She captivated the hearts of the nation as part of this year’s ‘X Factor’ via a series of powerhouse vocal performances. Assured and confident on the stage, it was sometimes easy to forget that Marlisa Punzalan was just 15 years of age.
On the back of her ‘X Factor win, her DNA-penned debut single ‘Stand By You’ dropped, hit the top five and has already achieved a gold sales accreditation.
Now with her album in the shops, Brad asked the songstress a few questions about her journey, her single and where she’s headed next.
Q. Congratulations on your win, firstly. Have you had a lot of free time since winning?
A. No not that much, but it’s still been fun. I still get a bit of time off during the day. Seven hours of sleep a night!
Q. How did it feel being announced as the winner?
A. Getting my name called out as the winner was just unbelievable. I didn’t expect it but I was so happy and over the moon. I’m just really grateful to everyone who helped me.
Q. Did you rehearse a winners face?
A. No because I never expected that it would happen. I just went along with the flow and apparently I made a really big face when I won!
Q. What made you want to audition in the first place?
A. I thought ‘The X Factor’ would be really great for improving myself as a performer. I would get the experience, be exposed and my confidence would rise. I wasn’t sure if I would do it; I auditioned at the very last moment so I’m really lucky that I’m here.
Q. How did you cope with being filmed all the time?
A. I think gradually throughout the show I opened up and my personality was shown to Australia. I was really glad that I got to show that other side of myself. I just had fun, and wanted to make people smile while they’re watching TV. I didn’t want to look weird!
Q. Did you get a big say in outfits?
A. I had a stylist that I worked with and she organized all of the outfits. At times we would say ‘I don’t feel comfortable in those shoes’ but it was just about making sure I didn’t trip or fall on TV.
Q. What was your daily ‘X Factor’ schedule like?
A. An average day would be waking up at around eight. We would have scheduled days, like on Monday we would prepare our showdown songs for the decider show. On Tuesday we’d work on our new song, on Wednesday we’d record the song in the studio and make improvements. On Thursday, when I was 14, I’d have days off, but otherwise I’d work on choreography and all the staging. It was really fun.
Q. Did you still have to do school work whilst on the show?
A. Not really. I had tutoring every Wednesday which was quite good. We balanced it really well and I managed.
Q. Did you miss hanging out with people your own age whilst on the show?
A. Yeah I did. I missed my friends during the show but I told myself ‘This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so you might as well make the most of it’. Even though I wasn’t with people my own age, I still had fun.
Q. If you had have been able to choose songs, what would you have liked to have sung?
A. I got to sing all of my favourites on the show, so I don’t think I can complain about that (laughs). Maybe more Eva Cassidy or Taylor Swift songs.
Q. What is your relationship like with Ronan?
A. We had a really good relationship. He was like a father figure to me. We had so much fun in our mentoring sessions and he would give great advice. We would have so much fun; he has a great sense of humor so it was really good. He supported me even when other judges criticized me. I was so grateful to have him.
Q. What was the best bit of advice he gave you?
A. I think the best advice he gave me was to enjoy the performances. If you enjoy it then everyone else will enjoy it as well and the performance will turn out good. He told me, ‘no more nerves, it’s not worth it, just enjoy’.
Q. What were your first thoughts on your single ‘Stand By You’?
A. My first thoughts were like ‘Oh my goodness, why am I having a single, I should be back at school doing some work!’ (She laughs) It’s just incredible to have my own single and the good thing is that it actually suits me.
Q. Why do you think it’s connected in the way it has?
A. I think it has connected so well because of the melody. It has a really catchy melody. I think it’s because of the message as well, because my supporters have stood by me to get me where I am now, so I think it’s my turn to stand by them and I think they really appreciate that.
Q. Why did you have fans in the video?
A. I think including my supporters in my video really suited the meaning of the song and would show some story as well. Including my supporters was showing how appreciative I am of what happened and how they supported me. I think they wanted to include that sense of gratitude in the video.
Q. Let’s talk about the album. It’s called ‘Marlisa’, but does it represent you or your ‘X Factor’ journey?
A. I think it represents the ‘X Factor’ journey and how much I improved each week. I think it’s really good because there’s something in it for everyone. It has a really wide target market.
Q. How did you get it all recorded in two days?
A. Well I did five songs each day. I knew the songs really well, so it wasn’t too hard for me and I really enjoyed it.
Q. Will you record your next album in two days?
A. I don’t know! In the future I might have some original songs and it might take a while for me to get to know it better and do my own improvisations. I think it will be a little bit harder because I won’t know the songs that well.
Q. What’s coming up next in your diary?
A. I will be performing at the Carols In The Domain. I’m really looking forward to that. It’s been my dream to perform there since I was a little girl so I can’t believe that it’s coming true. I will hopefully be going to the Philippines this year and hopefully to New Zealand as well. I’m also doing a lot of in-stores in different states in Australia for the album.
Q. Who would you like to work with in the future?
A. I think I’d like to work with DNA, who wrote ‘Stand By You’. I think they would be really helpful and help me make a great album again.
Q. When you think of your next single, what do you hear in your head?
A. I’m not sure. I’ve already included my supporters so maybe something about my dreams? I’m not really sure. (Laughs)
Q. Where do you want to be in five years?
A. I would like to sell my albums around the world, maybe tour around the world as well. Hopefully I can perform in Las Vegas too! That would be my dream in five years.
Q. Do you see yourself being a pop star?
A. I think I can see myself as a pop star. I’ve reached this far and I just want to continue doing that and taking it a step further each time so hopefully I will get there.
Marlisa’s debut single ‘Stand By You’ is available digitally now.
Her debut self-titled album is also now available.