Young Achiever: Tiny Tessa’s big vocal gift
Pint-sized schoolgirl Tessa Smith packs a powerful voice in a tiny frame.
Tessa, 13, showed off her talents at a recent fundraiser for anti-child sex abuse charity Saving Children and Revealing Secrets — her biggest audience to date. Her performance earned her a standing ovation from the 125-strong audience.
Tessa said: “I just like to share what I do with other people, especially for a good cause.
“That was one of the best parts, because I felt good at the end of the day that I did something.”
Tessa, a pupil at Sedbergh School in England, added she grew up in a musical family that encouraged her to sing.
She explained: “My dad is the one who always keeps me into music and he’s the one who shows me all of the old singers like Alanis Morissette, Journey and George Michael.
Tessa, who stands just 4ft 7in, started taking singing lessons from singer and instructor Joy Barnum when she was just 10 and fast learnt to be comfortable performing in front of crowds.
Her first performance outside of the classroom came last year on the streets of London, when she was invited to perform by a busker.
She sang When I was Your Man by Grammy award-winner Bruno Mars, and it was so well received her mother uploaded a video of the performance to YouTube.
Tessa said her biggest performance came this month when she was invited to a party to celebrate Scars’s seventh anniversary.
Tessa added: “My grandma was friends with one of the organisers and she told her that I was visiting and that I liked to sing.
“They wanted some young people to do some songs, so I went and did a song for them. I felt kind of good because I knew that I could help.
“I just like to share what I do with other people, especially for a good cause; that was one of the best parts because I felt good at the end of the day that I did something.”
Tessa said singing was “a way to connect with myself” and a good way to express her creativity.
She explained: “My favourite part of singing is being able to get out emotions that you can’t get out in any normal words. Things that you can do with song you can’t always do with words.”
Tessa added that she found it easier to perform in front of crowds of strangers.
She said: “It’s a lot scarier to perform in front of your family, who know you so well, but performing in front of a million strangers wouldn’t scare me because I probably wouldn’t see their faces again.
“Besides, an audience is what makes you perform, so having people’s support is what makes it all the best part.”
Christina Smith, Tessa’s mother, said that she knew her daughter was talented but never realised how good she was until she wowed London passers-by.
Ms Smith added: “It really hit me after watching her in London last year and just watching the people stop on the sidewalk.
“You could just see their mouths dropping open. Like, here’s this little itsy-bitsy thing with such a big voice. I knew she was different and special.”
Her father, Jamie Smith, said: “I love when she sings. She makes me cry every time she sings.”
He added: “She could take on anything — I could see her singing on one of the shows like The Voice or X Factor, and I could really see her being a singer-songwriter and developing her own style and her own following.”
Tessa said that she hopes to try busking over the summer, and planned to keep playing music as she gets older.
She explained: “I know it sounds really cheesy, but it is a really big part of my life.”
She added that she had not taken singing or piano lessons since she moved to England but she practises as often as she can.
Tessa said her parents and Ms Barnum had inspired her to perform.
She added: “They are my biggest supporters and I just love them so much.”
• Update: This article was amended to correct Tessa Smith’s mother’s name to Christina Smith
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