Shauntai Batzke, gospel and opera singer and songwriter, is a Wiradjuri woman who grew up in Sydney.
The daughter of one of Australia’s best, but unheralded boxing champions Wally Carr, Ms Batzke is one of the first Indigenous Australians to gain a Bachelor’s degree majoring in classical voice at the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.
So like her mentor, renowned Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham AO and bass baritone and Yorta Yorta man Tiriki Onus, Ms Batzke is a trailblazer following in the footsteps of the very first Australian Indigenous opera singer Harold Blair.
“I was just seven when I first saw Whitney Houston on TV,” says Ms Batzke. “It was at that moment I realised there was a possibility of hope. To be what I feel I was born to be. To sing.”
In August, Ms Batzke travelled to New York City to attend summer school at the Belle Arti Center for the Arts as part of the Canto de las Americas – a workshop for aspiring artists in their vocal arts program.
The world is now her stage and this is her story.
Banner image: Indigenous soprano Shauntai Batzke singing at last year’s ‘Wilin Celebrate’ at the Victorian College of the Arts. Picture: Jorge De Araujo. Group shot outside the Metropolitan Opera House and footage courtesy Belle Arti Center for the Arts, New York