Chantelle Marie King
Chantelle Marie King,
along with her brother, VJ King Jr, would sit for hours at their Dad's feet
singing kid's tunes, home-spun melodies, and old Sunday School hymns while
he accompanied on an old family guitar.
Those daily family music room rituals echoed a bygone era when, free from the enervating influences of today's modern society, music.... live music.... was the turnkey of family bonding - and, importantly, a catalyst for musical and artistic expression, and development.
In such a crucible was the young Chantelle immersed along with the pestles of rhythm, melody, pitch and verse.
Now with a voice that comfortably travels the gravel of a Sarah McLachlan ballad - while equally at ease cruising a Barry Brady smokey blues or soaring the rarified heights of an Andrew Lloyd Webber masterpiece - it is no surprise to find Chantelle under the spotlight as one of Australia's most exciting young emerging female vocalists.
In hindsight, the King family's late 1988 move to Sydney's leafy north-western Hills district, with Chantelle then barely 12 months old, proved a turning point for her and, indeed, for the whole family.
Samuel Gilbert Public School had just opened it's doors (1986) and Anne French was busy developing the musical and artistic skills of the new students.
She was to play a pivotal role in Chantelle's early career development.
In 1994, then a Year 1 student, Chantelle, successfully auditioned for a place in the school's elite Vocal Ensemble. During the seasons that followed, and under the firm but patient guidance of Anne French, Chantelle's love affair with music, and song, began to bloom.
It was, however, not until 5 years later - while in her final primary school year in 1999 - that Chantelle arrived at a fork in the road that would, unknowingly at the time, shape forever her musical direction.
October, 1999 brought the marriage of Chantelle's sister, Rachel - with younger brother, guitarist VJ King Jr, booked to provide the entertainment for the evening's celebratory feast.
Chantelle decided that she, too, wanted to perform... to sing a tribute song for the new bride and groom.
Aspiring as she was then, to become (eventually) a country & western singer, Chantelle's heart was set on singing her favourite piece, Your Cheatin' Heart.
Convincing the determined young 11-year old that Your Cheatin' Heart was not really appropriate for a wedding celebration, was not easy. However, in the discussions that followed, Chantelle resigned herself to choosing another, less contentious song and turned to one she had learned for a Year 4 school play audition - Castle On A Cloud.
Adding another Les Miserables classic, On My Own, and Amanda McBroom's classic The Rose, she rehearsed... and sang... and stole the hearts of all present in a compelling performance.
Noting both her outstanding delivery, and the enthusiastic response her performance generated, VJ King Sr immediately intensified Chantelle's training routine and, in March 2000, entered the petite 12-year old in a local Hills District Talent Quest. - "for the experience".
Six months later, with auditions, qualifying heats and semi-final wins behind her, Chantelle took centre stage at Dural Country Club on Sunday, 10 September, as a Grand Finalist in the Junior Division of The Hills Talent Search 2000.
Praised by the Finals judges for an outstanding performance - one which would prompt celebrity entertainer Jeanne Little to remark: "[Chantelle]... displayed a remarkable voice range for someone her age." - she was crowned the quest's winner, and presented with a first prize cheque of $500 and trophy.
The following year Chantelle, having turned thirteen, was obliged by the Talent Quest's rules to step up into the senior division if she wished to compete. Decision time.
"Competing alongside much older and more seasoned performers" ... it was reasoned... "just might help her over the 'stage nerves' hurdle" as well as give her "valuable stage, presentation and competition experience".
On 12 August 2001, in a dream-come-true repeat of the previous year, only alongside much tougher competition, Chantelle eventually stepped forward to accept the winner's trophy, and a $1,000 cheque.
Her win also helped create a little piece of 'trivia' history - with Chantelle's brother, VJ King Jr, winning the Junior Division of The Hills Talent Search 2001 earlier that same evening.
Asked about her Hills Talent Search experiences, Chantelle recounted... "those two years were very exciting - but also nerve-wracking. I certainly discovered a lot about myself, and what could be achieved by working hard and under pressure; and the confidence it gave me, along with the thrill of winning, will remain with me for the rest of my life."
"I was so terribly shy then, and nervous... and if the truth be known I probably still am - but to a much lesser extent.
"Thankfully, dad kept prodding ... encouraging me to be persistence, and to rise above the natural fears you have about your own deficiencies.
"I've learned to make the most of what I am able to do, and not worry unnecessarily about what I can't do. Or, as my dad puts it, 'if all the birds in the forest waited until the one with the sweetest voice to sing first... no bird would sing.'
"Nerves aside, I do love singing, and no more so than the moving melodies and stirring lyrics from Phantom Of The Opera and Les Miserables. And, yes, I enjoy the cross over to contemporary songs."
It was one such contemporary song - Sarah McLachlan's 1997 hit ballad, Angel - that landed Chantelle a Top 5 Performers Category Nomination and Runner Up Award at the National Musicoz Awards in November, 2002. She was the youngest finalist in any "non age-restricted" (i.e., 'open age') category throughout the entire Musicoz event.
The year 2002 closed with Chantelle winning the Enrico Masiella Memorial Award - Most Outstanding Vocalist of the Year.
is very proud to present
Chantelle Marie King
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