Who knew a Mansfield starlet could show the opera singers in Italy how it’s done?
Carly Paoli, 27, from Berry Hill, has topped the classical music charts and been a jet-setting operatic star since she was 18.
But before she was singing for the likes of the Royals, the Pope, and Brangelina, the lorry driver’s daughter told of being discovered at an audition in Mansfield Library.
Carly said: “I’ve always sung. Since I was four years old, I’ve never shut up.
“My mum worked in Thomas Cook and my Dad’s a lorry driver so I spent most of my evenings at my grandmother’s house, having my dinner and singing Abba in front of the television or the mirror.
“I was quite vane. Then in the summer I spent a lot of time with my dad in the cab of his lorry, we had bunk beds in the back so we’d make a den – I’ve got fond memories of those days.
“I studied Julia Andrews and that kind of singing, and it was when I was nine-years-old a singing coach told my mum ‘I think you’ve got something special’.
“I would have loved to go into musical theatre originally but my voice was always classical.”
She may have had a major breakthrough when she joined the local charity, When You Wish Upon A Star, at 14.
Carly said: “I just showed up one day with a Ghetto blaster and belted out a song and they all looked at me and thought ‘who is this strange girl’.”
She’s been performing at their events and galas ever since, and was recently made a patron.
Despite her stage name, Carly (real name Hopkinson) is a Mansfield girl through-and-through. She’s half Italian and speaks fluently, but with a Notts accent.
“I’ve been described as an English Rose with Italian Roots,” she said.
So how did she manage to become Italy’s new face of classical music?
“In my early days working as a singer I made money singing in piazzas in Puglia, in southern Italy,” she said.
“Also I have lots of family out there so the Italians have accepted me.”
Now a mezzo-soprano, Carly has worked with some of the most talented composers in the world. With Romano Musumarra she produced ‘Ave Maria’, which was adopted as the official theme of the Catholic Jubilee and played on Vatican radio to billions around the world.
On the back of the song she headlined a one-off concert in the Ancient Roman forum with Elaine Paige, Andrea Bocelli and the Canadian Tenors. It was broadcast live on Italian state television to 3.5 million.
“It was unbelievable,” she said. “A whirlwind of emotion.”
She’s also a big deal in Malaysia, where Classical music has a major following, and has just returned form a concert in Kuala Lumpur.
The next few months though will bring her closer to home – she’s performing at a private showcase in London, and soon to launch her new album which has just been recorded at Abbey Road with the London Symphony Orchestra.
And this week, she’s excited to launch a Christmas single, ‘My Christmas Dream Is You’ available for pre-order on iTunes now and released on November 25, with all proceeds going to When You Wish Upon A Star.
She added: “It’s the most incredibly charity, and I’m at a stage now where I feel I can give back to them. I’m pushing with everything to try and make this number one, and I need my hometown behind me.”
Visit the iTunes store and search Carly Paoli to find the single, price.