While the Miss Universe New Zealand 2012 pageant
has become known for its post-event controversy, during the week
of the finals, 15-year-old Lani Allanson was one of two memorable
musical personalities who emerged.
Allanson performed at a fashion show held at the Upper
Hutt Cosmopolitan Club and had such a stage presence, the audience
asked her to keep singing. Never mind about the real reason they
were there, to cheer on the contestants: Allanson stole the evening.
Jennifer Hamilton of Avidiva, the established three-girl group that
performed at the Club afterwards, remarked on Allanson’s voice,
one that still managed to shine despite using the PA system rather
than professional gear. Allanson’s strength in singing, and her
confidence, were of such a quality that it was easy to see her going
The Year 11 Heretaunga College student is naturally
creative, having sung and danced from an early age. I love
music, she tells Lucire. I took lots of different courses
in the performing arts.
I used to be a tap-dancer, but we moved out here
[from Johnsonville] and no one did that style of tap. She
had also taken modern jazz lessons as well as drama classes, and
presently enjoying learning graphic design concepts at high school.
But a lack of mentors hasn’t held Allanson back from
her real passion of singing. I don’t do singing lessons, but
my teacher at school is guiding me.
Despite the seasoned-performer image at the Cosmopolitan
Club, Allanson admits to being shy, and expressed regret that she
had not made it on to New Zealand’s Got Talent, the local spin-off
of the British show. Upper Hutt I can win, but when I get
out of the area, I don’t. In Porirua, I never got to the finals,
she laments, but blames it on nerves and because I decided
to try things that didn’t work.
Locally, however, Allanson proves to be more of a natural
and, despite her shy nature, adopts a different persona on stage.
When I’m singing, I’m not myself, she says.
There is a good record locally: as a child, she entered the school talent quests successfully, aspiring to be Charli Delaney in Hi-5, who also tap-danced.
Once Allanson can conquer her nerves outside Upper Hutt, and refines her act, she is likely to do well—Lucire reminded her that even Elvis Presley had to struggle in his early days. In the meantime, however, she has won a competition at the Petone Workingmen’s Club, netting her a recording session with Smart Studio in Naenae and NZ$1,000. She intends taking up the session once she has written a song that she is happy with.
What if the song proves to be Allanson’s turning-point,
in the way That’s All Right proved for Presley? The
young singer is adamant she will remain grounded, aware of the difficulties
others in the field, such as Miley Cyrus, have faced. I’m
good at saying no, says Allanson, and my family is real
supportive. My friends and my parents watch us.
Her favourite songs include Hallelujah and
The Climb while her present influences include Etta
James and Amy Winehouse—both of whom suit the way Allanson’s voice
is developing. She also expresses a fondness for the 1980s and time
on YouTube is spent finding songs.
If her singing does not become a full-time vocation,
people will still hear Allanson’s voice. After high school, she
is considering signing up for Radio Broadcasting School, where I
can talk a lot, and people can’t see you. Nevertheless, we
foresee greater things for her—the $1,000 prize is only a start. •
Locally, however, Allanson proves to be more of a natural and, despite her shy nature, adopts a different persona on stage. ‘When I’m singing, I’m not myself’
Jack Yan is publisher of Lucire.
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