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Lucire 2012
Lani Allanson At 15, she’s already getting noticed in talent contests

Her singing’s on the climb

Singer Lani Allanson was one of the stand-out personalities during the events for Miss Universe New Zealand 2012. Jack Yan talks to the fast-rising teenager on her influences and her future plans
photographed by Nikita Brown



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 places.

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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