Ipswich teenage singing sensation follows idol Sheeran onto college course
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
An Ipswich teenage singing sensation who dreams of emulating her idol Ed Sheeran is to follow in his footsteps - by studying at the same college he did as a youngster.
Singer-songwriter Roma Manteiga-Nicholson has already forged a successful career aged just 15, releasing her own album - Teen Spirit - and performing at hundreds of gigs.
The Perfect singer has long been Roma's hero, with the 15-year-old talking movingly about how she was inspired by the Framlingham superstar to shrug off school bullies just as he did when he was younger.
And now, as she looks to the next stage of her career, Roma has been offered a place at Access Creative College - where Ed himself studied as a teenager and is now a patron.
Roma, who has not been able to perform in lockdown but has written more than 100 songs while studying for her GCSEs, said: "I had my heart set on music and I didn't want to be doing a course at another college with other subjects.
"I wanted to do something purely around music, because I would enjoy it more."
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The vocal performance and production course at Access Creative College looked ideal, she said, because it would allow her to focus on her solo skills.
It would also help the Northgate High School student - who has donated £16,500 raised from her singing to good causes - to learn "skills and techniques in production to record my own songs".
The icing on the cake was its very famous alumnus, with Roma - whose own video cover of Castle on the Hill was viewed 41,000 times in two days online - saying: "Ed Sheeran is my idol.
"I love him and to be going to the same college, it feels like I'm following in his footsteps. I feel like I want to know what he learned."
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In an article for Access Creative College's website, Sheeran says: "At the time of starting the course, I wasn’t the best singer, I wasn’t the best songwriter and I wasn’t even really the best guitarist.
"What I think is great about Access Creative College is you’re around kids who want to do the same thing and adults who understand that you don’t have to be the best singer, songwriter or guitarist to start off, but there is something there to work with.
"A lot of kids go in there kind of alright, not great, and come out really accomplished, because it’s a confidence thing – if you believe you’re going to be a good singer, you will eventually become a good singer."
Roma said being in lockdown has "personally been quite a struggle, especially with no being able to perform".
She added: "I tried some livestreams but I wasn't getting the same buzz - I need to know the audience are reacting.
"I miss my audience. I miss the connection with them.
"Hopefully, with getting out of lockdown, there are some people who want me to go out and perform. I'm very excited for that."