you be at school instead of talking to me?
Very true. I do have a tutor who helps me out so that's
the way around that one. It can be difficult to have to
stop thinking about singing at some point in the day and
know that I have to settle down and do some maths homework
or English. Juggling the two has its problems but you
do need something as a back-up.
£3million in the bank, I doubt that's needed.
It's not quite like that. I think it's good to broaden
your horizons. I need to remain literate and learn things
such as history so I have a general knowledge of the
CAFÉ EXTRA: So academic qualifications are a must?
Yes. Although you don't need them all the time. Loads
of people don't work in the areas that they study. Yes,
you do learn things through the people you meet. You
pick up some skills and knowledge from just talking
to people - my geography skills are much better now
that I've been travelling so much. But I still think
some degree of learning academically helps.
you now making all those people who moan about crossover
classical eat their words?
I guess they'll still moan. I haven't done anything
drastically different to the classical songs I've done
- I've just added a few pop songs to the album. Hopefully,
what I do will introduce classical music to more people.
I think the purists believe crossover artists don't
sing classical the way it should be sung, but it's not
as though I've put a dance beat to it.
CAFÉ EXTRA: The story about your discovery sounds
fantastical. Is it true?
Yes - sort of. I did start out busking. I used to go
out with my younger sister Sophie. I made enough money
to go and do a recording of my voice as I wanted a keepsake
of how I sang. So many people became interested in the
recording that I ended up getting a thousand copies
made and got those into some record stores in New Zealand.
I sent a few out to record companies and Universal offered
me the deal.
or Spice Girls posters on the wall as a kid?
It's funny you should say that because the Spice Girls'
first album was the first one I ever bought. I do listen
to pop music. I just think that classical suits my voice
better. I found out about classical by learning to play
the violin and piano. I did do a couple of pop songs
in my repertoire - Eternal Flame, How Deep Is Your Love
by The Bee Gees. Now that my voice has matured, I've
started branching out more. On the album, I've done
a version of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights.
helps you with your English Lit?
Funnily enough, it is the book I'm studying for my GCSE.
I'm halfway through it at the moment and watched the
film before recording the song, so I at least knew what
I was talking about.
you going to do Britney-style stage shows?
I doubt it will be that raunchy. I don't do any choreography
or have any dancers or anything. I kind of walk around
the stage and get into the songs - but it's all quite
demure, to be honest.
you getting more attention from boys now you're famous?
I don't know. Back home, where the album has been out
for a while, I think most of the boys my age were intimidated
by the whole media attention surrounding me. Since I've
been here, I haven't even had the chance to meet any
guys my age. I'm busy doing all this promotion. I'm
currently young, free, single and available.
you worry some of them will go for the money?
That does cross your mind. You just have to trust your
instincts and hope that they are a genuinely nice person
and are with you for the right reasons.
you see a Charlotte Church-style rebellion in a few
Not really. I come from a very grounded home. My parents
are close and I have a younger brother and sister. We're
all close, so I don't think they'd let me go off the
rails. They haven't restricted me. I've had my freedom,
so it's not as though I need to break free.
your parents pushy?
I feel sorry for my parents. There's always a perception
when someone does something quite young that they must
have the parents from hell. That's not true about mine
at all. All they've done is support me. As soon as I
showed an interest in singing professionally and it
was obvious that I was going to release an album, they've
helped me out by choosing pictures and stuff. Just helping
me get things off the ground. But they never pushed
me into singing.
CAFÉ EXTRA: It must be tough on them juggling family
here and in NZ.
It is. For the first two months my mum was here with
me. My dad's with me now. They have to alternate. It's
not only me but my brother and sister who need attention
from both parents. Phone calls are the main way we stay
in touch. It's tough, but that's the way it has to be
at the moment.
been your biggest extravagance?
I don't really spend all that much money. I went and
bought a pair of Miss Sixty jeans the other day and,
coming from New Zealand, you have to triple everything.
I paid £80, but that's NZ$240. I couldn't believe it.
That's a fortune!