Blind mum-of-seven and former Eurovision hopeful fulfils her dream and stuns judges on Voice of Ireland
A mum-of-seven who previously competed for Ireland at the 1985 Eurovision is set to wow on this Sunday's Voice of Ireland.
Despite being 95pc blind, Maria Cuche (50) has vowed that her disability won't stop her chasing her dream.
"I have wanted to be a singer from the age of five. My dream has always been to sing but then I fell in love and had seven beautiful children.
"I love being a mum but the youngest child has just turned nine so I just thought I'd go for it again and show there's still a bit of life left in me."
However, she admits she found the blind auditions tough - and she couldn't even tell if any of the judges turned for her.
"I was there from half past 8 in the morning and I wasn't called until the very end of the evening and it's desperate, it's just so nerve-wracking.
"I felt like a fish in a bowl.
"The judges were blind and I was blind. I didn't know what was going on but I needed to do it for myself. When I'm on stage singing, that's when I'm free."
The Dundalk native, who moved to France 23 years ago with her French husband, contracted a rare eye disease at the age of nine which destroyed her retinas. Her seven children range in age from nine to 23 and she said they all sing together "like the Von Trapp family".
Maria revealed how she tried not to make an issue of her disability when she competed in the Eurovision 31 years ago as she wanted to be judged on her own merits.
"I don't want pity," she continued.
"I think I have proved myself, having reared seven beautiful children. I have nothing more to prove - as far as being a blind person, don't want to be judged on that.
"I want to be judged on my ability as a singer and I think I have proved myself more than sighted people."
The talented singer opted to perform Beyonce's monster hit If I were a Boy' but said she did her own version of it.
"It was about me, how I feel as a mother. But obviously the judges don't know that I'm blind and they're a bit shocked when they find out," she said.
Independent.ie Comments Facility
INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform Independent.ie to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland's draconian libel awards system.
We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website Independent.ie