Now that her stage fright and nervousness are things of the past, Diandrea Harris is ready to sing her way onto the international stage. The winner of the 43rd Richard Stoute Teen Talent Competition said the nerves got the best of her last year, but this year she came back for the title.
Harris, 19, bested a field of 17 contestants on Sunday night at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre when she sang Yet Still I Rise and Don’t You Remember by British singer Adele who she credits as her singing inspiration. “I just feel all of her songs,” Harris said.
The former Frederick Smith Secondary School student said she always knew she had the singing talent but did not take to the stage until 2017 when she entered NIFCA after family and friends said they would take no more excuses.
“I used to sing in the house; it was not until I left school in 2017 that I decided to try NIFCA. I went to the semi-finals but did not medal. The nerves took the whole of me. It was definitely not my best performance,” Harris said.
Undaunted, and again with the encouragement of family and friends, Harris entered the Teen Talent Competition last year. She did not place. Instead of it being a case of the nerves, Harris said it was the wrong song choice that did her in.
This year, Harris said she chose her songs carefully and on Sunday when she was announced winner she said she felt, “achieved. I was telling my mom before the competition that I have to win this year and she said as long as I put in the effort it can happen and it did”.
Harris said even before the end of the competition she was being told she had won. “I was not sure myself. I know I had brought it good during the first half, but was worried someone would do better in the second half.
“Everyone was telling me congratulations in advance, you already win the competition and I was like – I have not even sung my second song yet,” Harris said.
Harris who entered the competition just before the preliminaries closed said practise was a little hard to come by since she had to work. “The job is very late hours and when I got home I had to think, practice or sleep, choose one,” Harris said.
With no previous vocal training, just raw talent, Harris advises other young people to stop being nervous and get up and do it and use their talent.
Still reeling from her win, Harris is now clearly setting out a path for her music.
With her prize money and a scholarship to Barbados Community College, she is still vacillating between music and foreign languages since she loves learning languages. However, she recently participated in the Karaoke Barbados versus the United States Competition which she won and placed second in the Spirit of the Nation Competition where she represented St Michael.
This Saturday, she will take to the Baje to the World stage which she hopes will be an additional platform for her to reach the world stage and gain more exposure. She also hopes to work with a local recording studio and produce some music. (LK)