In an emotional blind audition on The Voice Australia, Natasha Stuart told the coaches that she'd just finished 20 weeks of chemo for breast cancer. What she didn't reveal is the toll it had taken on her.
"My body's taken a massive beating," she tells TV WEEK.
"They say that you can have symptoms that mimic chronic fatigue for six to 12 months post-chemo. I'm definitely feeling quite tired."
But ever since her diagnosis, music has been the thing that's kept Natasha going. The 42-year-old professional singer from NSW had just come off tour when she found a lump in her breast in the middle of last year. "It literally went from on stage with Michael Bolton, next day, find a lump, whirlwind," she remembers.
Diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, Natasha began chemotherapy. Even though it knocked her "so hard", she kept doing gigs with stars such as David Campbell and Richard Clapton.
Eventually, it became too much for her.
"The chemo was affecting every membrane within my body, so my mouth lining, throat, oesophagus, stomach and intestines," she explains. "It just got too hard for me to sing because I physically couldn't."
But when Natasha was asked to perform on Australia Day this year, she knew she had to do it – even though it was just days after her last chemo treatment.
"I was on the Opera House forecourt, singing my heart out, with no eyebrows and no eyelashes and a wig. Music was everything for me to get through what I went through. It was the one time I felt normal."
In her long career as a singer, Natasha has performed back-up for three of The Voice coaches – Boy George, Guy Sebastian and Delta. She toured with Delta in 2005, not long after Delta had finished her own treatment for cancer. Natasha now feels a special bond with Delta, who she picked as her coach.
"I have such a deeper compassion for what she went through because I actually really understand it."
The Voice Australia, Sunday, 7pm, and Monday and Tuesday, 7.30pm, Nine Network