ANAVAH Boushur keeps a low profile in Opotiki, but she’s belting out tunes elsewhere. Photo Sven Carlsson OS0113-01

SWIMMING and getting booted onto the stage at age nine has helped secure Anavah Boushur’s career as a singer.

Ms Boushur has kept a pretty low profile in her hometown of Opotiki, and it wasn’t until an Italian tourist recorded a tune with her that the Opotiki News became aware of her.

Ms Boushur explains that her name, Anavah, comes from the Hebrew and that her mother is of Jewish heritage.

“She went back to Israel last year,” she said. “I went there when I was so young I can’t remember, and I hope to go back soon, perhaps for my 21st.”

Her surname, Boushur, comes from the French language.

“My dad is a French Maori and my mum is a Jewish Maori.”

Ms Boushur has a singing contract with Sky City in Auckland and she also does corporate gigs.

Locally, she works with Reuben Paraha who helps promote her.

“He brings me offers, then it’s up to me to decide whether I want to do them or not.”

She has performed in Tauranga, Hamilton and Taupo, and recently spent an extended period in the South Island after going down on holiday.

“My aunty has a business in Geraldine and I sang karaoke when I visited her over the holidays.”

The planned two-week stay was extended to three weeks, with the Southerners wanting her to sing at several places.

“I was offered a contract in Dunedin, but I had to say no.”

When she was 16, she was offered a contract with Sony, as a prospect, which she declined.

“It was an honour to be selected, but it was also scary,” she said. “I would have had to move to the United States.”

Ms Boushur credits her parents and swimming for getting her on the right vocal path.

“When my mother and father realised I could sing they supported me,” she said.

“They pushed me onto the stage when I was eight or nine years old.”

A competitive swimmer from an early age, she has been told by vocal coaches that she has perfect breathing.

“I didn’t have to get much vocal coaching,” she said.

“I like having the lessons, but apparently I don’t need them.”

When Ms Boushur went to high school, she was coerced to go and watch a talent quest.

“I went with them, not realising they had entered me in the contest; they only told me when we arrived.”

Surprised that she was an actual contestant, Ms Boushur “freaked out” at first.

“They had told me – we went there because it was my birthday.”

Thus, on the eve she turned 16, MsBoushur won the contest and 7000-strong audience sang “Happy Birthday” for her.

“It was really cool, and everybody wanted to talk to me afterwards,” she said.

Singing for a wide range of audiences, Ms Boushur has had to learn a variety of genres.

She’s currently on a gap year from her performing arts studies at Auckland University.