Quake refugee's career takes off
The dream is slowly coming true for a former Christchurch singer who was among the post-earthquake refugees seeking a haven in Nelson in 2011.
Rebecca Nelson stopped city shoppers in their tracks with her clear soprano voice belting out show tunes and operatics in the weeks after the Christchurch devastation.
She was 23 at the time, and told the Nelson Mail then she was hoping for a break in her bid to become a recognised classical crossover artist.
A few months later she had landed a debut album, Pure Imagination, a job and top billing at the Nelson's Theatre Royal to launch the album.
It happened through the support of Nelsonians, including local theatre director Hugh Neill, who had heard her singing in the street.
Since she left here, Nelson has been busking in Auckland and then started working closely with the Royal New Zealand Navy band. She performed with them at events around the North Island and then joined the band to sing the New Zealand national anthem at Gallipoli at this year's Anzac Day commemoration.
In June she was the official singer for England during their test matches against the All Blacks.
Nelson said the experience at Gallipoli was the "trip of a lifetime" which had inspired her to make a new album. She was now drumming up support to fund it through a PledgeMe campaign she has set up.
She did not start singing until she was 15 and first heard Welsh singer Charlotte Church. She worked as a personal assistant when she left school and decided to take up singing lessons then.
Nelson then set her sights on Europe and ended up busking in Dublin, where she made some inroads into the highly competitive music scene. She also took lessons with singing teacher Ben Slade in Ireland.
She returned to Christchurch in December 2010 to sing at her friends' wedding, and to begin a tour with New Zealand classical crossover singer Will Martin, but the tour was cut short when the earthquake hit Christchurch two months later.
Nelson is about to head back on tour with the navy band on its forthcoming tour of the North Island.
The Nelson Mail