Sarah Stones’ run on The Voice Australia 2017 is compelling reality TV. There are the normal responses to watching a contestant make it through successive rounds and benefitting from coaching, styling, and staging, but there is more. With 22-year-old Sarah Stone, her background included a tragedy of a kind that is hard to move on from. This tragedy underlies her singing and her being. Then there is the insightful manner in which her chosen coach, Boy George, nurtures, guides, and nudges her.
You find yourself rooting for Stone, even if the songs she sings aren’t all to your taste. The underlying tragedy is touched on at the beginning of the video so I’ll only mention it briefly before we watch the video. I’ll return to it later in more depth. Sarah Stone’s mother, Linda Grimstone dropped six-year-old Sarah and her 11-year-old brother Alex at school. The family never heard from her again. For her blind audition, Sarah sang Autumn Leaves by Paolo Nutini.
The way Sarah Stone approached Paolo Nutini’s Autumn Leaves impressed me. It’s a downbeat song, and she finds the emotion in it without over-elaborating, which is unusual for a blind audition. Betty K writes on YouTube: “I am in awe of her. She has a subtle power in her voice that just pulls you in and completely moves you. Beautiful Sarah!” K Shih notes, “She has such an amazing soul for not even focusing on her own pain and grief and rather thinking about how her father feels.”
Mic the Eagle agrees that the video is unusually compelling: “This is the one video where I learned that all songs have emotions attached to them and are not just to be performed, but to be felt too. And also the one where I understood (everything) the coaches said. She is truly an artist. Beautiful.” As we saw, Sarah Stone made it through to the live rounds, but not to the finals. I am pleased to report that Stone hasn’t stopped performing. This video was posted in November 2022:
That video is credited to Sarah Stone/Acoustic Duo. WBC Entertainment, Stone’s management company which posted the video, notes that Stone spent 11 years training with the Young Australian Broadway Chorus. After The Voice she has “performed alongside Ed Sheeran, Craig David & Rudimental as part of the Nova Red Room Global Tour”. In July 2020, she released the single, What We Do.
So what do we know about Sarah (Grim)Stone’s mother’s disappearance? 42-year-old Linda Anne Grimstone dropped her children at Croydon Hills Primary School, Victoria, just before 9 am on Monday 4th September 2000. Three-quarters of an hour later, she bought petrol. She was seen at 3:50 pm in the car park of Powers Lookout, approximately 277 km from her home. The next day her locked car was found parked in bushland off Powers Lookout Road. Linda’s handbag and mobile phone were in the boot, as was her habit.
The following is summarised from the Australian Missing Persons Register: “More than 160 police and volunteers, a police helicopter, the mounted branch and the dog squad searched for five days in poor weather. Mr Grimstone believes authorities dismissed his fears that his wife had been abducted and murdered because of past episodes in which she had been depressed and disappeared, but always returned. … Detective Wyatt, whom Mr Grimstone praised, said ‘It’s extremely unlikely that she would have been able to get out of the search area unless she had the assistance of another person. I don’t know if this third party has accidentally knocked her over in the fog and panicked and taken her away out of the area. I don’t know if she’s met with a person and met with foul play’. Detective Wyatt stressed that he did not believe Mr Grimstone was involved.
The homicide squad was not summonsed and no official reward was offered because a body was not found and there was no physical evidence of a crime being committed. The case remains unresolved. Keep singing, Sarah Stone, your voice is beautiful! If you would like to see more from Sarah Stone, you can follow her on Facebook or Instagram.