July 02, 2012
The Voice winner Karise Eden. Photo: John Veage
The sheen may already be wearing from The Voice with only a few hundred fans turning up to see winner Karise Eden perform for free in Sydney.
Crowd numbers were noticeably down on Eden's two previous gigs in Brisbane's Chermside and Newcastle's Kotara as the singer's tour hit Sydney's Pitt Street on Friday.
2Day FM presenters Matty and Mel, hired to drum up excitement, even resorted to heckling passers by to stop and watch due to the smaller than expected turn out.
But numbers swelled when Eden hit the stage, the soulful voice that won over millions of viewers of the Nine Network's The Voice stopping shoppers in their tracks.
The 19-year-old played three songs from her debut album My Journey, opening with the single You Won't Let Me before covering the Etta James classic I'd Rather Go Blind and Elvis Presley's Hound Dog.
Looking nervous and giggling in between songs, yet self-assured and note-perfect with each delivery, Eden thanked fans for their ongoing support.
"Thanks for coming out today guys. You are the ones that got me through," she said.
Fielding questions from a fan after the show, Eden revealed her ambitions to travel the world and said life had turned "crazy... good crazy" since winning The Voice.
Life will calm down once Eden completes the 10-date tour: she will perform at a Nine charity event and then buckle down to write new material for a second album expected next year.
"We see her as a very special artist and don't want to rush her into anything," a spokesman from her record label Universal said.
Hardcore fans had waited up to five hours to see Eden, who has become something of an idol due to her upbringing in foster homes.
"She's really inspirational because she's been through a lot and can teach young people how we can all achieve our dreams," said 15-year-old Emma Steele.
Also in the crowd was Claire Lyons, who went to school with Eden until the singer was uprooted due to her family difficulties.
"She was quite reserved in school but The Voice has really brought her out of herself," said the 21-year-old.
"Music has clearly given her a lot of confidence."
Other onlookers were simply mesmerised by the sheer power of Eden's voice, including Chantelle Fitzgerald from Perth, who had no idea Australia's new queen of soul was performing.
"It's nice to be able to see Karise," she said.
"But I thought there's be more people than this."