Multiculture, Our People

Isabella Kathleen: opera singing at the age of ten

Living in London but of Ecuadorian decent, she possesses a phenomenal voice. At only ten years old, she is a mezzo-soprano who sings the lyrical genre, despite never having studied singing.

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Miriam Valero


Isabella Kathleen loves singing so much that she never stops singing to herself – even at the dentist. In fact, she likes it so much that when she does it, she even forgets about the pain. Isabella is ten years old and, although she has been singing for all of her short life, only eight months ago she had a revelation. She saw “The Phantom of the Opera” and then knew for certain that it was that, opera, to which she wanted to dedicate the rest of her life.

When listening to her, perhaps what is most surprising is not her powerful voice – which mezzo-sopranos hope to achieve – but the discovery that until now she has never been through music school nor has she received any similar training. What she does, what she can do, and what she knows, has come from practicing with videos. On her own, and without help.

This phenomenal voice, from an Ecuadorian mother and English father, sat down to talk to The Prisma to tell her story.

 

What is the first memory you have of singing?

From a very young age, maybe two or three, I started with Disney songs. The first thing that I loved to sing was “Barbie Girl” by Aqua. Then, when I started school, I continued with my singing and joined the choir.

And how did your interest in opera develop?

Well it was eight months ago. I went to see “The Phantom of the Opera” and I said to my mum, I want to do this. I loved it, and from then on I started to practice. At that time there was a talent competition at my school. I decided to sing an opera piece “Pie Jesu” and I won first place. Since that moment I’ve wanted to sing opera for the rest of my life. I want to be a mezzo-soprano.

 

How do you feel when you’re singing?

I feel happy. When I sing I can express myself, and I can show people that I have talent and that I’m not just any girl.

How many hours a day do you dedicate to singing? How long do you take to prepare a piece?

Well I sing all day, right up until I go to sleep. I usually spend a day learning a song, and then a week to make it perfect.

And until now, how have you been learning how to sing?

I am self-taught. My mother has classical music on in the house all day. When I get home from school I get changed and put on some music that I have downloaded from the Internet, and practice, practice, practice. But I want to improve my voice. Everyone congratulates me and tells me that I’m very good, but I want to take classes; to learn how to improve.

 

Is it true that you have taken part in, and won, some competitions?

Yes, some. I took part in Britain’s Got Talent and finished in a good position. Recently, a few weeks ago, I won an audition singing Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro” and I got through to the semi-finals in Stratford. For the final, we are putting on a special show where I’ll be competing with other talented finalists from other neighbourhoods. For this show I’m preparing “Nessun dorma”, also by Puccini.

I am also taking part in the competition “Cante usted si puede”, for which we perform Ecuadorian songs, and I’ve qualified for the second phase to be held in May.

What songs do you like to sing?

I sing songs in English, Spanish, Latin and Italian. One of the first songs I learnt was a typical Ecuadorian song called “Avesilla”. Another song that I love to sing is “Diva Dance”, from the film “The Fifth Element”. And of course, opera.

What music do you listen to, to inspire you?

My favourite singer is Katherine Jenkins. Also I listen to the mezzo-soprano Jackie Evancho and to Andrea Bocelli.

(Translated by Eleanor Gooch – Email: eleanor.gooch@googlemail.com) – Photos provided by the family of the interviewee.

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