A singing sister from Skegness Hospital is still reeling with delight after a recent brush with stardom proved that her musical dreams can come true.
Gemma Marshall never imagined that a small town girl could make it the ruthless world of show business.
But after singing her heart out in front of millions of viewers on BBC One’s The Voice last Saturday night, she feels inspired to pursue her passion even further.
“It was an awesome experience from start to finish and I loved every minute of it,” she said.
“This has shown me that you don’t need to be a diva to make a success - just because you live in a small town doesn’t mean you can’t follow your dreams.”
The 27-year-old junior sister at Skegness Hospital’s Urgent Care Centre was unknowingly put forward for the show by her parents back in August.
After an initial audition in Birmingham, she embarked on a showbiz adventure of vocal coaching, stylist sessions and stage rehearsals in preparation for the big performance.
“It was just like being a real popstar,” she said.
While rehearsing, she also had the chance to meet such musical legends as Tom Jones, Jessie J and will.i.am as well as David ‘The Hoff’ Hasselhoff.
“He was hilarious,” laughed Gemma.
Whereas some reality talent shows are notorious for belittling their performers and treating them like a commodity, Gemma says The Voice was much more of a nurturing experience.
“They really took the time to get to know you and work with you and make sure you were feeling OK,” she said,
“Even the guests who got knocked out early one were given some good critique about their vocal style and no one was ever cruel.”
But when the time came for her moment in the spotlight, the former Queen Elizabeth II Grammar School student was racked with nerves.
“I could just feel my heart banging in my chest,” she said.
“Even though we had rehearsed it so many times, when you could see the judges in their chairs turned away from you, it was quite scary.
“But I just took a deep breath, got on with it and had an amazing time.”
Although her version of Rita Ora’s ‘How We Do (Party)’ didn’t make the final selection, Gemma has been overwhelmed by the response.
“My Youtube channel’s been viewed more than 4,500 times, I picked up 159 new Twitter followers and had a load of random Facebook requests,” she said.
She’s also been invited to perform at the opening of the Skegness Carnival in July and has a radio interview for BBC Lincolnshire on Tuesday morning.
Having been supported through her busy rehearsal schedule by the fellow nurses at Skegness Hospital, Gemma also hopes to have done her bit for the profession.
“It was great to be able to give a bit of a shout out to my fellow nurses because we’ve had a bit of a bad time of it lately, what with all that ‘too posh to wash’ nonsense,” she said.
“But it’s more than just a job, we’re caring for people day in day out, so it was nice to be able to do something to give nursing a good name.”