Whanganui now has a local to throw its support behind in the reality TV show Popstars.
Kareshma Martin's audition will screen on TVNZ 2 tonight and she will feature on other episodes.
The Whanganui-based singer prepared one cover and two original songs and set about impressing the judging panel of Nathan King, Kimbra, and Vince Harder.
"For me, having Kimbra there was a real nerve-wracking moment because I really resonate with her style and uniqueness as an artist," she said.
"Singing in front of her was a bit stressful, but I think my past experience helped me.
"This isn't something I just suddenly decided to do, it's something I've worked towards for a substantial amount of time."
Martin has been based in Whanganui for the past year and said she entered her first songwriting competition in Taranaki at the age of 12.
Her family returned to her birthplace of Malaysia a year later and she continued her music career there, with the stage name Reshma Martin.
She said she continued to enter singing competitions, both in Malaysia and around the world.
"And I enjoyed learning about my craft because I never actually went to a vocal lesson.
"The experience I got from competing was really valuable."
Martin said she "hit the jackpot" five years ago, after being cast on a singing show in Malaysia called 'Akademi Fantasia', which was "a culture" there.
"I was the only woman of colour to ever compete on it and I think that kind of helped me make my mark.
"Since then, my life kind of took a whole 180. I was immediately signed to a label who were pretty much in control of the music I put out and I was only singing in my national language, which is Bahasa Malaysia.
"It's been pretty crazy since then, and I've only done it with Malay music."
Martin came to Whanganui last year to visit her sister, who works at the hospital.
"We came down to visit and then Covid-19 became a big thing.
"I was sort of stuck here, and I couldn't go back and perform and release new music, but I just thought 'wait a minute, I could use this to my advantage'.
"It meant starting a new career here and starting from scratch to an extent, but it is a whole new identity, and a whole new brand of English-speaking music.
"I wanted to continue the grind and not stop just because of the circumstances."
Aside from her appearances in Popstars, Martin said she was also preparing for the release of her debut English-language single, 'loneliest girl'.
The music video for the song was shot at Porridge Watson on Drews Ave.
"The video was done by Lamp Studios from Whanganui, who are absolutely incredible," Martin said.
"For the mixing and mastering I specifically used Malaysian creators, and I wanted to bring that sound over here.
"Hopefully it's a quality that New Zealand appreciates.'
• 'Loneliest girl' will be released on April 30.