10th January 2017
A 19-year-old got her big break on ITV1?s The Voice at the weekend, thanks in part at least, to her former college.
Diamond from Romford studied sports at Barking & Dagenham College until last summer. Despite being a sports student, her singing talents were noticed early on by staff and other students. She took part in the College’s own talent competition two years ago – judged by former students and The Voice finalist, Emmanuel Nwamadi - gaining second prize.
(See footage of Diamond’s version of Etta James’ ‘At Last’ here).
One of her former classmates, Karen Boxall, got a job at the College, organising student events etc. So, when Karen was looking for entertainment for a student event in September, she remembered Diamond’s talent and asked her to sing at it; Diamond, who is now at university, said yes.
“We were blown away by her” raves Karen, “she has an amazing voice.”
It was her first-ever paid singing job.
Shortly afterward, the College received a letter from the show’s producers, asking if there were any talented singers at Barking & Dagenham College. Karen went straight to Diamond and told her she should go for it.
Diamond explains what happened next “Karen, along with other people I know, persuaded me to enter, so I did the online application and the rest is history.”
Her TV debut was on Saturday night’s first episode of The Voice, singing her version of ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ by Alicia Keys. Jennifer Hudson, Will.i.am and new judge Gavin Rossdale all turned their chairs around for her.
Diamond sings regularly in the gospel choir at a church in North London which her family has attended for years.
Diamond says: “The College was the first to pay me for my singing and now I am on TV. It’s amazing. I’m so excited."
“The College has found old footage of me singing Etta James in a college competition and I realised I was wearing the same dress as I did on TV on Saturday night! I hadn’t realised I had done that, but I guess it must be a lucky dress!”
Diamond chose to be on Team J-Hud after an impromptu singing lesson by Jennifer Hudson. Staff and students at Barking & Dagenham College will be cheering her on at her next TV appearance.