Singer a step in direction of dream
Teen impresses WSU teachers with presence and technique
PLUMPTON High School student Elysa Villareal certainly struck the right chord at Western Sydney University’s Creativity Unlimited when she took out top prize at the music event, bringing her another step closer to a professional singing career.
The winner of the morning competition was Ester Gaolo, from Richard Johnson Anglican School in Oakhurst, singing I’d Rather Go Blind (originally a 1950s’ gospel song by Etta James).
Both students now get the chance to record several tracks at the WSU’s new state of the art world-class recording studios at the Werrington campus.
Ms Villareal says she will use the recordings to help get a professional recording contract.
“Honestly, my win was very unexpected. Everyone was so amazing and they had a lot of talent and I was very happy to win,” she said.
The 18-year-old Lethbridge Park resident performed the Boyz II Men hit On Bended Knee and
“I started singing when I was eight and when I saw Jessica Mauboy on Australian Idol I decided that’s what I wanted to do.”
By age 14, Ms Villareal was in a Latino band and a year later joined a Samoan group.
She already has appeared on The Voice and auditioned for the X Factor.
While Ms Villareal sings covers of popular songs, she also writes her own pop, R & B and rap material.
“My dream is to get a recording contract and make it in the music industry. I couldn’t do any of this without my family. My dad takes me to all my events and usually my family all come along too,” she said.
Ian Stevenson, academic course organiser and one of the people behind Creativity Unlimited, said WSU had put the call-out to students all over Sydney and the response had been really impressive.
“Definitely Elysa’s stage presence and technique marked her out,” Mr Stevenson said.
“We strive for excellence at WSU and the thing that most impressed us is how all the contestants really embraced all styles of music. We had a whole mix — we had bands and soloists and we had classic music and contemporary, and we were blown away by the standard of musicianship.”
WSU’s new $3 million music facility opened its doors two months ago.
We strive for excellence at WSU and the thing that most impressed us is how all the contestants really embraced all styles of music Ian Stevenson
Elysa Villareal performs a number and (below) fellow student Ryan Park shows off his guitar-playing.