FREDERICTON — A New Brunswick musician is one step closer to the big time after she received the coveted golden buzzer on Canada’s Got Talent.
The singer and songwriter from Grand-Barachois, N.B., who goes by the stage name Anica, received a standing ovation Tuesday night for her performance of “Unstoppable,” originally recorded by American pop singer Sia.
Speaking to the Canada’s Got Talent judges — Kardinal Offishall, Trish Stratus, Lilly Singh and Howie Mandel — she said she wanted her performance to send a message to “the millions of Canadians” who hold lived experiences with physical abuse.
“I wanted to let them know that you don’t have to continue to swim in that sea of dysfunctionality and you can be happy as long as you keep your eye on the prize,” said Anica.
Lived experience with physical abuse is close to home for Anica; she faced it herself as a child in the foster system.
She admits that she hadn’t spoken much about her childhood until recently. Throughout her young life, Anica moved around between nine different foster homes.
“I always thought I was a good kid, but I tried to remain invisible,” said Anica in a pre-show interview with Citytv.
But things took a turn for the better in her last foster home when her foster parents at the time bought her first guitar.
“Music helped me make sense of everything I’d been through – it literally gave me a voice,” she said.
“I don’t want to be invisible any more.”
After Anica’s performance, show host Lindsay Ell walked out from backstage and stood behind the judges’ table and its coveted golden buzzer, which sends contestants directly to semi-finals.
“As someone who is a survivor [of physical abuse] … I know what it is like to go through difficulty and be able to channel it into something like music,” said Ell, holding back tears.
“You deserve to be on a worldwide stage.”
Within seconds, Ell slammed her hand down onto the golden buzzer, prompting more cheers and applause from the studio audience.
Bathed by a glow of golden lights and streamers falling from the ceiling, Anica thanked the judges and audience through tears, before hugging Ell.
Speaking on Facebook Live after the episode, Anica said the semi-finals will be aired on Citytv in May and encouraged fans to cast their votes to send her off to finals.
“It was a little bit scary telling my story, but it was worth it,” she said.