A Hartlepool teenager is one step away from winning a dream prize.
It’s been a remarkable year for Elena Larkin who has turned 18, reached the finals of the Best of Hartlepool awards, and is now in the last round of a national songwriting competition.
Out of thousands of competitors, Elena has made it through to this Sunday’s final event in Camden where the prize for the winner is £5,000.
The contest is called Future Music and is part of the Open Mic competition.
Elena said: “I am so really happy about this. I can not believe that I am through to the final.
“I get nervous just before I go on stage but once I am performing I am completely relaxed.
Once I am performing I am completely relaxed. That is the place where I like to be, where I can be myself and it is where I feel most comfortableElena Larkin, singer-songwriter
“That is the place where I like to be, where I can be myself and it is where I feel most comfortable.”
But even better news could follow as representatives of Warner Music, Sony and Universal will be there, said Elena’s proud dad Stephen, 51.
Stephen, 51, works as a welder at Heerema, and mum Sandra, 50, is a primary care trust manager in East Durham.
Stephen said: “This has always been what she has wanted to do. She wants to be a professional musician. That is her dream, it’s anything to do with the music industry.”
Elena will perform her own number Stone Soldier at the national finals at Dingwalls Theatre.
To reach the finals, she had to win local heats and then a regional final at Sheffield City Hall.
“There were thousands in for it,” said Stephen. “They whittled them down and eventually Elena got through.
“She is over the moon. If she wins, the first prize is £5,000 but if they like her song, they might take her on board.”
Elena added: “I wrote the song when I was 16 and because this is a song riting competition, everyone has to perform one of their own numbers.”
The teenager’s great year has also included performing at the O2 Academy in Newcastle in the final of another challenge, the SoundWave contest.
It was the second year running that the Hartlepool Sixth Form College student got to the last stages of the competition.