Edinburgh Has Talent: Laura Bell-Jack in top ten

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A TEENAGE guitarist who taught herself to play the instrument over the summer holidays has told of her surprise and delight after storming into the 2013 Edinburgh Has Talent (EHT) final.

Stunned Laura Bell-Jack, 16, who has been playing the guitar for just over a year, said she was “nervous but excited” ahead of a live solo performance on the Festival Theatre stage for next month’s final.

Edinburgh Has Talent finalist Laura Bell Jack. Picture: Scott Louden

Edinburgh Has Talent finalist Laura Bell Jack. Picture: Scott Louden

The Johnny Cash fan will perform her single Overthinking – an “easy listening guitar ballad” – in front of EHT judges and a packed audience on November 1.

She said: “I didn’t expect to get through and I wasn’t getting my hopes up – I’ve never performed by myself on stage before.

“It’s amazing. I just want to get my music out there and do the best I can.”

Laura, who lives in Coldstream with her family and is preparing to sit Higher exams in music and history at Berwickshire High, revealed her single was inspired by a crush.

“It’s called Overthinking and it’s about overthinking a situation,” she said.

“It was written in the springtime this year, in April, and it’s about a guy I was thinking about all the time. It starts as quite a slow ballad but it livens up in the middle.”

Tight-lipped about the identity of her crush, Laura said writing and learning the song came easily, despite the fact she had been playing guitar for less than a year after teaching herself during the 2012 summer holidays.

She said: “I learned to play the guitar by myself, started writing music and then just started putting my own words to it.

“Concentrating is a challenge for me. At school, I’m not good at concentrating on my work and I get distracted very easily. But with music I find it much easier to focus. I do rhythm and dance as well so music is in my head all the time.”

She added: “I listen to everyone and get inspired by everyone, but I am in love with Johnny Cash – I just love his sound. It’s so pure and, I love singing Ring Of Fire.”

Laura’s family said they were “over the moon” at news of her success.

Mum Janis, 50, said: “Music is such a huge part of Laura’s life. She loves dancing and singing as well but music is the biggest thing for her.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com