How does someone who has been terrified of public speaking all their life wind up on the stage of the Sydney Opera House in front of 2,500 people?

Australian singer-songwriter Megan Washington has had a debilitating stutter since she was five years old, but for her it was a case of facing her demons head on.

As a teenager in Brisbane, she was bullied for her stutter.

After studying jazz at the Conservatorium of Music, she began writing her own songs and released a platinum-selling debut album in 2010.

Years of speech therapy helped her to overcome and disguise the condition as she achieved fame and success in the music industry.

But whenever she was asked to be a presenter at events, she would say no because just the thought of it made her feel sick.

When she appeared on television shows like The Voice and Spicks and Specks, she would employ a long-practiced technique designed to smooth out the stops, starts and repetitions in her speech.

She got through it but she always felt that the voice she presented to the world was not the real her.

The only time she was really happy with the sound coming out of her mouth was when she was singing.

And it was her music that finally prompted her to confront her darkest fear.

On top of her bucket list of "scary things" was public speaking.

So when she received an invitation to sing at the TEDx event in Sydney, an idea popped into her head.

Given that it was an event where people make speeches, why not make one herself?

The night before the event, she sat down and wrote a speech which cast away years of trying to disguise her stutter and instead came straight out with it.

"I have a problem. It's not the worst thing in the world. I'm fine, I'm not on fire. I know that other people have to deal with far worse things," she told the TEDx crowd.

"But to me, language and music are inextricably linked through one thing.

"And the thing is that I have a stutter."

The speech brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience, but also laughter as she told her story with warmth and humor.