What a difference a year makes! Soprano, 21, goes from waiting tables to singing special Jubilee song for the Queen in Westminster Abbey
22:36 GMT, 12 March 2012
A year ago she was working as a waitress in a restaurant, serving customers who barely noticed her.
But today singer Laura Wright held the attention of the congregation at Westminster Abbey as she performed for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.
Her Majesty is said to be a huge fan of the 21-year-old from Framlingham, Suffolk, and asked her to perform a new song written specifically to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.
Royal approval: Soprano Laura Wright performed a new Commonwealth anthem in front of the Queen for the first time at Westminster Abbey
Last night an excited Miss Wright explained how she felt before the performance during the Commonwealth Day Observance ceremony.
She said: ‘I was very nervous.
‘I’ve performed in several other big venues in front of very big crowds, but this was the first time I’ve ever performed in Westminster Abbey.
‘It was incredibly exciting and a total honour to be part of such a big celebration.’
Humble beginnings: Just over a year ago the singer was pulling pints at a pub just down the road from St Paul's in London
‘It’s kind of a strange feeling to
know the Queen is a fan. Can you get any better than that I don’t think
you can. It’s such an amazing feeling. I suppose if she wants to listen
to me, who’s going to argue with her’
When given the news she was to perform for the Queen, she explained how she told her mother, Caroline.
She said: ‘I squealed a little bit
when I told my mum on the phone and she did exactly the same.
Success: Laura has now sold of 2.5million albums
voices where at such a high pitch you would really be able to understand
what we were saying.’
A year earlier the unassuming singer
arrived in London to start studying for a three-year degree in opera
from the prestigious Royal College of Music.
She earned a scholarship, but to make ends meet living in the Capital, she took up a part time job working in a bar in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral.
She said: ‘I still work when I can, but I’ve been really busy recently – which is nice. However, I like to try and keep my feet on the ground.’
Last year she released her seminal album The Last Rose, which sailed to the top of the Classical album charts meaning, to date, she has sold more than 2.5million records.
And although she has always enjoyed singing, it wasn’t until her mother, Caroline, took her to a Katherine Jenkins concert when she was 15 that she decided she wanted to be on the stage.
She said: ‘After the concert I said to my mum ‘Wow, I’d love to perform on stage and I’d love to do singing of any kind’.
‘Katherine was an inspiration for me, as were my family and in particular my grandmother, who said ‘if you can give people joy by singing which is so natural and easy then you should never stop doing it’.
‘It’s cheesy, but it’s true.’
It was her grandmother – who was an amateur singer – who provided the inspiration for her album, by handing down old sheet music she had stored up over the years.
‘She was a singer and my grandfather was also a chorister, so I had a very musical family, but she is more of an inspiration person for me and something that has always been important to me.’
Going to 16,000-a-year Framlingham College, where she won a scholarship, she explained how she has kept so level-headed.
She said: ‘I have three older brothers who keep me very grounded.
‘If I ever have a boyfriend it’s quite tricky to get past the three of them.’
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth Day Observance Ceremony
Her mother is an artist, while her father, Paul, is a financial advisor who, she confesses, ‘never gets the art thing’.
Last night the family were celebrating the performance of The Last Rose, which is now on sale, and later joined the Queen and fellow guests at the Marlborough House.
The new song, which becomes the official anthem for the Commonwealth celebrating the Diamond Jubilee will raise money for The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.