WATCH: The Voice contestant Connie from Woodbridge sings for us ahead of the show tonight
PUBLISHED: 20:00 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:45 16 March 2019
Tomorrow night Connie Lamb has the chance to progress to the semi-final stages of ITV’s The Voice. Here she talks about her commitment to a career in music... despite the kitten heels her mum once made her wear.
Lynne Mortimer met Connie earlier this week and asked her a tricky question, as she reveals here.
I ask the 18-year-old what she would do if she were not a singer... it is something she has never really considered because the Brit School student has always been a singer.
I meet Connie and her mum, Karen, at their home in Woodbridge, which they share with Lucy, the affectionate Staffie dog who thumps her tail happily against the radiator, lending her own percussion to the musical proceedings.
It is not yet 10 in the morning but Connie’s make-up is perfectly applied, right down to the false eyelashes and she has, she says, added a bit of tan.
Mother and daughter sit together and share the story of Connie’s life in music.
Connie has already made it through two nerve-jangling rounds of The Voice... not that nerves really get to her, she admits.
First there were the “blind auditions” when the four team leaders - Tom Jones, Jennifer Hudson, Witham’s singing star Olly Murs, and will-i-am - sit in swivel chairs with their backs to the singers. If they decide they want to take the auditionee on to their team, they press a red button and the chair revolves through 180°.
Olly Murs and Tom Jones turned for Connie and she elected to go with Olly. The next hurdle was the duets where she had to perform versus Molly, another member of Olly’s team, and he would then choose one of them. Olly picked Molly but Connie was snapped up by Jennifer Hudson and is now on JHUD’s team.
The next two Saturdays feature the knock-out rounds and Connie is in the first of them. Will she get a coveted place in the semi-finals? We will soon find out.
Connie, who has sung on many stages around Suffolk, has honed her vocal skills in the county with singing lessons and in many concerts and competitions.
When did Connie first start singing?
“I was six when I sang a Michael Jackson song at a karaoke session in Spain.
“Mum says I used to whistle a lot when I was very young and someone told her it would mean I could sing.”
Connie went to singing lessons with Matt Long (who now has Rocket Music store, in Ipswich) and was set on a path to a music career. Now, she cannot contemplate doing anything else with her life.
The former Farlingaye pupil has taken part in a host of local music events. She did Star for a Night, a fundraising concert for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), when she was 10. She had applied to do a solo but in the end, Karen says, they put Connie in a group of 10 singers (you may recognises the Simon Cowell X Factor ploy!) which they called Full Potential.
That decided Connie. “She said, ‘I want to be a soloist, I don’t want to be in a group,’” smiles Karen.
“They did another Star for a Night when Connie was 12 and she did a solo spot.”
Connie gives a slight wince. “Mum dressed me. I had a horrible hair piece and I wore yellow.”
“It was lime green,” counters Karen.
“Didn’t you make me wear those kitten heels, as well? They were horrid.”
In an Ipswich Has Got Talent Competition, Connie came second singing Eponine’s song, On My Own, from Les Miserables.
Connie entered Felixstowe’s Got Talent twice and won it the second year.
She was also called back for ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2017. “She got a standing ovation for her song in Blackpool,” says Karen, who also reminisces fondly about the school Nativity at St Mary’s primary school in Woodbridge when her daughter, aged five, had a solo line to sing. “She was pitch perfect.”
“There’s always a song going through my head,” says Connie.
“In exams at school there would be a time when I started humming a tune. I just forgot what I was doing. I did it in class and it would really irritate people.”
How does Connie see her future?
“I see myself going on world tours and performing everywhere. One day, I would love to do a Bond (theme) song or the Superbowl at half time.”
If anything strikes me about this young woman it is that she is not going to be deflected from her chosen career path. “This is what I am going to do for the rest of my life,” she says.
Love life? I venture.
“No one is ever interested,” sighs Connie, amused.
Brit School alumni include Adele, Katy B, Ella Eyre, Imogen Heap, Tom Holland (the new Spiderman), Jessie J, Leona Lewis, Katie Melua, Kate Nash and Kate Tempest, to name but a few. It is quite something to be accepted there as a student.
Connie and Karen explain the fame school takes 75 people on the musical theatre course and just seven places are awarded to out-of-catchment students. Connie got one of them and she is now in her second and final year.
Musical theatre? Connie can dance too?
She can. She attended the Emma Dodd School of Performing Arts, in Ipswich. “Every show Connie did there, she had a solo to sing,” says Karen.
Connie recently auditioned for the Tony award-winning Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen which is coming to the West End of London in the autumn. Connie wasn’t called back but it all adds to her experience of being a performer.
And, we have The Voice to look forward to. Connie is keen for people to get the app which has exclusive videos of the show.
Connie works hard to take on board the help and advice she has been given by the sensational singer and Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, who herself started out as a contestant on the TV singing show, American Idol.
“I have hugged Jennifer Hudson,” confirms Connie, when I ask. (I am so jealous).
There is nothing starry about Connie, she has her feet firmly on the ground and is determined to succeed - it helps that she has a great voice, of course.
Mum Karen, who heads up the family and friends on “Connie’s Crew” says: “I couldn’t be more proud of Connie...” and then has a word about all the stuff piled up behind the sofa - stuff that is due to go back to Brit School with her daughter later today.
• The Voice UK, first knock out round featuring Connie Lamb, is on ITV on Saturday, March 16, at 7.30pm.