From the market to the stage: Elha Nympha's life-changing 'Voice Kids' victory
MANILA, Philippines – Elha Nympha went to the Voice Kids Blind Auditions armed with a dream, her powerful whistle note, and a basket full of banana cue, which she gamely shared with the judges.
The whistle notes, difficult for most singers to hit and used by powerful singers like Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera, were clear and present in Elha's Blinds – but they weren't front and center. (IN PHOTOS: Unforgettable moments from 'The Voice Kids PH 2' grand finals)
And in fact, the one coach who turned for Elha – coach Bamboo – is not likely to turn solely for a singer's technical abilities. In Elha's Blinds, a slow and sweet cover of Mariah's "Vision of Love," Bamboo saw a powerful vocalist with growing potential, though Elha's wasn't the perfect audition. (READ: What's it like to watch a 'Voice Kids' live show?)
"May some points na nangyari nga na it was a little too much for you. Pero yung power definitely andoon. It shows me I have a very strong singer here in front of me. (There some points in the song where it was a little too much for you. But the power, it's definitely there.) It shows me I have a very strong singer here in font of me," he said.
The only one to turn for Elha, he took her under his wing and helped Elha tap into her emotions and improve her vocal control.
Months later, Elha stood on the Voice Kids stage, standing tall, sweetly singing "Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin." The notes started low, then built higher and higher. Elha nailed them all. It was the performance of the night, one that had an emotional Bamboo urging the Philippines to vote.
"Pilipinas, please, magtiwala kayo sa narinig niyo, sa nakita niyo, sa naramdaman mo. She is a very special singer. Undeniable, undeniable.
(Philippines, please, trust in what you heard, what you saw, what you felt.)
"This show is called The Voice, and who deserves to win the show, and I see a voice in front of me who deserves this. She is the voice in my book," Bamboo said.
Elha's fans will recognize the familiar face who's always there to support her – mom Lucy, who's been cheering her on from the start. Like many kids who audition for The Voice Kids, Elha has a compelling story which helps her tap into her emotions during her performances.
Lucy is a single mom, having lost Elha's dad last December 2014. The loss was difficult for Elha, who was very close to her father before he died. "Naapektohan po talaga siya sa pagkamatay ng papa niya kasi unang-una, mahal na mahal po niya yung papa niya tapos pag galing po ng tatay niya sa office, palagi siya nagkukwentuhan," Lucy shared.
(She was really affected by the loss of her dad, because first of all, she really loved him, and whenever he came home from the office, they would always share stories.)
Life has been difficult for Elha's family since then, and Elha took it upon herself to help out her mom, taking care of her siblings.
It was a couple of months after her dad's death that Elha and her mom thought of a new source of income – selling banana cue at the market, using her powerful voice to attract and engage customers. And it was while she was selling her banana cue that host Yeng Constantino surprised her with an invitation to The Voice's Blind Auditions.
"'Yan po yung pangarap ng papa niya bago siya mamatay," a tearful Lucy said, explaining why she and Elha were so emotional. "Na makita siya sa TV." (That was her papa's dream for her before he died, that he'd see her on TV.)
But the sad story isn't why she won. There were rocky moments in the competition, but her performances got better and better each week.
After her Blinds, Elha's strong voice stood out among other Kamp Kawayan team members Paul Abellana and Kate Campo in the Battle Rounds, and Bamboo praised her for her vocal control. "You sing beyond your age," said coach Bamboo to Elha after the trio's performance of "Your Love" by Alamid.
After that, Elha powered through the sing-offs, singing "Natutulog ba ang Diyos" by the iconic Gary Valenciano. Coach Bamboo's praise of her storytelling abilities rang true – Elha built the song up and finished powerfully, driving coach Lea to tell her, "Yung paglagay ng puso sa likod ng boses, mahirap yun. Di natuturuan." (Expressing the heart behind a voice, that's difficult. That can't be taught.)
Sometime before the semi-finals, coach Bamboo visited the homes of his finalists in the Top 6, Elha and Sassa Dagdag. He spent an afternoon with Elha and her mom, and even tried out selling banana cue, too.
Hello Elha Hello camera dude :-) pic.twitter.com/0rVgj6niRl— Bamboo (@BambooMuzakLive) August 17, 2015
Me , Elha and her mom pic.twitter.com/V1ZG1SVqqi— Bamboo (@BambooMuzakLive) August 17, 2015
Let's meet the neighbors Elha takes me for a walk pic.twitter.com/OfFwy4IFWU— Bamboo (@BambooMuzakLive) August 17, 2015
At a press conference for the show, he said that his experience at both Sassa and Elha's homes was a lot of fun. "Any time we get to spend time together away from the studio away, from the stage, I get to see the kids for what they are and what they do," he said.
Up high pic.twitter.com/cuksHbFAKi— Bamboo (@BambooMuzakLive) August 17, 2015
Goodbye everybody Mom, Elha and Moi There were more pics but I wasn't allowed to post it ..yet :-) pic.twitter.com/cgRJgGPoE1— Bamboo (@BambooMuzakLive) August 17, 2015
The closer relationship with her coach seemed to help Elha improve even more. While her first few performances were good, Elha truly shined in the semi-finals. She showed off her full vocal range with Carousel's "You'll Never Walk Alone" hitting all the right notes from start to finish, without losing control. Her performance rendered Lea speechless, and Bamboo called her performance "the moment that will change your life."
Still, not everyone was convinced Elha would win at this point. After the semi-finals, it was revealed that among the Top 4, Elha came in 3rd in the Semi-final votes after Team Lea's Reynan Dal-Anay and Esang de Torres. Bamboo said this much after the finals: "'Cos people did not expect her, no one saw her coming, right?"
What no one saw coming was Elha's performance of Mariah Carey's "Emotions" at the finals.
Her first act during Finals, a duet with Jed Madela of Regine Velasquez's "Narito," was beautiful. Elha dedicated the song to her father, and Bamboo praised her for performing from her heart. Elha held her own with Jed, with host Luis Manzano calling their performance "unbelievable."
But it was the full package of her "Emotions" performance, with yes, those whistle notes, that got everyone's attention.
Whether or not they were a fan of Elha, the crowd woke up and roared for the little girl who used to sell banana cue at the market to make ends meet.
Elha's two performances during the finals on August 29 had coach Bamboo teary-eyed. "I tried to hold back the tears," Bamboo said. "I knew the moment she nailed that, I knew wala nang masasabi (nothing could be said), nobody can say anything."
He added that as the only coach who turned for her in Blinds, he knew Elha was special: "At some point I knew I had somebody very special. It's mindblowing what she can do."
As for Elha, her The Voice journey is a step towards helping her family. "Iipunin ko muna [yung premyo ko] po para sa susunod po may pangkuha kami ng mga kailangan na gamot," she said after the winning announcement. (I'll save up [my prize] for now, so that in the future we have something to use for buying medicine we might need.)
She also hopes to open her own restaurant in the future: "Mag-iipon pa po ako. Gusto ko po kasi magtayo ng restaurant." (I'm going to save up because I want to put up a restaurant.)
The future is looking bright for Elha, whose entire life will change because of her win, according to coach Bamboo: "She lives that every single day and she has to [sell banana cue] to help her family, her brothers and sisters, so I have a lot of respect for that. But now her life will change... She deserves it." – Rappler.com
More The Voice Kids PH 2 below:
- Emotional coach Bamboo celebrates Elha Nympha's 'Voice Kids' victory
- IN PHOTOS: Unforgettable moments from 'The Voice Kids PH 2' grand finals
- Elha Nympha wins 'The Voice Kids Philippines 2'
- What's it like to watch a 'Voice Kids' live show?
- Lea Salonga, Bamboo on Sarah G, 'The Voice Kids PH 2' Top 4 results
- FULL RECAP: 'The Voice Kids PH 2' Grand finals
- Sarah Geronimo thanks everyone for 'The Voice Kids PH 2' results
- 'The Voice Kids PH 2' final 4: Who will win it all at the grand finals?
- 'The Voice Kids PH 2': Final 4 revealed
- FULL RECAP: 'The Voice Kids PH 2' semifinal round
- READ: 'The Voice Kids PH 2' coaches prep Top 6 for semi-finals
- WATCH: 'The Voice Kids PH 2' Top 6 on their biggest competition, semifinal round
- Meet the 'The Voice Kids PH 2' top 6
- How 'The Voice Kids PH' coaches help kids cope with pressure
- WATCH: The 5 best Battle Rounds from 'The Voice Kids Philippines 2'
- FULL LIST: 'Voice Kids PH' Battle Rounds results: Who's in, who's out?
- 10 amazing 'Voice Kids PH 2' blind auditions
- WATCH: Lea Salonga 'mini-me' stuns in 'Voice Kids PH' audition
- WATCH: Brothers from Bohol impress with unique 'Voice Kids PH 2' blind audition
- WATCH: 'Voice Kids PH' coaches turn for young contestant singing 'On My Own'
- Bamboo to this young 'Voice Kids PH' contestant: 'I'm so in awe of you'
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- WATCH: Sarah G, Jason Dy, Bamboo serenade young contestant in ‘Voice Kids PH 2'