Awards beckon young performer

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‘She was always singing when she was younger. I had lots of people say you should get her lessons.’

Riversdale girl Isla Hawker (7) was singing before she could talk and next week she will be performing at the MLT New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards.

Isla’s mother Emily Hawker said it was Isla’s second time entering the awards.

Mrs Hawker said Isla originally entered for the first time when she was 5 years old but got a little bit of stage fright.

Isla, who likes Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran, said she had three outfits, one for each song she would be singing.

She had entered in the gospel, solo and country rock sections.

She was booked in to get her hair done before her performances and also had a new pair of country boots to wear.

“She was always singing when she was younger. I had lots of people say you should get her lessons,” Mrs Hawkers said.

“The national anthem was what she started with.”

Mrs Hawkers said she struggled to find Isla singing lessons at such a young age because she was not old enough to read.

“It’s hard trying to teach someone songs if they can’t read them,” she said.

Music teacher Kayla Martin eventually found a space for her and she now practises with her each Wednesday.

“She was just 4 first got on stage at the Waikaia pub, and it was all from memory.”

From there, it was cool to watch Isla grow as a performer, Mrs Hawkers said.

During the weekend Isla’s family from across the South Island would travel down to watch her perform.

“It’s a big family affair.”

For now Isla, who one day hopes to be on television, said she would keep practising and keep entering competitions.