The 2013 New Zealand's Got Talent winner returned home to Marlborough for her debut post-win performance in the region on Friday.
A far cry from busking on the streets of Picton, Renee Maurice, 22, performed a three-hour set for a crowd of between 150 and 200 people at the Clubs of Marlborough.
Although she has lived in Wellington since 2008, the singer-songwriter said she still felt a strong connection with the region.
"It's funny really because when I first moved away I needed to break off and allow myself to grow. Coming back after a few years I can allow myself to reconnect," she said.
Her face, and her voice, was not easily forgotten by Marlborough people, with many approaching her on her first day back in town last week.
"The lady at the desk [of the club] said ‘Everyone has given me a story of how they know you'. When I go away from Upper Hutt I think people won't know me here but they do," she said.
Miss Maurice began recording songs after a car accident on the Picton Elevation that claimed the lives of her grandmother and great-uncle.
She was badly injured in the accident, and wrote a song called Picton Gold as a tribute and thanks to the people of Picton for their support following the accident, which was played on the radio in 2002.
It was at the age of about 15 that Miss Maurice decided she wanted to become a singer.
"I've always kind of had the dream that I would be able to make it and make my family proud and give something back to them because they have supported me so much. I just didn't know how I was going to do it," she said.
Sony did not take up the option to sign Miss Maurice for a recording contract after her competition win, so she has set about furthering her career on her own and will spend a month in the United States from April.
She will be going to Los Angeles first, where she would be meeting a friend from the entertainment industry, hoping to connect with others in the music industry.
- The Marlborough Express