Singer’s spectacular rise
STAY tuned, Lismore - you may just have the next Bruno Mars in your midst.
Soul and gospel teen sensation Taholo Renagi, from Lismore High, has been picked as a headlining singer in the Schools Spectacular next month.
It's no small feat. The Schools Spectacular has proved to be a stepping stone for major breakout acts, including Human Nature and Angus and Julia Stone.
Since making it through the stringent audition process, the 17-year old has been making regular trips to Sydney in preparation for the November 29-30 series of shows at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.
Taholo is delivering a solo performance of the Leonard Cohen-penned classic Hallelujah, also made famous through Jeff Buckley's cover version.
The Year 11 student has come a long way from his home village of Hula, an hour out of Port Moresby, where his talent was born.
"I'm a gospel singer, so music for me is my connection to God."
Taholo's family originally came to Lismore in 2004 when his father received a scholarship to study at Southern Cross University. When Mr Renagi died in 2006, the family had to return to PNG but were able to come back to Lismore permanently with support from their church.
The new Australian citizen remembers singing from dawn till dusk at his father's funeral in 2006, when he was just nine years old.
Lismore High music teacher Brian Wappett said Taholo was one of the biggest talents he had witnessed in 15 years of musical mentorship.
"His sound is so current and so popular at the moment that people will be falling over themselves to have a go. If the right people get him, he will do extraordinarily well."
While he's got the self-belief to go all the way, Taholo remains touchingly humble.
Taholo's spine-tingling talent can be seen here in Lismore next Thursday night at the North Coast National Showcase, performing as part of the Brian Watt Band.