EMI Classics announce the signing of an exclusive contract with Elizabeth Marvelly, the 18-year-old singing sensation from New Zealand whose self-titled debut CD, released earlier this month in New Zealand, went gold in five days and debuted at number 8 in the pop charts.
Costa Pilavachi, President of EMI Classics, said, “We are delighted that Elizabeth Marvelly has joined the EMI Classics family. Elizabeth has a tremendous voice coupled with intelligence and a winning personality – in other words, she is a real star. I am also happy to be working again with my friend Gray Bartlett who discovered Elizabeth and introduced her to us. Gray has been responsible for introducing a whole generation of exciting young artists from New Zealand to the world stage.”
Gray Bartlett, who nurtured the early careers of Elizabeth’s contemporaries Hayley Westenra and Yulia (Townsend), says “Elizabeth is my greatest discovery yet … She is an amazing performer and artist. New Zealand is loving her and the world will too. … She has the excitement and wide-range of talent to very quickly be a world star.”
Following the New Zealand release of her debut CD, Elizabeth Marvelly was cheered by a 200,000-strong crowd at Auckland’s Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park and was signed to tour in 2008 with Paul Potts, the Britain’s Got Talent opera star. Later this month she will sing at Carols by Candlelight in Sydney, one of Australia’s biggest annual events, with an audience numbering in the millions. As if this were not enough, Elizabeth has been invited to perform at a glittering, high profile gala dinner in Hong Kong in mid-December for the Asian premiere of Nicole Kidman’s film, The Golden Compass. The event, sponsored by Dior, and organised by Michelle Ong, the world-famous Hong-Kong-based jewellery designer, is expected to be attended by an A-list of Hollywood celebrities.
Elizabeth Marvelly has been surrounded by music from childhood and sang in a choir from the age of eight. It was in her early teens that she dedicated herself to becoming a professional singer at the highest level. Her father drives her, three hours each way, to Auckland for weekly singing lessons with Francis Wilson, an inspiring teacher of opera who specialises in traditional belcanto technique; Wilson is, in turn, a student of Sister Mary Leo, who taught Kiri Te Kanawa and Malvina Major, among others.
Gray Bartlett describes Marvelly as “very grounded” in the way she has managed to juggle her career with her studies at the renowned King’s College school. Elizabeth has been an all-’rounder, a straight-A student who, in addition to singing and piano, has excelled in cricket, soccer, speech and drama, and has held multiple leadership roles within the school.
Elizabeth describes her current style of music as “popera,” a crossover genre that is a mixture of classical and pop music; she hopes her voice will mature in such a way that she can gravitate toward more “classical” repertoire when she gets older.
Elizabeth’s debut CD includes a duet, Stranger in Paradise, with Alfie Boe, as well as two of her own compositions, Far Away and When You Are Sad, the latter about children who suffer as a result of child abuse, a cause that Elizabeth feels deserves more public attention. “Also hugely significant to me,” Elizabeth has said of the album contents, “was the inclusion of two traditional Maori songs to pay homage to my Te Arawa heritage. In fact, many of the songs are a tribute to heritage; a selection that my Maori, English, Welsh and French ancestors could all be proud of. … the beautiful and evocative Love Can Build A Bridge [and] It Is You … tell their own stories; stories that I have enjoyed … listening to, and have done my best to retell in my own way.”
Elizabeth Marvelly’s debut CD will be released in Australia in the first quarter of 2008, with the rest of the world to follow.
Chris Caddick, Managing Director of EMI Music New Zealand, says “Elizabeth is an incredibly talented lady and a delight to work with. The most important thing is her fabulous voice but she also has a wonderful work ethic and she puts in the hard yards herself”.