Fourteen months after winning the sixth season of X Factor Australia, Glendenning resident Marlisa Punzalan has watched her debut single “Stand By You” score a No. 2 debut on the ARIA Singles Chart, with more than 70,000 units sold, as certified by the Australian Recording Industry Association.

Marlisa was only 15 when she won the talent show. She is Australia’s youngest ever X Factor winner and the only girl under 25 to have prevailed and collected the grand prize. “I was like ‘No way,'” Marlisa gushed. “It couldn’t be that high. I’m only like a 15-year-old girl. It’s awesome to experience this, I’m really lucky.”

The Journey to One’s Dream

Marlisa’s current single, “Forever Young,” was written by Michael D’Arcy and Kayla Rae Bonnici. Speaking highly about the new song, Marlisa beams, “Releasing ‘Forever Young’ has been an amazing experience because it is an exciting change to my pop ballad style and I had an opportunity to try something new and fresh.”

“‘Forever Young’ is an upbeat and inspirational song about striving to achieve your best, staying positive and enjoying life! It is a great summer song, too,” she further explained.

Exclusive Q&A with Marlisa

It has been a busy month for Marlisa, having toured Asia including her hometown,  the Philippines – she also performed at dozens of corporate and fundraising events. She was also the spotlight at the recent Super Bowl 50 Weekend in San Francisco where she performed for the disabled veterans from the Wounded Warriors Amputee Football Team (WWAFT).


When she is not busy chasing her dreams, Marlisa says she enjoys playing tennis, drawing, swimming, playing piano, and reading teen fiction novels. Marlisa confessed that up to now she still can’t believe the direction her life has taken in the year following her successful stint on X Factor.

“I was just a regular teen, but now I’m travelling (the world) and doing what I love to do. This new year, I’m ready to show the world who I am…I am just ready to bring it even more,” she shared. “I will also be songwriting and recording more music and performing at many corporate and charity events.”


Just recently, VroomVroomVroom’s Jayson Paor had the opportunity to interview Marlisa. The charming and extremely talented teen star spoke about her amazing journey, her favourite travel destinations, songs she listens to when she travels, her favourite snacks, her dream car, and the things she learned from touring the world.

Growing up, when did you realize that you could sing?
I realised I could sing when I was singing along with TV commercial jingles…and my grandmother, who was a singer in her own time, said that I have a voice and potential. I also won my very first singing competition when I was nine years old which gave me a boost in confidence.

Did you ever practice singing in front of a mirror?
[ Laughs.] Yes, I practiced singing in front of the mirror to improve my performance skills.

Before winning X Factor, did you perform a lot in public?
I had joined many singing competitions and performed at local community and charity events in the public to gain experience and exposure.

Have you ever had the feeling of being a star?
I believed that I had a chance of becoming a star and that if I worked hard to achieve that, it wouldn’t be impossible.

Do you still get stage fright?
I have more confidence in myself now that I have more experience from the X Factor and I love being on stage in front of many people.

What has been your most nerve-wracking experience on stage?
The most nerve-wracking experience on stage for me was when I was performing for my spot in the grand finals of the X Factor and I was up against Reigan, who was a very experienced and professional singer.

What do you usually do to warm up and maintain your voice?
It is really important to do vocal range warm ups before you sing so you don’t damage your vocal chords. I always drink ginger tea because it soothes the throat and helps me sing without worrying about having a dry throat.

Personally, how do you define success?
Success comes with hard work, determination, resilience and belief in oneself.


Have you had a chance to enjoy your success?
Yes! I always celebrate with my family and eat lots of sweets! We also celebrate while listening to my album ‘Marlisa’ and singles “Stand By You” and “Forever Young”. [ Smiles.]

So far, what was the most memorable concert, festival, or tour you’ve ever played?
The most memorable music event for me would be the X Factor experience because without it I wouldn’t be where I am today and be the person I have developed into. It created my career and I’m very thankful that I was given that once in a lifetime opportunity.

Just curious. Do you listen to your own music (or play your songs) when you travel?
I sometimes listen to my own music when I travel to reflect and appreciate my musical journey but I listen to other songs as well.

How do you prepare yourself for touring? I know it demands a lot of energy. But how do you prepare?
Travelling is a very tiring experience but I am always excited to arrive at the destination and perform at different places I’ve never been to before. I rest while I travel as well so I preserve some of my energy.

Can you share with us your Top 3-5 favorite travel (city/country) destinations in the entire world and why?
My top 3 travel destinations include:
1. Japan because I love it’s culture
2. USA because I love the many things you can do, so much to see!
3. Philippines because it’s my background country and I love it there.


What are your favourite cities, or places to visit in Australia?
My favourite places in Australia include the Sydney Opera House and The Harbour Bridge. I love the Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour as well!

Do you have a bucket list of places that you would like to visit in the coming months or years?
I would like to visit Japan, New York and San Francisco and also Hawaii. And maybe perform in those countries and do a promo tour!

What are your favorite snacks to bring on the tour when travelling?
My favourite snacks to bring on tour when travelling are tiny teddys, sour cream and onion chips and anything with Nutella in it!

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had travelling? And what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
The best meal I’ve ever had was this delicious, this amazing moose brownie on the aeroplane. It had the perfect amount of sweetness in it. Unfortunately I don’t remember eating any super weird foods. [ Laughs.]

What’s your ultimate travel must-have? Other essential items you can’t live without when travelling?
My ultimate travel must-have when travelling is my phone. I also can’t live without my bag of food when travelling.

Can you please share your top three favourite road trip songs.
1. “Sorry” by Justin Bieber.
2. “Dessert” by Dawin.
3. “Forever Young” by Me.

These songs are all enjoyable songs to listen to and songs I always put on repeat!

You’ve been given the opportunity to travel and tour different countries at such a young age – can you tell us why you think that traveling is important and significant for you?
Travelling can be very valuable because you learn many different things about different countries and gain more knowledge about what really happens around the world. You also learn to appreciate all the blessings you have and realise that you are really lucky.


You’ve been busy with non-stop gigs but fans are eager to know – have you had a chance to work on your next album? 
I have been songwriting and co-writing some of my original songs that will be included in my next album. The songs are all inspirational and are for all ages!

This is a random question that I don’t normally ask. But if your life was made into a movie, what title would you give – and which actress would play you in the movie version of your life?
The title I would give my movie would be called The Journey to One’s Dream. I would try and be the actress myself to experience being an actress. [ Smiles. ]

If you could have your favourite / dream car, would it be a classic, cruise, or SUV car? What’s your dream car?
My dream car would be a rainbow galaxy Lamborghini because of its stunner looks and speed!

As we talk today, what are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the fact that I won the X Factor at age 15 and have produced my own album.

Finally, what do you wish people think of when they hear your name?
I wish people to see the person I am as a performer, and believe that they are never too young or old to achieve their dreams.

You may also want to check out the official clip for her debut single “Stand By You,” which has earned over 3 million YouTube views:

To know more about Marlisa, you can reach out to her through Facebook, Twitter , or Instagram.

Photo Credit: Marlisa’s Official Facebook Fan Page

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