Dereham teenager on song after star turn at East Anglia Music Talent Awards

Dereham singer Lauren Coates finished fourth in the East Anglia Music Talent Awards. Photo: Jan Coat

Dereham singer Lauren Coates finished fourth in the East Anglia Music Talent Awards. Photo: Jan Coates - Credit: Archant

A schoolgirl from Dereham is dreaming of a career in the music industry after receiving rave reviews for performing her own songs in a new singing competition which included the tutor to one of the world's best known singers on the judging panel.

Aged just 16, Lauren Coates, was the youngest contestant in the East Anglia Music Talent Awards (EAMTA), held for the first time this year.

She finished fourth from an entry of almost 200 singers, songwriters and soloists from across the region aftersix months of heats and elimination rounds.

Lauren, who was also the first artist to take to the stage in the very first heat, earned a place in the final in Norwich on Saturday, July 29 after impressing the music industry judges with her soulful voice and songwriting skills

Lauren sang two of her own original compositions, 'Its You', and 'Lonely Hours', as well as a cover of Grace by the singer Jeff Buckley.

Her favourite artists include Etta James, David Bowie, Queen and the Beatles.

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Judges at the final performance included reggae artist Buckey Ranks, and Bob Marley's tutor, Owen Grey.

The EAMTA are intended to give 'raw homegrown talent exposure; enabling them to gain experience working with industry professionals'.

Lauren described the top-placed acts as incredible, and said: 'I received some amazing feedback from the judges on my own songs in particular. Afterwards they gave me advice on my future and how to make the most from my performances and song-writing.

'My next step now is to focus on getting as much experience performing and recording as I possibly can over the next few years.

'I am now on the lookout for opportunities to perform at local venues and charity events.'

Lauren trains at JDT Music Academy, where she is currently working towards her Grade 8 vocal exam, with teacher Nia Howe.

The teenager was head girl at Northgate High School, and is currently waiting for her GCSE results.

She will study science A-levels and Btec music at Dereham Sixth Form College from September, and hopes to go into a career in either music or medicine.

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