Meet the midlands' very own answer to Kelly Clarkson in the form of a very talented 14-year old who is seemingly destined for stardom.
Grace Gazey from Nuneaton has always wanted to be in the spotlight it seems, from performing in karaoke competitions when she was younger to harbouring ambitions to be a model.
“I’ve been singing since I was seven” she said. “I like to sing a lot of Queen, Freddy Mercury, Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson."
And like the American Idol winner, Grace entered the competition for the Teen Idol 2006 title and won, an achievement that her mother Lynne never doubted that she’d reach.
“I always knew she’d get it, she’s good enough. All the people in the competition were very talented but I never doubted she would win for a second” the proud mum said.
Grace, who attends Manor Park Community School in Nuneaton entered the competition earlier this year after finding audition information online. The auditions were held at the Abbey Theatre in Nuneaton and at the Leamington Spa Centre. Grace was selected to go through to the group stages for a series of shows where they displayed their vocal abilities both together and individually. There were also dance and choreography workshops.
“I really enjoyed the competition and everyone was really nice. It lasted for six months and we were all really supportive of each other” she said. “I still keep in touch with them and sometimes see them in town.
“My school friends were really happy for me when I won, but my friends don’t really jump around much! My teachers have been really supportive though. The head teacher sent flowers.”
Grace was chosen again by the judges after a solo rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s Because of You and was put forwards with nine other finalists. The judges panel singled out Grace in the final after singing another of Clarkson’s hits - Walk Away.
Since then, life has been a whirlwind for the young singer. She is now working with her own vocal coach Leon Haynes, and has been performing in a range of shows. If that wasn’t enough to keep her occupied she has taken up playing both the guitar and drums.
Grace said: “I’ve only been playing a few months so I'm not very good yet. My main ambition for now is being in more shows and competitions. In the future I’d love a record deal.”
Grace tried for the role of Teen Idol at the 2005 auditions but didn’t get through. At 13-years old she was one of the youngest competitors.
Previous Teen Idols have gone on to be big successes with 2005 graduate Sarah Roberts being one of the final eight British entry hopefuls for this year's Junior Eurovision Song Contest. 2004’s winner Marie Batchelor performed at the International Children’s Games.
The winner is given management with Big Help Management who are based in Leamington. They will coach Grace until Christmas in areas that will help her to handle the media during her career in the limelight.
“I’ve only had one session so far, but I enjoyed it” she said.
|At Teen Idol 2006|
Teen idol is a competition which has taken it’s roots from the Pop Idol style of competitions now on TV. I asked Grace how she felt about the televised star searches.
“It’s good, but I wouldn’t want to go for it” she said. “I’d rather get somewhere on my own and not because of the competition.
“And if not, I’d like to try modelling.”
So what is it like to live with a Teen Idol? I asked mum Lynne about life with a star.
“She can be a little diva-ish at times! But it’s lovely and we’re all very supportive of her. She never has to be told to practice and she’s very lucky because she can learn a song quickly.”
In between leading a normal social life and school, Grace is performing in a number of shows for the rest of the year, kicking off with the Top of the Charts show at the Abbey Theatre. For this Grace will be singing songs by solo artist Anastacia to represent the 90’s and Kelly Clarkson for this decade.
In addition to this the Teen Idols themselves will have concerts towards the end of the year in order to show their friends and family just how talented they are.
It seems that Grace is determined to be in the spotlight. But for now her feet are firmly stuck to the ground as she enters her next year of school. She's simply enjoying being a big fish in a small pond.