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Q. How did you get your first recording contract?

A. I started busking with my younger sister, Sophie, when I was 11 because I wanted to raise money to make a studio recording as a souvenir. After we’d recorded it, Mum made little cardboard covers and we’d send a copy to anyone who asked us for it. But it wasn’t economic to keep doing these one-offs so we eventually got 1,000 copies made and they got sent round to some record companies. Universal picked it up and offered me an album!
  Q. Is it hard – as a young girl – to deal with the pressure of worldwide fame?
A. Sometimes I wish I could see more people of my own age – I’m surrounded by managers and industry people. I can be so busy performing that there’s not a lot of time for socialising and going out. I get really homesick and miss my family, but I’ve got a really solid group of friends at home. I can just go back there and fit in. I know I might sound naive but I don’t see myself going off the rails. I think my experience of fame has been very different to the person everybody compares me with – Charlotte Church. It’s been a lot more gradual. We don’t really get paparazzi back in New Zealand. The attitude to fame and celebrity there is very different.
  Q. What is your favourite book?
A. Wuthering Heights. I studied it a couple of years ago for my English GCSE exam. Going over it in such depth gave me plenty of time to appreciate it. It’s quite a dark book but it really gripped me. If I had simply bought it for a light read I don’t think I’d have finished it but analysing the themes and sub plots helped me get into it. It was interesting to be reading it just at the same time I recorded Kate Bush’s song Wuthering Heights on my first album. My record company advised me against doing that – it’s a song so closely associated with her they thought it would be asking for trouble. But I got a huge popular response from it and a lot of people my age hadn’t even heard it before.
Q. What’s been your most embarrassing moment?

A. Singing to a small group of people that included Tony Blair, George Bush and the Queen. It was a very small room, just me and a piano, very intimate. I was scanning the group and all these faces I recognised kept popping up – very nerve-wracking!
Q. What is your favourite TV programme?
A. I love Friends because I can guarantee myself a good laugh whenever it comes on! I am usually in hysterics for the entire show and I really like Jennifer Aniston – I thought she was great in Along Came Polly with Ben Stiller.

Q. What was the first single you ever bought?
A. I never buy singles, I always buy whole albums. But one of my favourite songs from an album is Alicia Keys – If I Ain’t Got You. She’s a very talented singer songwriter with an amazing voice and it’s about how nothing matches up to true love. I was playing it all the time when I was in LA driving around and feeling lonely. It’s tough enough being an outsider there, but the feeling is doubled because the whole place is spread out.

Last Article
September 2005 issue
of 'Young Performer' Magazine.

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