At the tender age of 11, Shelina Devendrarajah from North Harrow out-classed the rest of the competition to win this year’s “Harrow’s Hidden Talent” contest. Out of a possible 135 contestants, 14 made it through to the grand finals. Acts including street & break dancers, vocalists, classical singers, musicians, dance groups & poets were put in the spot-light, in front of a packed Harrow Arts Centre. Shelina – who attends the Orley Farm School in Harrow – impressed the judges with her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time”. Thamarai.com caught up with the young, talented Tamil singer for a quick interview.
What was the reason behind entering this talent competition?
One of our family friends spotted an advert for Harrow’s got hidden auditions and forced my parents to enter. My parents were a bit hesitant – as I was sitting for my 11+ exams and didn’t want anything to distract me – but eventually, decided to enter on the last day! I am SO glad they did it.
Were you nervous?
I was nervous on the first audition, because I had to go inside the room on my own. But all the 5 judges were so cool; they quickly put me at ease. Once I started to sing, I really enjoyed the whole experience. For the semi-finals and finals, my brother Sam accompanied me on keyboard. I love to sing when he plays, because he knows exactly what to do!
How long have you been singing for?
I am surrounded by family and friends who love music; they are always either singing or playing an instrument or listening to some kind of music. So I have been singing since I was very young. My mum recalls that I could sing a full song before I could speak a proper sentence!
How did you learn?
My very first lessons were from my parents, who are both very musical. Dad and mum always encourage me to sing and perform. They spent hours sitting and listening and singing a variety of songs, eastern and western.
What type of songs do you like to sing?
I love to sing gospel songs by Amy Grant and pop songs by Celine Dion and Whitney Houston.
How did you feel when your name was announced as the winner?
All I remember is my big brother Sam, who accompanied me on Keyboard, lifting me! It was such a lovely moment. I thanked God for this opportunity and for giving me this talent. As soon they announced the runner-up, I knew I won the competition.
What are your future ambitions and will singing be one of them?
I would love to be a singer, and I also want to be a dentist! I somehow would have to manage both careers.
What has the response been from family and friends after winning this competition?
They were fantastic! Forty of my friends and family came to support me at the finals. They were just brilliant. After the finals, all the friends and family are still wishing me. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people around me!
Apart from singing, do you have any other hobbies or interests?
My main interest other than music is eating hot and spicy Indian food!!! I love playing netball. I also take part in lots of fund raising events in church.
The Thamarai Team wish Shelina the very best for the future. Below is a video sent in by her family with Shelina in her cousins studio singing her winning song. Enjoy.