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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Singer first spotted busking wins Cumbria's Got Talent

Emma Jones has gone from busking on street corners to winning a county-wide competition showcasing local talent.

Emma Jones photo
Wowed judges: Singer Emma Jones, 22, from Wigton who has won the Cumbria's Got Talent competition

The 22-year-old, of Water Street in Wigton, wowed judges to scoop the 2013 Cumbria’s Got Talent title.

She gave her own rendition of Nessun Dorma, the aria from Puccini’s Turandot made famous by Luciano Pavarotti during the 1990 World Cup.

The judging panel – featuring female impersonator Billie Raymond, Creme Brulay from nightclub Outrageous, Jonathan Higgins from the Sands Centre and broadcasters Gilly Fraser and Kim Inglis – chose Emma as this year’s champion.

Dale Owen, an 18-year-old part-time shop worker, was runner-up with his street-dance act while well-known fundraiser John Hastings, from Moss Bay in Workington, was third after singing the Bobby Darin classic Mack the Knife.

Emma, who describes herself as a ‘classical crossover’ singer, revealed: “I wouldn’t have entered the competition if it wasn’t for the fact that Billie Raymond approached me when I was busking in the street a few months ago. He said I had a good voice and told me I should enter,” Emma said.

“I thought about it and did it but never thought I’d get anywhere. All 10 acts in the final were brilliant. I tried my best but I still made mistakes. I didn’t carry off the big note for as long I wanted to and my breathing was pretty bad.”

Emma, currently unemployed, added: “I’m still overwhelmed to have won. It was such a shock, I really wasn’t expecting it and was still shaking on stage after I was told I was the winner. I like singing and I go to Sound Wave’s opera workshops in Carlisle when they’re on but I’ve never done anything like this.”

Event organiser Ryan Brown believes success in the competition can lead to a new direction for some of this year’s finalists.

He said: “This is the competition’s second year and I know that for some it will lead on to new things for them. One of last year’s performers is now a professional singer. He’d been a builder but had always wanted to sing, now he’s earning money doing that.”

Runner-up Dale, from Eastriggs near Gretna, said: “Emma’s voice was unbelievable, she was amazing. She was a worthy winner.

“I hope this gives me some opportunities to perform in front of more crowds now and hopefully someone will think I have some raw talent that can be developed. I have to keep working hard to get my style of freestyle dancing out there.”

John Hastings, 40, who lives in Workington, added: “It was a fantastic night. I uploaded my audition six months ago but never thought anything more of it. It was a good laugh to do.

“I used to sing karaoke when I was in my 20s but didn’t do anything for years then when I was in Manchester around six years ago I started going again.”

Emma’s prize includes the opportunity to record her winning song in a professional studio. It will also be broadcast on local radio. More than 100 people were at The Venue, in Botchergate, Carlisle, to watch the acts perform in the live Cumbria’s Got Talent final on Friday night.

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