Ex-Winmalee High student Anja Nissen was chosen as the winner of reality TV singing competition The Voice on Monday night.
The eighteen-year-old wild card entry in the grand finals was immediately offered a recording contract with her coach, multi award-winning international producerWill.i.am.
"It's surreal," she said screaming with excitement amongst a barrage of family and friends and the other finalists.
Nissen weathered weeks of live auditions on the popular Channel Nine show and some social media criticism and has had her own challenging journey this past year.
Her grandparents lost their home in the Winmalee bushfires in October last year. She was also evacuated from her HSC exams at Winmalee High during the firestorms. She said the tragedy made her realise the value of the place she calls her "hometown".
While she lives in Yarramundi, at the foothills of the Mountains, in the final days of the competition, Nissen thanked her home town of Winmalee and "everyone in the Blue Mountains" for supporting her during the show.
"I have to say thank you to the Blue Mountains. I wouldn't actually be here," the powerhouse singer told The Blue Mountains Gazette.
Celebrating her win and signaling big things to come, her coach Will.i.am said he had signed his winning artist from the British season of The Voice: "I signed [the winner] Cody [Wise] to my label and in the UK we have a number one. I would like to sign Anja to my label. She's awesome."
"I believe Anja could go all around the globe and all the top songwriters and producers are going to want to be working with Anja. She has something special, " he added.
As the last standing solo female artist, she had hoped her "big Whitney song" would get her over the line, garnering votes and vital iTunes downloads throughout last week. And it did just that.
Nissen told the Gazette her coach had been preparing her for life after The Voice.
"Will tells us to visualise yourself doing bigger and better things [like the Grammys]. He says 'this competition is just the beginning, a stepping stone', " she said.
Anja Nissen will go on a national tour from Sunday July 27. Starting in Perth, that tour takes in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and includes the other finalists Sabrina Batshon, Jackson Thomas, Kat Jade, Johnny Rollins, Holly Tapp, Frank Lakoudis and duo ZK.
"This journey started when I was six-years-old...The Voice started with audition applications back in August. I could picture myself getting here. I just have to keep working hard, that's the business, that's the industry."
Her single will be on sale on July 25.