Our girl's got talent
The dream came true last night for young Marlborough singer-composer Clara van Wel.
She topped a short but already- successful career as a solo performer by winning the final of the popular television show New Zealand's Got Talent, on TV One.
Speaking to The Marlborough Express last night, Clara said she was "thrilled and overwhelmed".
"It's everything I have ever imagined and I'm really scared that I'm going to wake up."
The 15-year-old Marlborough Girl's College student, who had missed a couple of NCEA level 1 exams while she was in Auckland recording the various episodes, thanked Marlborough people for their "incredible" support since the beginning of the show and said it had been like a rollercoaster ride.
"It's the most incredible journey I have ever had. I'm sad it's over, but it's been amazing."
Although the final was filmed on Thursday, Clara said the feeling of winning had still not sunk in.
"I don't think it ever will. It's just a dream come true."
The singer's next step will be to record her first single, Where Do You Find Love?, which will be released before Christmas as part of her prize, along with a recording contract, a Toyota Corolla car and $100,000. While she's still too young to drive the car, she says the cash will be going into the bank to invest in her music career.
She ended the show last night with Where Do You Find Love?. It is her own composition, which she also performed in the grand final last week.
Earlier in the final, Clara and fellow finalists Jessie Hillel and Evan Sinton wowed the audience with a slick performance of Gotye hit Somebody That I Used to Know.
Clara paid tribute to her fellow finalists, describing them as "just incredible".
In the star-studded final, Kiwi rockers Dane Rumble and Evermore and judges Jason Kerrison and Ali Campbell also performed along with acts from earlier shows, before the finalists were called back for the big announcement. Clara's parents and younger sister were watching in the studio audience.
As the news broke, fans went on Facebook and Twitter to share their congratulations and Clara said her phone had been bombarded with calls. While Marlborough friends and supporters will be anxious to celebrate with her, Clara said she had one thing on her mind when she gets home.
"The first thing I'm going to do is sleep."
Here's Clara, at 12-years-old, performing her song 'Crocodile Tears'
The Marlborough Express