THE PENINSULA’S GOT TALENT
He dazzled all judges on The Voice with his rendition of Elton John's Tiny Dancer -so much so that two of the superstar judges, Seal and Boy George, fought over who should be Rennie's coach.
The rift saw Seal victorious, and Rennie says the Kiss from a Rose singer has already taught him a lot.
“He really wants me to believe I can achieve great things in music," the 31-year-old tells Peninsula Living. At age 13, a passion for singing and songwriting was ignited after he began tinkering with his dad's old nylon string guitar.
After university, the singer began a career in commodity trading, but by 25, he had "dropped everything to pursue music full time".
That included releasing two EPs with his band Kidzeus, launching a jingle-writing business, and gigging around Sydney, including at Manly venues like Hotel Steyne and Donny's Bar.
"I think the peninsula is a great source of inspiration. There's a colourful vibe in the area. I'm always inspired by the friendliness of people and their pride in the region. I’ll often go for a stroll down the beach front and draw inspiration from whatever I see,” he reflects.
"Auditioning on The Voice this year just felt right for me," he simply states.
The show is forcing him to come out of his musical comfort zone. In the 'knockout' round, Seal asked him to sing without his guitar.
"That was the biggest challenge for me, performing without the safety net of the guitar… you have got to connect with the song," Rennie explains.
Whether he comes out victorious or not, the Fairlight local says he's happy to have made it to the top 12.
"You may not come out the other end being Michael Jackson, but I'll definitely have a lot more opportunities than beforehand," he says.
"For me that's great - there's no real negative."
Stailing his music career at age 12 when he joined the Collaroy Plateau Public School choir, Ellis says it was his dad that got him into music. Oh, and when he met Ed Sheeran.
"Dad loves Stevie Wonder and other super cool old musicians and I started getting into them too. Then I met Ed Sheeran when I was 13, and he told me, 'Don't do anything unless you love it', and I loved music. I started teaming the guitar because of him," Ellis reveals.
Soon, he was busking outside Mona Vale Woolworths as "I was too nervous to perform on The Corso". In Team Boy George, Ellis says the iconic musician is a "legend". "I think the best advice he's giving me is to be myself. He always says, 'There can only be one you'," he explains.
The hardest struggle so far for the 19-year-old has been learning lyrics to songs, primarily due to his severe dyslexia.
"Even my audition song, Free FaIlln' by Tom Petty, was hard for me to learn. I really like the song and what it has to offer. And I practiced and practiced, and thankfully I didn't forget the lyrics on stage, but when there's some of your idols with their backs turned to you, listening to you sing, I forgot everything I'd practiced - it was ridiculous!" Ellis says, laughing.
The peninsula is up there with music as two of his greatest loves.
"The Northern Beaches is where it's at! I love the laidback and chilled out lifestyle. People have a lot of time and energy to be creative here," he says.
“I think there's something in the waters on the peninsula - that's why there's so many talented artists from around here," Tim sums up.
While the 23-year-old always loved music, the former St Augustine's College student was more into rugby in his teens.
"There's always been sport, and there's always been rugby in my life, but I started really enjoying playing the guitar and started gigging, so that took centre stage," Tim explains.
He's a familiar face at Manly Wine Bar, Dee Why Hotel, Newport Arms and Harbord Hotel - regularly performing at all of the venues.
Choosing Delta over Seal as his mentor when both judges 'turned around' during his blind audition, he says the stunning singer has made him "gain so much out of the show".
"Delta is an amazing coach and songwriter. She just cares so much and I think she's a great role model. She's taught me how to relax and believe in myself, and not to overthink things too much. If I relax, everything comes together a lot easier," he explains.
Like Rennie, Tim admits his guitar is his safety blanket, and has struggled learning to play without it…
"It just feels weird playing without it... It's been hard to just stand there and sing," he admits.
"I want to grow as an artist, and really absorb all this knowledge and embrace the valuable experience I have been given. I want to use the exposure the show gives."