Newry woman hits the right note on The Voice

April 22, 2013

“Love at first note” – that was how The Voice judge, Will. I. Am described how he felt upon hearing the jaw-dropping performance of Newry-born classical singer, Carla Maney and her singing partner, Barbara Kelly during last Saturday night’s TV auditions. On hearing the very first note of the duo’s spine tingling rendition of opera classic, The Flower Duet, the judge pressed his button to face the stage.

The pair became the unmitigated stars of the show, earning a standing ovation from the audience and all four coaches.  Indeed, Danny O Donoghue, Jessie J, Tom Jones and Will. I. Am, were simply in awe of the singers’ abilities, with The Script frontman describing their performance as “like angels singing.”

Forty seven year old Carla, is originally from the High Street area of Newry but now lives in Wales where she works as a vocal coach.  After performing in various musical productions, the singer spent almost five years recovering from a severe bout of laryngitis which threatened to end her singing career forever.  She managed to completely retrain her voice and continued with her passion. In 2003, Ms Maney met her 55 year old singing partner, Barbara, as they toured the US in the chorus for a production of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly.

Together, the singers fought off thousands of hopefuls in the open auditions for The Voice winning the chance to sing in front of the famous coaches on Saturday night.  The voice format differs from other singing competitions in that the judges cannot see the singer during the audition and must judge them on their voice alone. If they like what they hear, they press a button and their chair turns to face the stage.

Although their style of singing is one seldom seen on the voice, the duo stole the show, receiving a rapturous reaction from the audience and coaches. After much discussion, with Carla asking if they could have all four coaches, the women finally chose Will. I. Am as their coach and mentor. Energetic Will, lead singer with internationally renowned super-group, The Blackeyed Peas, was visibly thrilled to be chosen by the pair and hopes to take them through to the live finals in the coming weeks.