They’ve both got powerhouse voices and a strong Blue Mountains connection.
Former Winmalee High School student Anja Nissen, 18, from Yarramundi and Blue Mountains Musical Society regular, Brittanie Shipway, 20, from Mulgoa, may be on the road to stardom following appearances recently on Channel Nine’s The Voice.
More than two million viewers watched their star turn last week. Both singers received the ultimate accolade on the popular reality TV show — the ‘four chair turn’ — where all four coaches turned around during the blind audition to offer their coaching expertise.
“To get that tick of approval from superstars it’s amazing,” said Ms Nissen.
Ms Shipway chose pop princess Kylie Minogue as her coach after an emotion-charged performance of On My Own from musical Les Miserables, while Ms Nissen, who sang a Mariah Carey number, opted for “Team Will” — Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am, who has also worked as a producer with artists like Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Brittany Spears and Miley Cyrus.
The young women have stories set to endear them to viewers of the popular TV show.
The Winmalee home of Ms Nissen’s grandparents was destroyed in the October bushfires and after the ordeal they moved in with her, staying for several months in her home at the foothills of the Mountains.
She was doing the HSC at Winmalee High during the fires and was evacuated from her dance exam on the day of the fire.
“It was very stressful, we ended up in lockdown. There were kids like me who lost their homes. It was a surreal experience.”
And Ms Shipway, who has been performing with the BMMS since she was seven, in shows such as Les Miserables, Grease and Beauty and the Beast, signed up for the show after the death of her beloved grandmother.
“I’m not spiritual but I felt her with me at the blind audition, I had this calm wash over me,” she told The Gazette.
She credits her Winmalee singing teacher Sussane Towers and the Blue Mountains Musical Society for giving her the experience she needed to crack an audition on The Voice.
She chose Team Kylie because the Spinning Around songstress offered to help her be herself instead of a performer in a musical.
“And because she’s an Aussie girl who broke the international market,” she said.
The pair are just two of the 130 artists currently competing on the show and both have appeared on another Channel Nine show, A Current Affair — an event that has since led to Ms Nissen losing her exotic pet snake after reptile experts dobbed her in to authorities, pointing out that the snake was illegal. The snake has since been euthanased.
“I really loved that animal, it’s been really hard,” Ms Nissen said.