It was the Cinderella story. Like a phoenix literally rising from the ashes, Anja Nissen took out The Voice on Monday night. International music producer and her coach on the reality TV singing competition, Will.i.am, immediately signed her to his label saying she is destined to be a "global superstar".
The ex-Winmalee High student won season three of the popular Channel Nine show, taking home the $100,000 prize, a car and a recording contract, after a difficult 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 home.
While she lives in Yarramundi, Nissen calls Winmalee her home town and in the final days of the competition, she thanked 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," she told The Blue Mountains Gazette.
The 18-year-old wild card entry in the grand finals will leave for America in the next few months to begin songwriting with her multi award-winning producer coach.
"It's surreal," she said screaming with excitement among a barrage of family and friends and the other finalists. "I'm so excited."
Nissen had weathered weeks of live performances on the show, which regularly attracted two million viewers, but also some social media criticism.
But 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 "and in the UK we have a number one".
"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, she's awesome," he said.
Her famous coach has worked as a producer with artists like Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus and has said Anja could hold her own in that crowd.
As the last standing solo female artist, she hoped her "big Whitney song" I Have Nothing 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 'competition is just the beginning, a stepping stone'," she said.
Anja Nissen will go on a national tour from this Sunday, July 27. Starting in Perth, the tour also 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 first single will be on sale on Friday.