Ipswich teenage singing sensation follows idol Sheeran onto college course

Roma Manteiga Nicolson is following in Ed Sheeran's footsteps by attending the same college course h

Roma Manteiga Nicolson is following in Ed Sheeran's footsteps by attending the same college that he did - 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.

Roma Manteiga Nicolson is following in Ed Sheeran's footsteps by attending the same college course h

Roma Manteiga Nicolson has set her sights on a singing career - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

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 Nicholson has received more than 41k views on her cover of Ed Sheeran. Picture: JON TURNER

Roma has performed at hundreds of gigs and has already released her own album - Credit: Archant

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."

Roma Nicolson, aged 13, from Ipswich has received more than 41k views on Facebook singing Ed Sheeran

Roma has already released an album, called Teen Spirit - Credit: Chris Silvester

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".

Teenage singer songwriter Roma Manteiga Nicholson hands over a cheque to Ipswich Winter Night Shelte

Roma's singing has raised thousands of pounds for good causes across Ipswich. Here, she present a cheque to Ipswich Winter Night Shelter - Credit: ROSA MANTEIGA

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.

Ed Sheeran will be performing four gigs at Chantry Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ed Sheeran studied at Access Creative College - and said it helped to make him a better musician - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

"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".

Young Ipswich singer Roma Nicholson busked her way around the Elmer trail last year - singing 55 son

Roma, pictured her on singing on Ipswich's Elmer trail, says she has missed the buzz of performing live during the coronavirus crisis - Credit: Archant

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.

Roma Manteiga Nicolson with daughter rosa Manteiga Castro Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Roma Manteiga Nicolson with her mother, Rosa - Credit: Charlotte Bond

"Hopefully, with getting out of lockdown, there are some people who want me to go out and perform. I'm very excited for that."

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