SHOREVIEW, Minn. — It was a magical moment in time for 20-year-old Roseville resident Libianca Fonji on a national stage as she wowed the judges and America on Monday night's episode of "The Voice."
"To see my daughter on that stage, man, I just thank God every day," said Libianca's father, Fred Fonji.
It was also sort of surreal for Libianca's church family at the Presbyterian Church of the Way in Shoreview where she first started singing.
"We knew that she had a great voice. We could hear her singing out here in the congregation and said 'You need to come on up here and help lead,'" said Rev. David Parker.
"I encouraged her. I said 'Listen, your best audience is going to be your church,'" said Fred.
Sound advice from her father, who immigrated to the U.S. from the west African country of Cameroon with the hopes of helping his family achieve its highest potential.
"We have gone through some difficult times, you know," said Fred.
Times that lead Libianca and her mother back to Cameroon at just 4 years old.
"We took them back to Cameroon so they can grow up and see where we grew up and how life looks like in Africa," said her mother.
It was there that her magical gift was developed.
"When I was in Cameroon I was exposed to a whole lot of music. The music I used to hear was Afrobeats, African genres of music; that was pretty amazing," said Libianca.
She returned to the states at 13 years old with a new outlook on life and a magical gift in the making — which for a period, she tried to keep hidden.
"She didn't want people to know. When I heard that voice I'm like, 'Man, we need to support this girl with everything that we got,'" said Fred.
After nailing her rendition of Sza's "Good Days" during her audition, it wasn't just her killer pipes that impressed the judges. It was the moment she had to choose between team Ariana and team Blake that had everybody talking.
"Somebody said something that gave me a sign, because I asked God to give me a sign and somebody said something that gave me that sign," Libianca said while deciding which team to join.
"I had people from all over the country texting me, well, what's this sign from God? What is this? And they wanted to know," laughed Rev. Parker.
The sign lead to a match made in heaven.
"We were praying that Blake, Blake is the guy," said Fred. He went on to say, "When Blake said, 'You know, my job is to help you get where you want to be.' That was it; I knew that at that point she was going to pick Blake."
Which in time, her biggest supporters say will pay off big.
"I feel so proud to be standing here and representing my Cameroonians," said Libianca.
"I know that there are so many other levels of her vocal capabilities that we have not seen, and so it's going to be really fun to see her shine," said Rev. Parker.
"The Voice" airs Monday and Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. on KARE 11.