Young singer hits the right notes

TEENAGE singer Susana Figueira went to the same Islington school as former X Factor winner Alexandra Burke.

Now the 19-year-old is following in the footsteps of her famous fellow graduate of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Language College, in Donegal Street, Islington.

She battled through round after round of auditions to make it to the grand final of Open Mic UK, a national music competition billed as the UK’s largest for singers and solo artists.

She said: “I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed – I honestly did not think I would get this far.

“I did not expect to get past the first audition, let alone reach the final, so it came as a bit of a shock. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get there but it’s very exciting.”

Susana, of Bunhill Row, Finsbury, came through three heats to make it as one of the finalists, most recently impressing the judges with her piano-backed rendition of girl group The Saturdays’ Up.

She will soon perform to a crowd of 2,500 at the IndigO2 venue, at The O2 complex in Greenwich, when she turns out for the January 15 final and vies for a recording contract worth up to �30,000.

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She said: “The feedback I got from my last performance was that I had a great voice and gave an intense performance. I’m very passionate when it comes to singing – I feel the music, and I think the audience believe me.

“It comes from my experience of life. I’m young but I’m an emotional person and whatever happens in my life is an emotional experience, so I put that into what I’m singing.” The young vocalist, who juggles her musical ambitions with a degree in English and Italian, having started at Royal Holloway, University of London, in September, says her run to the final has been a big confidence-booster.

With the prospect of competing for the crown in front of a panel of industry judges, including BBC Radio 1 DJ Ras Kwame, now on the horizon, and a recording contract almost within reach, she added: “It doesn’t matter if I make it big – just to be able to sing in front of people is enough for me.

“Although I would love to have someone write a song for me one day – and to have my own CD would be awesome!” – TOM MARSHALL