Belle L Fojas | 14 June 2017

ABOUT THE WRITER: Belle L. Fojas is a movie, TV and music enthusiast who enjoys the small sweet things in life. She is in awe of the city but is totally in love with the sea. You can follow her adventures here @imveronicabelle.

Fijian-born singer-songwriter Paulini, who initially captured the hearts of the nation in the first ever Australian Idol, is set to play Rachel Marron in the Australian production of the worldwide live theatre sensation The Bodyguard Musical. It is set to arrive in Brisbane on 19-July for a four-week run at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC. We interviewed Paulini ahead of her arrival here in QLD, and we can’t wait to see her live performing a role of a lifetime.

How do you prepare for a performance? Do you have any specific rituals?
Before I hit the stage, I always do vocal warm-ups with my trusted app (laughs) on my phone. Gotta keep my vocal chords warm, hydrated and steamed! I also say a prayer before every performance.

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For someone who has performed Whitney Houston songs in front of a crowd before, how is it different this time performing her songs as a character?
When I am performing these songs in The Bodyguard, there’s a storyline attached to each of them and the words and melodies are essentially a huge part of the script. I’m not just delivering the vocals and notes, I’m thinking about the context of every scene and using the lyrics to tell my character’s story.

As your theatrical debut, what has been some of the memorable moments so far for you in The Bodyguard?
I would have to say opening night was an emotional highlight for me. I had just finished singing “I will always love you” at the end of the show and amidst a standing ovation, my eye caught my parents crying in the audience and I was overwhelmed by their reaction and the incredible amount of love and support in the room. I almost felt outside of myself looking in on this magical night. I feel blessed to be paying homage to Whitney Houston and every night I take a moment to reflect on her journey as an artist, knowing these songs mean so much to so many people.

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How much do you relate to your character Rachel?
Rachel's love of music also stemmed from her gospel background and her career and struggles as a female artist in the music industry, which is something I can certainly relate to. I very much identify with her closeness with her older sister and family - as I have two older sisters myself and understand the love/hate complexities of siblings and the beauty of sisterhood. But in other ways, I'm not like Rachel at all. I'm not a 'diva' believe it or not (laughs) and I am definitely not as sassy as Ms Marron. 

What are some films, plays or people that inspire you?
Oprah Winfrey remains one of my true inspirations. She turned her wounds into wisdom and paved the way to understanding for so many people around the world through her courage, talent and life lessons. As a performer, no-one inspires me like Beyonce: her work ethic, her message of empowerment, her craft, her stage presence - she is constantly raising the bar and is just incredible.

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What is the vibe and The Bodyguard crew like off stage? It must be fun to work in such an ensemble!
So much fun - it's such a great company to be a part of. I am grateful to be surrounded by so many talented and amazing people. I'm always learning something new as we all come from unique backgrounds – there is such a mixture of singers, dancers, actors, designers etc. We've become a little family. Everyone is down to earth and everybody keeps it real!

What can the world expect from Paulini for the rest of 2017?
We will be touring the show nationally until the end of the year so look out for that! After that, more shows, a Christmas tour and a new album next year!  I would also love to explore more acting - I feel like a new version of myself right now and I am inspired everyday. I keep having to pinch myself.

The Bodyguard Musical will be showing at QPAC from Wednesday July 19 - Friday August 11 . Tickets available here

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