Cowell signs 10-year-old spotted on YouTube
Thursday 17 February 2011
She is only 10 years old and has already been hailed as the next Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber rolled into one. Now, after taking the internet by a storm, the Canadian has become the latest talent to be signed by Simon Cowell.
Heather Russell, who cites her musical influences as Prince, Justin Timberlake, Queen and Alicia Keyes, is not new to the limelight. She wrote her first song on the piano at eight, and now, after posting a clip of her single "Every Step of the Way" on YouTube last July, has attracted the attention of Cowell, the music mogul and American Idol creator, and Rob Fusari, the producer who helped launch Lady Gaga.
In a rise to fame that has already been compared with fellow Canadian teen idol Justin Bieber, who was discovered four years ago on YouTube at the age of 12, Russell reportedly caught Cowell's eye from the moment they were introduced.
"Simon just loved her. He said she was amazingly-talented from the first time he saw her," a spokesman from Syco UK, the company founded by Cowell, told The Independent.
Russell first gained attention when she auditioned for an amateur singing contest at the age of eight. Despite being too young to enter the contest, the musical director, John Santos, worked with with Russell for almost a year.
"As soon as I heard her, me and my wife said 'Wow'," Santos said. "I thought she was incredible and I still do – she is a diamond in the rough, with a very bright future."
Less than a year after Russell's mother, Monica Cidade, posted the clip of her daughter singing with her father online, the video had attracted more than 100,000 views.
Her talent then brought her to the attention of Zack Werner, the Canadian Idol judge and founder of Venus Records. He says he managed Russell unofficially until Cowell swooped. "Simon will put his stamp on her, but there is something rare about this child. She is a natural entertainer and sings for all the right reasons."
For Russell's mother, her daughter's success comes as no surprise. "We're more than excited, but Heather deserves it. She is the hardest working 10-year-old I know. She is committed and real," she said.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food