Singing for your dinner
Clara van Wel will recreate the 1970s hippy look – beret and all – when she performs as singer Rickie Lee Jones.
"She's always been one of my favourite singers; she was different, especially for her time."
A website biography records that Chicago-born Rickie Lee went to 11 schools in 11 years, then ran away from her itinerant family when she was 16. Clara's life has been a little different.
"I see myself as quite a lucky person," she says at her family's home at Fairhall. "I live in a lovely place and I get three fantastic meals a day."
Conscious that others aren't so fortunate, though, Clara has selected John's Kitchen as the charity to benefit from any money she might win.
"You might not think there's poverty in Blenheim but it's there and it's great there are people who care about it and look out for others."
Clara, 13, has learned to do hip hop and salsa dance, done a bit of acting and, since getting a guitar when she was 10 years old, started writing her own music. Last year her song, Crocodile Tears won the Marlborough's Got Talent show. Her parents then had it recorded with seven other Clara van Wel originals in a CD she called, Evolution.
This year Clara has entered two of her songs in the 2011 Play it Strange, a national songwriting competition which offers recording opportunities for entrants who impress the judges.
A year 9 student at Marlborough Girls' College, Clara is now learning musical theory at school, has joined the junior choir and is making friends with other students for whom music is a passion.
"There are so many talented people I can connect with."
The Marlborough Express