Camilla Kerslake

Blessed with a four-octave vocal range, classical crossover artist Camilla Kerslake's career took off thanks to the unlikely guidance of Take That's Gary Barlow. Born in Dulwich, South London in 1988, as a baby Kerslake moved with her mother to Auckland, New Zealand, where she developed a love of classical music before returning to the U.K. at age eight. Unable to afford classical training, she instead took lessons in contemporary singing and funded her way through a degree at the Guildford Academy of Contemporary Music by performing on the local club circuit. At age 20, she was thrown out of a manufactured girl band for being "too old," before she discovered that her idol Gary Barlow was setting up his own record company. Proving that persistence pays off, she bombarded the London studios he was recording at with her self-produced demo of Schubert's Ave Maria for six weeks, until he eventually signed her as the first artist on his Future Records label. Deferring her final year studies, she recorded her self-titled debut album in 2009 with producer Mike Hedges (Manic Street Preachers), which featured an Italian-language adaptation of her mentor's composition "Rule the World." Her rendition of the Christian hymn "How Can I Keep from Singing" was chosen for a high-profile supermarket advertising campaign, she performed the National Anthem at the 2010 League Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, and she played the lead in the West End production of Les Misérables. In 2011 she released her second LP, Moments, a mixture of pop, musical theater, and classical numbers. ~ Jon O'Brien

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