Surreal time for Clara

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 07:35 04/12/2012

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Clara van Wel is "living the dream" in Auckland but is looking forward to getting home to Blenheim to hang out with her best friends and get some sleep.

The 15-year-old New Zealand's Got Talent winner was up at 6am yesterday and was whisked off to do radio interviews and appear on TV One's Breakfast and Good Morning shows. That included being given the car that was part of her prize package.

"It's been pretty crazy, but I can't complain - I'm living the dream," she said from Auckland last night. "I'm so, so grateful for the support I've got, especially from Marlborough."

Despite her young age, the Marlborough Girls' College year 11 student is not fazed by being interviewed on national TV.

"I quite like interviews," she said. "I like talking and it's good to be able to get to know people through TV."

She has had little time for sleep since the final was recorded in front of a live audience on Thursday night.

After signing a contract with Sony, she's been recording the three original songs she performed on the show. Where Do You Find Love?, Between The Lines and Lines You Traced will be available on iTunes on Friday and in shops next week.

"I've been recording since Friday morning - it was quite early, and I haven't really stopped since," she said. "I'm really excited to share it with people."

The contract includes one album, to be released in February.

She watched the final at a big screening on Sunday night with her family and the TVNZ crew.

Watching herself perform on television was becoming easier: "I'm almost used to it," she said. Her mother Rachel van Wel is with Clara in Auckland and the two are due to return to Blenheim in a day or two.

"It's all about the music for her," Mrs van Wel said yesterday. "She's living her dream and having her songs played. That's the most important thing to her."

The experience had been pretty overwhelming, but in a positive way, she said.

"It all feels a bit surreal . . . It's quite a bizarre experience."

Clara was tired after the rehearsals, the recording and the day of interviews yesterday, but the family had gone into the competition with their eyes open, she said.

Music runs in the family, with Mrs van Wel's father playing the violin and her grandfather playing the saxophone into his 80s.

Clara's sister Daisy, 10, plays the piano and also sings.

"There's a lot of music in the family. We're always singing together."

Clara has not had much of a chance to talk to her friends back in Blenheim and is looking forward to getting home.

"She's really excited about hanging out with her besties," Mrs van Wel said. "We're all quite down to earth. We're looking forward to getting back to our garden and our dog and just being home.

"We are so incredibly grateful to everyone who voted, and all the people who helped her get to this point. We don't want to name names in case we miss anyone out, but they'll know who they are."

Clara will return to school next year and plans to study at university after another two years.

"She loves learning. She's a bright button," Mrs van Wel said. "She loves debating, classics, music. She's into lots of things which will become more defined as she gets older, but music will always be there."

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The family have been too busy to think about the $100,000 prizemoney.

"I hope it will go towards uni, but that's just a parent talking."

- The Marlborough Express

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