For Vanessa White from The Saturdays, being introduced to the world of opera has been a revelation. The singer, who is being trained to perform arias live on Popstar to Operastar, declares that, “opera is so relaxing. Some people think it’s just for old people, but it appeals to everyone. Opera music is universal.”
The singer, whose band has toured with both Girls Aloud and Take That, confesses that working on the show has been a steep learning curve. “Singing opera is completely different from singing pop. You have to learn a whole new style of performance. In pop, you use your head voice, while in opera it comes from the stomach.
“Also pop singers place their tongues at the back of their mouths, while opera singers have them at the front. I’ve learnt to hit high notes I never knew I could reach. It’s been an amazing process. All in all, it’s a huge technical challenge because there are masses of things going on at the same time. It’s plunging in at the deep end, but it’s great to learn something new.”
The one thing Vanessa is dreading about Popstar to Operastar is the live performances every Friday night on ITV1. “I don’t want to think about doing live TV – I’ll just panic myself!,” shudders the singer, whose band has enjoyed five top ten singles since their debut in 2008.
“On the day, I’ll be in a real state. It’s a very big deal, especially as I’m not used to doing things on my own. I’m used to performing with the four other girls. Now I have to get used to saying ‘I’ instead of ‘we’!”
20-year-old Vanessa, whose group The Saturdays went platinum with their very first album, “Chasing Lights,” goes on to explain why reality TV shows such as Popstar to Operastar have proved so popular. “Viewers love watching contestants progress. They enjoy seeing singers go from novices to huge stars.
“What’s my favourite part of these shows? I love watching the auditions, especially the ones who are really bad. But I sincerely hope we won’t be that bad!”
Finally, Vanessa says that her involvement in Popstar to Operastar can only benefit her work with The Saturdays. “I think there are loads of things I can take into my pop singing. I’m going to see if the opera techniques I have learnt will work in pop. In fact, I’m performing tonight with The Saturdays, so I’ll try them then. If it goes well, I might change career and start singing opera. I’ll let you know!”