Edinburgh’s Got Talent winner’s story: ‘I had to be even better this year’

Edinburgh's Got Talent winner Rebecca Traynor
Edinburgh's Got Talent winner Rebecca Traynor
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Rebecca Traynor knew that she had to work harder to impress the judges this time round after coming second in Edinburgh’s Got Talent 12 months ago – and she did it in style...

Positioning herself on stage, the lights dimmed as Rebecca Traynor prepared herself to sing in front of crowds as far as she could see.

Again and again, Rebecca had gone over her chances of success in the weeks leading up to the final Edinburgh’s Got Talent – and as the pressure grew, she decided that the odds were against her.

But, taking a hold of the 
microphone, any signs of nerves were inscrutable as her powerful voice filled the auditorium.

At Friday night’s glitzy event, the 15-year-old was named the winner of Edinburgh’s Got Talent 2012, the latest milestone in what has been an incredible year for the young songstress.

“I just couldn’t believe it when my name was read out,” Rebecca admits.

But it wasn’t the first time the Musselburgh Grammar pupil had entered Edinburgh’s Got Talent, a search for undiscovered performers which has proved one of the Capitals’s most popular shows since being launched by the Evening News.

In the 2011 contest, soprano Rebecca came joint second after her performance of the Phantom of the Opera classic Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.

And this year, she again stuck to the classical theme by performing Katherine Jenkins’ hit Bring Me To Life.

Rebecca, who lives with dad 
Robert, 58, a telephone engineer, mum Karen, who works in Semichem, big brother Euan and her twin sister Emma – who also sings – explained how her passion for music began.

She said: “I entered a competition at Pinkie Primary when I was aged 11 and I sang Hallelujah by Alexandra Burke. As it turned out, I did quite well and friends told me to enter more contests.

“My parents didn’t know I was taking part because I hadn’t told them – I didn’t think it was a very big deal.

“And it was something that was a bit of a surprise to me too – I really didn’t expect to be able to sing.”

When Rebecca’s secret got out and her parents heard her voice for the first time, they were stunned.

Mum Karen said: “We were blown away when we heard her – we didn’t realise how much talent she had.

“She had kept it to herself all that time, she was singing at school and to her friends but never at home.

“After she entered the contest the headteacher phoned us at home and said, ‘do you realise your daughter can sing?’

“I think maybe with Rebecca being a twin, she just wanted to do something different.

“Growing up it had always been ‘the twins’ when she was at school, this for her was about being an individual.”

And the talent, the Traynor’s believe, may have been in the genes all along.

Rebecca’s great-grandfather, tenor Lamont Smith, was also blessed with a fantastic singing voice.

“We think it missed three generations and it’s come out in Rebecca,” said Karen.

After the emotional response to hearing Rebecca sing, her parents arranged that she would receive singing lessons from private instructor Bruce Thomson out of school hours.

The S4 pupil started singing in a rock opera style three years ago.

She said: “I was being straight opera by Bruce and I decided to start singing pop songs in that style – it was just something that I liked.”

One the night of the Edinburgh’s Got Talent final, Rebecca waited to take to the stage backstage, where the atmosphere was electric.

Rebeccca believes the experience of performing last year gave her the confidence to go all the way this time around.

She said: “Last year helped me a lot, I’ve learned how to better control my nerves and talk on stage.”

Held for the first time at the Festival Theatre, it was also the competition’s first all-female final.

The judges were made up of Evening News arts and entertainment editor Liam Rudden, Forth One presenter Boogie, Evening News promotions manager Deborah Welsh and Richie Jeffrey, events manager at Forth One.

And it was Rebecca, who was the fifth act to appear, who chose her song Bring Me To Life and adapted it for her performance. She said: “My music teacher was in the audience when I started to perform but he had no idea what I was going to sing.

“He said later that if he had known at first that I had chosen that sing he would have done it all differently, but the way that I had sung it was really good.

“I want to choose singing as my career – any kind of singing really.”

Edward Reid, who starred on TV show Britain’s Got Talent, entertained the crowd as judges picked the winner, which was announced by host Arlene Stuart.

And Rebecca, who counts Ed Sheeran, Olly Murs and Katherine Jenkins among her musical favourites, struggled to take in the news.

She said: “I’ve had so many congratulations since I won.

“There’s been about 200 messages left for me on Facebook, everyone at school is really pleased for me.

“I was a bit more nervous this year because there was much more pressure on me because I had been in it before – I knew the judges would expect better this time.

“I didn’t think I had a chance of winning it because I had been in last year. I thought if I had been going to win it I would have won it then.

“I’m just going to carry on with my singing and keep entering more competitions.

Most of Rebecca’s family had been in the audience to watch her perform.

Dad Robert said: “Rebecca blew me away on Friday night.

“I hear her practising and go to her singing lessons with her once a week, but she hadn’t told me about the song she was going to perform on the night.

“This year has been amazing for Rebecca, she has won competitions and overall she has progressed.

“Her singing teacher says she is the best pupil he has ever had. 
We’re all just so proud of her.”

Rebecca, who was presented with a £1000 prize, now looks forward to performing at the Forth One awards next month, where she will rub shoulders with stars guests.

After the event drew to a close, the family headed for a celebration at the Horseshoe Pub in Musselburgh, were Rebecca has sung for a number of charitable causes.

Winning the contest was the latest in an exciting year of achievements for Rebecca.

In January, she won Musselburgh Rotary Club’s Young Musician of the Year 2012.

She also won the regional Final in the UK Festival 4 Stars competition and will go on to represent Scotland in the musical solo section at the UK finals in Runcorn next month.

Next year, Rebecca hopes to be accepted to study at the Royal Academy of Music.

A STAR IN THE MAKING

1997: Rebecca and her twin sister Emma are born.

2005: Begins singing at Pinkie Primary School.

2008: Attends her first contest at Pinkie Primary. Parents Robert and Karen discover for the first time how well their daughter can sing. Begins taking singing lessons with teacher Bruce Thomson outside of school hours.

2010: Begins performing at charity events.

2011: Enters Edinburgh’s Got Talent and comes in joint second place.

2012: Wins the title of Musselburgh Rotary Club’s Young Musician of the Year 2012. Is successful in the Regional Final of the UK Festival 4 Stars competition and is put forward to represent Scotland in the musical solo section at the UK finals in Runcorn.Enters Edinburgh’s Got Talent 2012. Stuns the audience with her performance of Katherine Jenkins’ Bring Me to Life.