'Bit of Bic Runga' in teenage singer

00:52, Dec 03 2012
Clara van Wel
Young talent: Clara van Wel on stage during an early round of New Zealand's got talent.

Marlborough teenager Clara van Wel will have a career in music whether or not she wins New Zealand's Got Talent, music business guru and former judge Paul Ellis says.

The 15-year-old college student was doing "an outstanding job" on the show, he said yesterday.

Ellis, who grew up in Marlborough and is based in Auckland, has had an extensive career in the music business with long stints at Sony Music in New York as well as being a judge on New Zealand Idol and New Zealand's Got Talent.

He said yesterday that while Clara had a huge amount of talent, the hard work was just beginning if she wanted to make it in the music business.

"Whether she wins the show or not, doors are open to her, but it is up to her. You have to work really hard. You are driving round in your Datsun with mouldy carpets, playing in little bars. That is where you connect with your audience."

He thought part of the reason Clara had been such a hit with both the audience and the judges was that New Zealanders enjoyed singers who wrote their own songs, especially when they were so young.


"I see a little bit of Bic Runga in Clara. It is in how she phrases her songs."

However, the competition was wide open and any one of the contestants could take it out on Sunday, Ellis said.

The ratings for the show had been massive this season, and the move from Prime to TV One had been a good decision from the show's producers, he said.

"There were some moments on the show on Sunday where I really thought it [the show] was up to speed."

Sometimes the audience did not vote for the contestant the judges thought were the most talented, and this could lead to interesting challenges for the producers, he said.

"This is not a science, this is open casting."

The final episode of New Zealand's Got Talent screens at 7.30pm on Sunday on TV One. Public voting closed on Tuesday.

The Marlborough Express