The gift of music came in the form of an iPod

 
 
 

Marzia Barry’s voice cuts through cheers and applause. On centre stage, with just the strumming of a guitar in the background, she takes control of the room. Her singing is powerful, not overpowering. Performing at the National Arts Festival at only 16 years of age, she has the presence and poise of a seasoned professional, with talent to rival far more established musicians.

The youngster’s journey as a singer began when she was eight years old, participating in the choir at St Joseph’s Marist College. When her aunt gave her an iPod loaded with music by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, she discovered her love for jazz and began to focus on the genre. With a voice that stunned her friends and family, Barry kept performing until audiences and producers took note.  She was one of the top six finalists in the 2014 Rising Star Talent Search, an initiative to find and promote local talent. In 2015, she was included in the Rising Star Season One album. Today, she continues to enthrall listeners at gigs around the country.

Barry’s effortless performances display a maturity beyond her years. But like any other teenager, her interests have to contend with homework and other school commitments. She takes it in her stride, often combining the two by performing with her school’s jazz band. This year, she released her first original single and music video, showing that she’s capable of maximising her potential. Barry is a South African musician on the rise, and an inspiration to nurture and pursue raw talent.