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Ambitions of teenager singer

PUBLISHED: 22:46 15 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:12 03 March 2010

STOWUPLAND High School pupil Laura Forde is aiming to swap the classroom for the recording studio.

The 16-year-old is one of 15 finalists in a contest being run by Top of the Pops magazine to find the final member of a four-piece group with industry backing.

STOWUPLAND High School pupil Laura Forde is aiming to swap the classroom for the recording studio.

The 16-year-old is one of 15 finalists in a contest being run by Top of the Pops magazine to find the final member of a four-piece group with industry backing.

The teenager, who describes herself as "a karaoke queen", beat off competition from more than 3,000 hopefuls to reach the final stages.

Laura, 16, impressed at her first audition at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford and then wowed judges at a semi-final a fortnight ago.

"It was the first audition I had ever been to, so it was very nerve-wracking, but really enjoyable. There were so many talented people there and the morale was high," she said.

"Of course, I wanted to get in, but just being there would have been a great experience. The semi-final was a bit more competitive and the people weren't quite as friendly. I was thrilled to make it through."

The talented teenager entered the competition after her manager, Martin Shave, saw an advertisement in The Stage newspaper.

The final takes place in February and top prize is a place in the new group, although the identity and even the sex of the other three members is being kept under wraps.

Second prize is a scholarship at the Academy of Contemporary Music, but the A-level student said she was keeping her feet on the ground.

"If I don't get in the group, I'll finish my A-levels and then give music a try. If it doesn't work out, I'll go to university," she said.

Laura, who lives in Stowmarket with her mother, Marian, said she had loved singing ever since she was a little girl.

"I used to sing in the church choir and I was always singing really. I go in for lots of competitions, I'm a karaoke queen. I even was on MTV for one competition."

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