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Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:55 UK
Harpist and singer Hero's a talent show star at 11

Hero with harp
Two acts from each semi-final will make it to the final on 19 September

An 11-year-old singer and harpist from Capel Curig, near Betws-y-Coed, is through to the semi-finals of Sky TV talent show Must Be the Music.

Up against hundreds of much older competitors and performing her own composition, Hero made it through off-screen auditions then got a unanimous 'yes' in her first televised round from judges Dizzee Rascal, Jamie Cullum and Sharleen Spiteri.

"I'm really looking forward to the semi-finals and really excited," said Hero, who adds that the judges weren't half as daunting as she expected.

"I really liked them," she said. "It's nice performing in front of judges who actually sing themselves. As musicians they know what it feels like when you're on stage."

That was really beautiful. You've got a beautiful tender voice
Sharleen Spiteri

Jamie Cullum said it was an amazing performance and Dizzee Rascal was impressed with her song-writing ability at such a young age. The audience gave her a standing ovation.

"The show is much more about the musical performance," said Hero's mother, Alice Douglas.

"They judge on musical ability and it's not about people making a fool of themselves."

Her years of singing at the Urdd Eisteddfod should stand Hero in good stead.

"Living here they teach you to sing from when you're tiny and put you on stage and it's really helped me because it's given me confidence," she said.

Hero playing harp
Hero's harp at home is far smaller than the one she plays on TV

"And it's totally normal to play the harp here, when no-one else is playing it in the competition."

Among the 15 acts bidding to make the final are a gospel choir, electro-violinist and a soul-funk band.

"I am a bit nervous," Hero admitted. "It's live and I've never played in front of an audience that big before."

Hero began writing her own songs two years ago when she discovered she couldn't sell her home-made CD of Welsh songs for copyright reasons.

"Her singing teacher, Sian Alderton, helped her with the process. Hero would write a story, Sian would write some music and explain to Hero that she needed eight lines of maybe ten words each.

"Then she found the harp and loved it, although she much prefers learning pop songs and using it like a guitar, not doing grades."

Hero has been playing local festivals and folk nights.

"She's gathered quite a following with locals pitching up at her performances," said Alice, who admitted that Hero's step up to performing on the TV show was rather alarming for her as a mother.

Cover version

"It was a big thing, suddenly playing in front of the judges and a big audience in a formal setting," she said.

"She's more used to a gig like yesterday's, in Tal-y-Cafn, where her pony was tied up in the pub car park. It was all a bit more informal!"

Hero has been asked to play a cover version for the semi-final on Sunday, 12 September, but she's keeping the song under wraps until the night.

As for what she'll do if she wins the show's £100,000 prize, Hero says she'd start by buying a new harp as she's playing a borrowed one for the competition.



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