A GIRL inspired by the powerful voice of Whitney Houston has won a place in the final of a national singing competition.
Chanelle Rawlinson shares her love of the late singer with mum Tasha, 41, who gave her the middle name Whitney in honour of the star.
Chanelle, 17, will take to the IndigO2 stage at the O2, London, in the Teen Star final.
She wants to emulate the two ‘big singers’ she looks to for inspiration – Etta James and Houston.
She said: ‘They’re big singers and that’s what everyone says I am. I never sing modern stuff, I always sing really big power ballads and old stuff.
‘It suits my voice more – I’m not a poppy singer, I can do it but I prefer singing bigger songs with more emotion. I put a lot of emotion across, and they [the judges] say they noticed that.’
Chanelle wowed competition judges at Ferneham Hall, in Fareham in the regional finals. She has previously entered Gosport’s Got Talent and has been singing since she was seven years old, and attended theatre school.
When she takes to the stage in London on July 7 she will perform And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going by the American R&B and soul singer Jennifer Hudson.
Chanelle hopes to blow away judges with the track, which is the most powerful one she could find to perform.
But with just over two weeks to go, Chanelle is still finding it hard to believe she has got through to the final.
‘I’m still shocked – it’s a dream come true really,’ she adds. ‘It’s a bit crazy and mad getting through – you don’t expect to get.
‘I don’t normally get nervous but I reckon I will. It’ll be amazing though, it’ll be so good.’
With Chanelle, of Privett Road in Gosport, regularly practising the heavy-hitting songs, the neighbours could be complaining.
But luckily her grandmother and grandfather have a mobile home with a music studio for her to sing in.
Proud mum Tasha, 41, explained: ‘She goes round to my mum’s a lot because my mum and dad have got a little recording studio in the back room.
‘It’s detached as well so she can get in there and belt it out, so no neighbours will hear.’