When rocker Karen Zoid swivelled around in her chair, seconds after Port Elizabeth’s Emma Ellis started singing, the youngster was so surprised she forgot the words to a song “I can sing in my sleep”.
But fortunately for the Summerstrand The Voice hopeful, Zoid hopped on stage and helped her finish, getting her a resounding yes from all four judges of the popular reality TV show.
Now the singer, 21, whose wackiest talent is playing In The Jungle on a recorder using her nose, hopes the competition will help her break into “this extremely tough industry”.
Ellis, who before her audition made no bones about the fact that Zoid was the judge she wanted as her mentor, said the moment she saw Zoid walking up to her she started freaking out.
“I had no idea why she was coming up there,” Ellis said.
“I was just thinking: ‘Oh, she’s probably feeling sorry for me and wants to stand next to me’. “She started singing with me. “It has been a dream of mine to sing with Karen since I was about 14 – even before I knew I wanted to be a singer. “[It was] surreal and amazing. “I would have never expected anything like that to happen.”
The former Pearson High pupil, now a BA student at NMMU, who also plays the tuba, piano and percussion, said prior to the audition she had not believed any of the judges would give her a chance as there were so many other talented people waiting to try out.
“I wasn’t expecting anyone to turn around for me after spending some time with all the other talent.
“Everyone is so talented and I wasn’t expecting any of it really. “It still feels like a dream!” Her family, however, were under no illusions about her talent, telling her afterward: “We told you so.” “They didn’t seem surprised. “They were obviously also over the moon for me,” Ellis said.
The eldest of four children, Ellis said the whole family loved music, but despite happily banging out a tune together the talent was not all that evenly spread.
“My brothers aren’t as blessed when it comes to being able to sing. That doesn’t stop them, though.
“We all love music and we love singing together . . . even though it doesn’t always sound too hot when we do.”
Ellis is now hoping the quirkiness that sets her aside – her unique looks and tone – will be her biggest advantage.
“My favourite thing about singing and performing has to be the reactions I get.
The youngster, who started singing at the age of seven, said she sang because “I love telling a story through music and I love singing songs that speak to my soul”.