Peterborough teenager hits all the right notes to win West End singing competition

A Peterborough teenager hit all the right notes to win a top West End singing competition.

By Stephen Briggs
Sunday, 2nd January 2022, 4:59 am
Layla in the competition
Layla in the competition

Layla Chivandire (17) beat hundreds of other young budding stars to win the West End Calling competition - moving top London performers to tears with her performance.

Layla had to impress performers from some of the biggest shows in the West End to claim the top prize - and she now hopes to follow in their footsteps.

Layla said: ‘It’s so overwhelming! I was definitely shocked when they called out my name, but that turned into extreme happiness and excitement very quickly. I’m beyond grateful for such an incredible opportunity and to the judges for spotting talent in me!

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Layla after being announced as the winner

“The day was simply perfect, the West End Calling team made us feel comfortable and calmed our nerves so well. When it was my turn to rehearse my song with the band, I was initially petrified!

“However, the support from my fellow competitors settled me completely and made singing my song so much more enjoyable. When it came to the show, I didn’t feel like i was competing against anyone, instead I was performing with everyone.

“I loved the interval after our show when we had all performed and were waiting for the results. The proudness of each other outweighed the nervousness. I remember giving myself a pep talk in the mirror of the bathroom where I said, “You’ve got this, no matter what happens”, and that held true.”

Hosted by SIX and Juliet star, Grace Mouat, the final played at the Charing Cross Theatre in London’s West End as well as being streamed all over the world. Layla sang Two Little Lines by Drew Gasparini and received rave reviews from the West End judges - Natalie May Paris, Cleve September, Laura Pick and Christina Bennington.

The judges were thrilled with her performance. Christina, who has appeared in Heathers, Bat Out Of Hell and Sweeney Todd told Layla: “The ease that you have vocally and with your storytelling was brilliant. I must admit I did shed a tear.”

Cleve, who was part of the original case of hit musical Hamilton added: “You have an absolutely incredible voice and your storytelling is phenomenal! Your acting choices, going from light to shade, and the realisation in these detailed little moments were brilliant so really well done.”

As part of Layla’s prize, she will be performing this Sunday (December 19) at Cadogan Hall in ‘West End Does Christmas’ performing alongside theatre stars Rob Houchen, John Owen Jones, Gina Beck, Maureen Lipman and many more.

She said: “I’m so looking forward to Sunday as I’ll also be performing alongside my sister who is part of the GSA choir. I’m so excited to perform in such a beautiful venue like Cadogan Hall where I have seen many shows before!

“My main dream is to star on the West End in a show I love, with people I can call family and in a theatre I can call home. After this, I would love to teach musical theatre in a youth drama group and maybe even start up my own.”

Creative Director, Alex James Ellison said: “Layla is such a natural performer. Every time she has performed in this competition, the judges have been blown away and she deserves every success in the future!”