Kareshma Martin's run on reality show Popstars has come to an end but the Whanganui-based musician said getting to the top 27 has been "very validating".
And now the singer - who goes by the stage name Reshma - hopes to be able to use the experience as a springboard to release new music.
"It was a tough one, because everyone there was super, super talented," Martin said.
"It was a fun experience, for sure, and I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing.
"I only showed up again in New Zealand last year, so anything I could do to be able to put myself out there was a step forward.
"The last time I performed here was when I was 12, I think."
All the music she has released to date has been in her home country of Malaysia and in her native language.
"I hadn't written much English-speaking music before going on the show," Martin said.
"The reaction I've been getting has just been incredible, and I think people back home are proud that I got to do it. To see someone from Malaysia thriving in a New Zealand environment is very touching for them.
"I think I'm doing something right if people are genuinely excited about the moves I'm going to make next."
The moves in question began well before her appearance on Popstars, Martin said, and her debut English-language single "loneliest girl" is set to be released on April 30.
"I think I've trained myself to think in a way where things are realistic, rather than getting caught up in the fame and the glam.
"It's not about that for me. Music is a craft and it's something that needs to be honed, but it also needs to be sold at the end of the day.
"I rarely write happy songs, they're always a bit dark and creepy. I always imagine them in the OST [original soundtrack] of a fight scene, and that goes for 'loneliest girl' as well.
"Hopefully my songs can catch people and take them to a different world, a world where they're about to fight The Hulk, you know?"
Martin said she would be "definitely releasing more music" before the year was out.
"I'm keen to develop a series of songs that I can bunch up to form an EP, and it'll resonate with the idea of being isolated or lonely.
"We were in those times in New Zealand, and we are still in them in Malaysia."
The single "loneliest girl" is set for release on April 30.