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The All Blacks and Irish rugby players won't be the only ones feeling the pressure

Last updated 16:52 21/06/2012
NERVOUS: Elizabeth Marvelly will sing the national anthem on Saturday at Waikato Stadium and be back in Hamilton for a concert in July.
NERVOUS: Elizabeth Marvelly will sing the national anthem on Saturday at Waikato Stadium and be back in Hamilton for a concert in July.

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The All Blacks and Irish rugby players won't be the only ones feeling the pressure as they run out at Waikato Stadium on Saturday night.

Rotorua singer Elizabeth Marvelly, 22, will be feeling it just as much as she steps up to the microphone to sing the national anthem.

"I'm already feeling the pressure," she says.

"If I messed up the words for the national anthem, life would not be worth living."

There's little chance of that, of course.

Marvelly has sung the anthem already for the All Blacks, the New Zealand Warriors and the Kiwis in the six years she has been in the music industry.

She belted it out in last year's Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup matches against Australia and South Africa and at the World Cup semifinal win over Australia. She missed out on singing it at the final to a singer she is often compared to, Hayley Westenra.

While Marvelly enjoys singing the anthem, there's much more to her than that, which audiences will get to see first hand when she sets off on a "heartland tour" of the North Island early next month, starting in her home town on July 15 and finishing in Paraparaumu on July 31, with a show at Hamilton's Clarence St Theatre on July 20.

Marvelly says that after six years in the industry, she simply wants to say thanks to the people who have supported her.

"I just felt I'd spent so much time overseas and so much time travelling around and just going to the main centres that it was time for me to go back to my roots.

"I'm a provincial girl, a Rotorua wahine, and it feels to me like it's time to go back and just say thank you to so many of the audiences who have supported me throughout the years – especially around the Bay of Plenty and Waikato. That's where I grew up, that's where I started singing, and I think it's important."

Marvelly started singing in Rotorua as a teenager and quickly gained a reputation as a soprano with immense potential. She toured the country with her uncle, Sir Howard Morrison, and Dame Malvina Major at 17, signed a deal with EMI and hasn't stopped since.

Marvelly says her July concert will feature new and original material from her upcoming third album, along with a selection of songs which represents her broad range, including songs from Burt Bacharach and Whitney Houston, Broadway musicals, Leonard Cohen, Crowded House, Gershwin, Joni Mitchell and New Zealand favourites, such as Whakaria Mai.

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"I like to keep my options open, clearly," she says.

Whakaria Mai remains one of her favourite songs to sing.

"For me, that song has so much emotional power."

"Having spent so much time in the wings watching the Master [the late Sir Howard Morrison] sing it, I feel like it's a real honour to sing that song and I really hope I can do it justice, because it's a really incredible song."

It's not just in singing that Marvelly has a diverse range of styles. Her listening selections are equally eclectic.

"I'm listening to heaps at the moment: Julia Stone's By the Horns – I just bought that album; Andrew Belle, The Ladder; Carole King, Tapestry.

"I just bought a Bob Dylan. I listen to all sorts really. There's one other album you should have a listen to. It's quite alternative: Zola Jesus – she's got a great new album out."

When it's not music keeping her going, Marvelly is also studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and psychology and has just finished her latest examinations.

"I'm only able to do a couple of papers each semester, if I'm lucky, because I'm so busy. I think I must be about 13 papers in, so I'm about halfway."

While she would like to still be singing "when I'm 65", it's important to have other interests, she says.

"I've got quite a few interests outside music. I think it's nice and I also think I've learnt so much and I think that's important. I think it's important to keep learning."

She sounds like a true academic talking about her studies.

"I've learnt so much about stuff like bicultural perspectives in psychology. It was really interesting, I loved that paper."

But it's not about to get in the way of her singing soon, and after the tour, she will be back in the studio recording her next album.

"It's going to be a pretty full-on second half of the year.

"This [album] is going to be mainly original music, so I really want it to be ready. I'm not going to push it out before it is. I just want to spend the time and throw myself into it."

"Music's pretty awesome really."

- Waikato Times

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