice”. While locally, “Jessica Mauboy is my inspiration, she’s very humble and kind and, of course, has a very powerful voice”.
When asked about her dreams for the future Marlisa says “I would like to be known for the kind of music I make, music which aims to inspire others and especially the youth.”
For a 15 year old Marlisa has amassed impressive performance experience through competing with Sydney Eisteddfod, on the community stage (often for charity) and X Factor. Now she is enjoying the exciting and demanding life of a successful performing artist, Marlisa is quoted as saying her first single, Stand By You, was “about supporting the people who stood by me and got me here. Without their support I wouldn’t be where I am. It’s my turn to stand by them.”