Costessey teenager’s singing dream

She might not come from a particularly musical family, but singing is something that Jade Grand has always wanted to do,

She might not come from a particularly musical family, but singing is something that Jade Grand has always wanted to do,

In fact, so serious is she about trying to make it as a singer that she has made the decision to put her university career on hold in a bid to give her the time to make her singing dream a reality.

Miss Grand, who lives in Old Costessey with her parents Maxine and Carl and brother Daniel, wants to study equine science at university, but has decided to put it off for a year.

The decision comes in the wake of her triumph in Norfolk's Got Talent, a competition backed by the Evening News, which wanted to find the very best in new talent from the region.

Miss Grand, a former Costessey High School pupil, was one of more than 70 acts to enter the talent contest and was thrilled to have won the competition in July.

She said she was 'gobsmacked' to win the title and was delighted with both the experience and exposure it gave her.

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She said: 'It definitely gave me an opportunity to get my name out there. It was great experience and you need all the experience you can get – any experience performing in front of an audience is great.'

She is now looking to use her title as a springboard to propel her to bigger and better things and is currently taking part in another talent competition – Open Mic UK.

The national competition is open to all genres and acts with the overall winner being offered a recording contract, with up to �30,000 investment and a chance to tour across the UK. Those who make it through the audition stage will take part in a live regional head to head battle alongside the best talent in their area.

Acts will perform in front of hundreds of audience members and industry judges for the chance to grab a breakthrough recording contract.

Miss Grand has already made it through to the regional finals which take place at the Ipswich Corn Exchange at the end of this month.

And now she is hoping to win through to the national finals, which could see her take the stage at the O2 arena in London.

She said: 'That would be pretty amazing, but you don't enter something unless you think you're able to win it.

'I'm trying to find a song at the moment that's suitable for the regional finals. There's so many songs out there and I want to pick the right one.'

Miss Grand said she will get a slot of three minutes and 30 seconds on October 23 to perform either one or two songs in which to impress the judges. She said: 'I have planned on doing two songs which might make things slightly more difficult.

'I'm going through at the moment with my singing teacher whether we can find any original songs which haven't been played about with too much, something a bit different.'

It is all a long way from where she started her singing career – in the shower or in her bedroom with a hairbrush.

It was not until high school that she actually started singing properly, when she went to afternoon and lunch clubs within the school's performing arts department.

She said: 'That was it; I was glued and I was involved with anything that I could perform in.

'This is where I discovered that I had a 'voice'; people started to notice that there was something different about me and that I had the potential to do something with this 'voice' that I had.'

Norfolk's Got Talent was her first talent competition since leaving school, and after being crowned the winner, she has gone on to perform in front of the Equestrian Paralympics team for a charity event, and also been asked to sing at other charity evenings and events, including at the Clare School on October 17.

Later this year Miss Grand will be performing with the Jonathan Wyatt band choir for their Christmas shows at the Forum in Norwich.

Miss Grand might have had a fair amount of success in talent competitions to date, but the teenager said she would not rely on shows like the X Factor to win her fame or fortune.

Although she entered the show this year, and got through three rounds, although not to the judges, Miss Grand said she was unhappy at the whole process of the show.

She said: 'It's very manipulative and, if I make it, I want to do it off my own back instead of having to be pushed through so many hoops. I wouldn't want to be put through that.'

But whether or not she makes it in the music business, one thing Miss Grand knows is that she has her family and friends firmly behind her.

She said: 'My family are extremely supportive. They back me every way – financially and emotionally.'

Miss Grand, who works part time at Sainsbury's Longwater Lane in Costessey as an online shopper, spends much of her spare time with her horses at the field in Old Costessey. She said it keeps her out of trouble and gives her time to think about her singing dream.

She said: 'In the future I really do hope to be able to make a career out of singing. I know it's a tough business, but I know that if I don't give it a try, I will always think about what if?'