Teacher compares Clara to Kimbra

22:30, Dec 03 2012
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Clara van Wel winner of Marlborough's got Talent
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Support: Clara van Wel lends a hand at John's Kitchen, her nominated charity for Stars in Your Eyes
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Business savvy: Members of the conceptual business team Puju, from left, Tahlia-Rose Simmonds, Ella Arnst, Laura McLeod, Julia Andrews and Clara van Wel, won the three-day business challenge brought to Marlborough Girls' College by Yolande Rosario, right, and Jared Tasker, front, from the Young Enterprise Trust.
Marlborough teenager Clara Van Wel has been crowned the inaugural winner of New Zealand's Got Talent.
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Top talent: Clara performs an original song, Where Do You Find Love?, after being announced winner of New Zealand’s Got Talent last night.
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Stars In Their Eyes competition June 2012: Clara van Wel as Ricki Lee Jones singing Chuck E's in Love.
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Lee Stewart and Clara van Wel singing their own composition in a fundraiser for Canterbury
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Friends Vicky Mack, Olivia Sheat and Clara van Wel entertain the residents at Waterlea Rest home in August 2011.
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The Classic Hits Winery Tour 2012: Clara van Wel performs at Villa Maria Estate Winery in Marlborough alongside Avalanche City, The Muttonbirds and Gin Wigmore. Clara Van Wel performs.
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Clara van Wel, winner in the Marlborough final of the 2012 Smokefree Rock Quest in June 2012
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Clara van Wel at home in 2010
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Clara van Wel as Bic Runga in Stars in Your Eyes, Blenheim 2010
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Clara van Wel entertains at the Marlborough Farmers Market in 2009
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Clara van Wel on Good Morning
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Clara van Wel during a photo shoot
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Clara van Wel during a photo shoot
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Clara van Wel with her father Alex van Wel on Breakfast
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Clara van Wel talks about her single 'Where do you find love' now available on iTunes
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Taking a break: Clara van Wel happy to be at home in Blenheim with Scratchy the jack russell
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Clara van Wel at home in Marlborough. Enjoying a walk with Scratchy
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Clara van Wel. Glad to be home in Marlborough
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STAR: Clara van Wel performs during the Classic Hits Winery tour.

Long-time Marlborough Girls' College music teacher Robin Randall realised Clara van Wel's talent when she arrived at the school last year at the start of year 9.

He insisted she was too good to be studying year 9 music and moved her up a level.

The rest of her teachers soon saw the same ability in their subjects and she was moved up to year 10 after about four weeks at school.

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Kimbra arriving at the 2012 Vodaphone New Zealand Music Awards

This year she has studied NCEA level 1, and is expected to pass despite missing a couple of exams because she was recording programmes for the New Zealand's Got Talent series. She was named the winner on Sunday night, with a prize pool including a recording contract, $100,000 cash and a car.

Mr Randall said he had first heard Clara busking at the Marlborough Farmers' Market.

"She's been doing it a while and she's come a long way," Mr Randall said.

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He was proud of his student, but was not surprised she won New Zealand's Got Talent.

"What sealed it for me was she had the ability to sing and write her own music, and it was quality stuff."

To sing and create a song was something special, he said.

"She is naturally talented at composition and she has such a quirky voice."

Clara's guitar skills were also advanced for a 15-year-old, he said.

"She has amazing guitar skills - you never hear a twang," he said. "She's got the whole package."

That special character was comparable to internationally acclaimed New Zealand pop singer Kimbra, Mr Randall said.

"Not in their musical style, but they are similar in that they're both very unique in their own way."

He was confident Clara's school life would continue as normal when she returned to school next year, which would hopefully mean resuming her role in the college choir, Bella Voce.

"She's still pretty grounded," he said. "She's very, very modest - there are no airs or graces. As you see her, that's how she is all the time."

Marlborough Girls' College principal Karen Stewart said the school was "incredibly proud" of Clara, who was also a good debater and an all-rounder.

The Marlborough Express