Elizabeth Marvelly launches her second album, this time of familiar Kiwi standards.

You may find it a struggle to think of Elizabeth Marvelly as a "national treasure", as Prime Minister John Key describes her. It is after all, an accolade usually dished out to the Sir Howards and Dame Malvinas of this world, not singers barely out of their teens.

But there is nothing normal about this Kiwi songstress. At just 21, she has performed at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London and toured the world singing to tens of thousands of people.

It's been a whirlwind journey for the young soprano, who grew up in Rotorua and travelled with her father to Auckland every Sunday for singing lessons, before landing an international record deal and putting out her first album at the age of 17.

Marvelly is now about to release her second album, Home. As the title suggests, it's a collection of songs inspired by New Zealand, including Dave Dobbyn's Welcome Home and Don't Dream It's Over by Crowded House.


While it was daunting reinterpreting the Kiwi classics, Marvelly says it is these songs that helped her through endless touring overseas.

"The songs stuck in my head when I was trying to go to sleep at night were those by Kiwi artists. I grew to realise how much I missed New Zealand. And it just naturally led on to me wanting to do an album about home."

If you're wondering why Marvelly has included Don't Dream It's Over and How Great Thou Art - the same two songs that feature on Susan Boyle's recently released second album - the explanation is simple.

Marvelly finished recording Home in 2009 and it was for sale on her European tour with Paul Potts (who, like Boyle, got his big break on TV reality show Britain's Got Talent).

"It's kind of funny; her [Boyle's] management was in the audience at a couple of the shows. But you know, they are New Zealand songs and they were important for me to do then, and they still are.

"It doesn't matter if someone else has gone and done them."

"And, I suppose," she adds with a smile, "it's kind of weirdly flattering, in a way."

Elizabeth Marvelly's second album, Home, is out now.

- Herald On Sunday / View