A PONTYPOOL singer has given ‘the performance of a lifetime’ on ITV’s The Voice UK.
Tonight’s episode of the talent show featured an audition by classically trained soprano Laura Sidney who was scouted by the production team following a special VE Day performance she gave in the gardens of Panteg Nursing Home in 2020.
Little did she know that the experience, filmed by her sister Emily Sidney, would lead to her singing for judges Tom Jones, will.i.am, Olly Murs, and Anne-Marie (who has replaced former judge Meghan Trainor).
Laura Sidney (right) with sister Emily
“I don’t normally promote myself online – as I prefer live performances – but I thought it could be a lovely tribute and give people stuck at home the chance to watch,” said the 26-year-old.
“I shared a video of my performance on Facebook and was approached by The Voice UK.
“The show is mainly pop-based so I’d never thought to audition, but it is immense exposure, especially for someone from Pontypool who normally does fairly intimate performances.”
The freelance singer’s passion for performing has humble beginnings; as an infant she played Mary in a Nativity concert at St Woolos Cathedral in Newport and loved the experience, going on to perform in various concerts.
She has starred in two Abergavenny Amateur Operatic and Drama Society (AAODS) performances at Abergavenny Borough Theatre, worked with numerous choirs – including Blaenavon Male Voice Choir – and worked with Welsh National Opera in the comedy opera Rhondda Rips It Up!
Ms Sidney – whose musical interest include classical music, musical theatre, 50s rock ‘n’ roll, and Disney – also won National Vocalist of the Year in 2011, which was hosted by The International Rotary Club and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, aged 17.
Despite not making it past the audition stages on The Voice UK, Ms Sidney expressed gratitude for the opportunity to perform for millions of viewers, acknowledging that her singing style isn’t ‘contemporary’.
Laura Sidney preparing for her audition on The Voice UK
“I was against some big singers and I’m just happy to have had the chance to perform in front of the judges,” added Ms Sidney.
“Millions of people will see my audition, which is a big deal, and it’s all thanks to the residents and staff at Panteg Nursing Home.
“I’m so grateful to them; due to that performance I got to represent Wales on the Voice UK.
“I’ll look back and know it was the performance of a lifetime – perhaps someone from West End or Andrew Webber will see the performance and something good will come of it.”
Laura Sidney performing at Panteg Nursing Home for VE Day in 2020
She also thanked her family for her musical upbringing – including her grandparents who took her on many musical theatre trips throughout her childhood and her rock ‘n’ roll loving father who boasts an ‘extensive’ vinyl collection.
Ms Sidney, who is also a radio broadcaster for BBC Radio Wales, added: “My singing style is based on emotion and genuine feeling,
“I hope to show young people watching that music doesn’t have to be explicit or repetitive.
“I want people to know they can sing wonderful songs and be wholesome, or innocent – even naive – I feel like there’s no innocent left in the music industry.”
Ms Sidney hopes to return to Panteg Nursing Home to perform once lockdown is lifted.