Like nursing, singing is a vocation, says RN Nia Beaman, so she was well placed to support her daughter Prinnie in her bid to be The Voice.
While working at Sydney Hospital for 26 years, RN Nia Beaman was also helping her daughter, Prinnie Stevens, realise her dream.
When Nia discovered that her children loved singing and dancing at a very young age, she enrolled Prinnie and her brother David in Sydney’s top performing art schools. But, Nia told The Lamp, it was never for fame or fortune.
“It wasn’t to support their career but to support them to become better human beings and hope that they get a better education and a better life,” Nia explained. “Musicians don’t get paid much and it’s a vocation, just like nurses, it’s something you’re born with,” Nia said. “It doesn’t mean fame and fortune, it’s a burning desire and a vocation.
“To be true to your profession and your vocation without much money – and they’ve been doing this since they were five or six – now that’s commitment. And it’s not easy.”
Prinnie recently showed that commitment as a contestant on The Voice, where she battled it out every week for a spot on the popular Channel Nine TV show.
“We were very much aware that it’s up to the people who vote and there’s absolutely nothing you can do,” Nia told The Lamp. “It’s up to the mercy of the public and I suppose from a mother’s point of view, the worst thing that you want for your child is to be publicly scrutinised,” Nia said. “We all live in limbo and wait until ‘next Monday’ to see the result.”
After watching her daughter in singing and dancing competitions for more than two decades, Nia knows that “we’re only just touching the surface” when it comes to watching Prinnie perform on The Voice.
“It would be so sad for me if she gets voted out because we haven’t even seen the best of her yet,” Nia told The Lamp. “They [The Voice] want to cover all areas because it’s a show and it’s an advertisement for them. They’ve got to make their money and show people that they’ve got the full package,” Nia added. “You feel for her because she’s got no choice but to do her best with whatever she’s given.”
This was very much the case when The Voice coach, Joel Madden, pitted Prinnie against her best friend Mahalia Barnes, in a battle to decide who would stay in the competition.
“When Prinnie did the battle with Jimmy Barnes’ daughter, that was the ultimate cruelty,” Nia said. “She did her best to show her ability.”
“She works so hard and it’s sad because I just think, ‘Australia, give this girl a chance because she’s giving it her all’,” Nia said.
For the past decade, Prinnie has been slugging it out doing corporate and private gigs, while raising her six-year-old daughter with husband Ed Stevens, an American-Jamaican basketball coach. Last year she dubbed one of the roles in the upcoming Australian film The Sapphires, about four Aboriginal singers who entertained troops in Vietnam, and she was Christine Anu’s understudy on the Baz Lurhmann film, Moulin Rouge.
“Prinnie’s very disciplined. She doesn’t drink and she doesn’t smoke,” Nia said.
“It is hard. She’ll be doing a wedding or a corporate gig on Saturday or Sunday and you feel for them driving into the city or driving out to Liverpool at four o’clock in the morning. People don’t realise that it’s not all glamour. You do a wedding or you do a funeral for somebody and then you get in your car and you have to drive home,” Nia explained. “It’s lonely and it’s hard work.”
Even after all these years, Nia stays up after every gig until she knows that Prinnie is at home, safe and sound.
“I stay up. You can’t tell a mother to go to bed,” Nia said. “Once she gets in, then I go to bed.”
Despite the ups and downs, Nia is proud of what her daughter has accomplished.
“I feel proud as a mother that she’s done her best and she’s delivered what people paid for,” Nia said. “From thereon in, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you don’t have any control over that. I just think it’s wonderful that people have remembered and thought of her.”
After reaching the final 12 contestants on The Voice, Prinnie was voted off in a show that saw eight contestants leave on one night.
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