The small Waikato community of Pirongia has unearthed a new singing talent, Vanessa La Rel.

Vanessa is certainly turning heads with her singing abilities and at a recent private exclusive party held at Lake Karapiro she earned praise from some high-profile celebrities from the entertainment industry. Vanessa’s current aim is to focus on the wedding and restaurant markets. Vanessa has been singing from as long as she can remember. ‘I have been singing since I could start to talk,” she says. “I remember discovering a music channel as a kid, when T.L.C came out, I was fascinated with watching it and singing along to it,” she said. “I went through the whole Spice Girl phase and later on Britney Spears became my idol as posters of her decked my wall and I memorised all her lyrics,” Vanessa says. The first time she sang publicly in front of audience was at the Alexandra Hotel in Pirongia. She sang with her brothers band aptly named “Vanessa and the Nobody’s” “We would also have band nights at the Woolshed (on her family farm) and all the locals round with five different bands playing,” she said. The next singing opportunity came for her when she performed in a charity concert held at the Te Awamutu Bible Chapel where she sang “Like A Prayer” – the famous hit song by Madonna. “God’s given me a talent with my voice and song writing ability. It’s something I can’t bottle inside me; I have to share with the world. I don’t ever want to look back on life and be like “I wonder if…” so whatever my dream is I pursue it, pray and take the right steps to lead me closer that vision,” Vanessa says. “My originals are from my own personal experiences. They are songs that people can relate too,” she says. “I write from my heart and I want to strengthen people in their decisions that they make and encourage them to make the right ones. Especially for young woman, to put good values back into music and influence them in a positive way,” she said. Currently Vanessa performs covers of mainstream music that she performs in hotels and restaurants throughout the Waikato. However, eventually she would like to become an all original artist once she has her own album. What does she love about singing? “Expressing and releasing the words of my heart, the emotions of my soul.” “It’s healing and it’s powerful to sing,” she says. “Evoking emotion in people as well is something I enjoy doing. At that time you can get that person to understand your feelings in such a way. Words alone can express but

the melody and soul you put into a song can really get a person to understand that frame of emotion and it creates that connection with your audience in a place of understanding,” she said. Vanessa is accompanied by leading guitarist, Jessie James - a musician who hails originally from Te Awamutu and who now resides in Hamilton. Jessie’s roots lie in rock music and he was a dynamic part of the Hamilton rock band, Eqwanox for seven years. As part of Eqwanox, Jessie sang lead vocals, played guitar and wrote a lot of their original music which was eventually released on the bands debut album "All roads lead from here" in 2010. The band accomplished several international supports, toured up and down the country relentlessly and played with many prolific New Zealand artists such as Dragon, Midnight Youth, The Bleeders, Autozamm and many others before calling it a day in 2011. After Eqwanox, James left the spotlight and travelled to America to refine and hone his skills. He is now back and ready to bring something fresh and new to the table.

Vanessa La Rel:

Genre of covers: Mainstream pop/rock Genre of originals: Pop/Rock. With a twist of soul. Musical influences: Jewel, No Doubt, The Cranberries, Duffy, Paramore

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