Justine Halifax talks to "Britain's most exciting new soprano" ahead of an eagerly awaited performance in Birmingham's Symphony Hall.
Laura Wright was just 15 when she won BBC Radio 2’s Chorister of the Year award for female voice, following in the footsteps of her idol Katherine Jenkins.
Now, just six years later, Laura has achieved what many singers can only dream of accomplishing in a lifetime.
After selling over a million albums, she became the first female singer since Katherine Jenkins to reach number one in the classical album chart with her solo offering The Last Rose.
The opera degree student at the acclaimed Royal College of Music has also completed a UK tour with acclaimed tenor Alfie Boe, she has sang at London’s Olympic Stadium, performed Ravel’s Bolero with operatic star Noah Stewart on ITV1’s Dancing On Ice, sang the National Anthem porior to te FA Cup final at Wembley and is the official English Rose mascot for English Rugby (she’ll be singing at all internationals this autumn). She also performed for the Queen at her Diamond Jubilee Pageant last Sunday.
The Queen is already said to be a fan of Laura, who was picked to record the new Diamond Jubilee song, Stronger As One, which she has already performed at Westminster Abbey.
Now, Suffolk-born Laura is poised to release her second album – Glorious – of British classics such as Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem and just a few days later will perform at Symphony Hall alongside Russell Watson.
Laura, who cites an eclectic mix of Drake, Mumford and Sons, David Guetta and Labrinth as being on her Ipod playlist,said: “I performed twice in Symphony Hall as part of the Alfie Boe tour, which was so great. It was so much fun and a great place to perform. It was one of my favourite venues of the tour, which is why we came back.
“The people there were so lovely and really welcoming, too.
“The acoustics are incredible. Often, if there are massive acoustics, the sound can get lost, but there’s something about Symphony Hall which makes it great for classical music in particular and performing with an orchestra.”
Music is in Laura’s blood. Her grandfather was a chorister, her grandmother was an amateur singer and she has three musically talented older brothers, too.
She started singing at 15, but it was a rendition of John Tavener’s The Lamb at a midnight carol service that made Laura “fall in love with classical music”, following in her idol Katherine Jenkins’ footsteps.
But it was also with the words of her parents and grandparents ringing in her ears.
Laura, who at the age of nine was told she might never walk again after contracting septic arthritis in her right knee, revealed: “After going to see Katherine Jenkins in concert, I remember queuing for what seemed like hours to talk to her.
“I just wanted the opportunity to ask her advice because she had won the same chorister competition as I had and she was great.
“I really idolised her, but more important to me was my grandmother and grandfather saying if it’s something you love doing you should pass that gift on.