Courtney Hadwin: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Courtney Hadwin is a 13-year-old British girl with an astonishingly powerful voice who wowed the judges on America’s Got Talent with a stunning rendition of an Otis Redding classic that had some comparing her to Janis Joplin.

Hadwin hails from from Hartlepool, a town in County Durham, England. At first, Hadwin seemed a shy, and even meek, presence on stage. However, once she started singing, she transformed into a vocal powerhouse that, as one judge said, seemed like a throwback to a different era. You can watch the amazing video below along with other videos of Courtney Hadwin singing. She’s been performing for years and has come close to winning other competitions.

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Who is Courtney Hadwin?

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Hadwin’s Amazing Singing Performance Shocked the Judges & Her Grandfather Says She Is Painfully Shy

How impressed were the judges? Very. It’s easy to see why when you watch the video of the girl’s performance, which you can see above. At first, when she took the stage, she admitted she was a “little bit nervous.” She told the judges she was only 13, and her favorite subject in school was music.

You can read an interview that Heavy conducted with Courtney here. In it, she confirms that Janis Joplin is one of her favorite singers and she feels like a different person when she sings.

The judges told her she was sweet and former Spice Girl Mel B implored her not to be nervous on the “big stage.” She was told to “go for it and good luck.” At that point, Courtney began belting out Otis Redding’s song Hard to Handle in dramatic fashion while dancing around the stage. The video brings to mind Susan Boyle’s shock performance that made her a household name.

The judges looked astonished. “When you sing you’re like a lion,” Simon Cowell said.

It’s not the first time the girl has wowed judges. She almost won The Voice Kids UK in 2017. “I have already booked time off from work in the hope she gets right through to the final. I’m so proud of her,” her grandfather, Tom Storey, a security guard, said then.

He told the Inverness Courier, “Courtney is actually painfully shy, which I know people will find hard to believe after seeing her perform on stage like that. If you ever met her you would hardly believe she was the same girl singing and dancing on that stage. But as soon as she gets a microphone in her hand, well, it’s like two different people.” He also indicated, “I don’t know where she got her singing talent from as there’s no way it was from me,” and added that the girl even sings in her sleep.

Courtney’s Instagram profile reads, “COURTNEY HADWIN 13 year old singer. Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”

2. Judge Howie Mandel Gave Courtney Hadwin a Golden Buzzer & a Video of Her Singing at School Previously Went Viral

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It’s not the first time that Courtney’s voice grabbed attention. Her first big break came when she started singing during an open mic organized at school by her music teacher. She sang Great Big World and Christina Aguilera’s Say Something. The school uploaded the video to Facebook, and it went viral. That happened in 2017, according to Chronicle Live, which described her then as “the small girl with the huge voice.” You can watch video of that open mic here.

She told the newspaper at the time, “I haven’t been able to walk down the corridor at school without someone stopping me and saying ‘well done’; it’s been weird but good at the same time. I don’t really get nervous so even though I was singing in front of hundreds of people I just got on with it.” She had already been performing in public for two years at that time, though, at local festivals and the like.

Fast forward to June 2018 and America’s Got Talent.

“You are not from this era. You’re from a whole different era,” Judge Howie Mandel told Hadwin. “And I’m a huge Janis Joplin fan and there’s a story — if you’ve ever watched the documentary — Clive Davis, he goes to the Monterey Pop Festival and he sees this young girl that nobody’s ever seen before, that nobody knows. It was the first time that Janis Joplin got signed and that changed her life. I’m not Clive Davis, I’m Howie Mandel, and I can’t sign you to a record deal. The only thing I can do for you, young lady, is give you…” He then revealed he was giving the girl a golden buzzer. That sends her right to the live shows and the quarterfinals of the televised competition, where the winner takes home $1 million.

Hadwin’s song video has been viewed more than 1.7 million times on YouTube. “I didn’t know what to expect when I auditioned for @AGT but the golden buzzer was more than I ever could have dreamed of. Thank you so much @howiemandel I am so happy and can’t thank you enough xx,” Courtney wrote on Twitter after the performance.

Hadwin’s talent has been recognized before. In November 2017, she wrote on Facebook, “Had an amazing time at the best of Hartlepool awards last night so many amazing stories and amazing talent on show to top it of I won the child of achievement award xx.” She was going to release her first song in 2017, but postponed it, announcing on social media, “So had an interesting message this morning which has led to me making the decision to cancel the release of my first song for the time being but exciting times ahead can’t wait to get stuck in now ??.”

3. Hadwin Says She’s Happy When She Sings & Has a YouTube Channel Where She Posts Covers, Including of Janis Joplin

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On Twitter, Courtney Hadwin revealed what motivates her to go on stage, writing, “I don’t sing because i’m happy; i’m happy because i sing!” Here’s a cover she posted on YouTube. It’s pretty extraordinary too. On Facebook, she once posted a cover photo that reads “just a kid with a dream.”

And here she is singing Janis Joplin! However, Chronicle Live reports that her idols are Whitney Houston, Jessie J and Jennifer Hudson.

You can listen to some of her other cover songs here on her YouTube Channel. One of her videos, from when she was 11, has more than 16,000 views. She also competed in the The Beyond The Lights UK Competition.

More than 48,000 people follow her Facebook page.

4. Hadwin Practices Singing Every Night & Has a Love of Bouncy Castles

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Many of Hadwin’s photos and posts on social media are about her singing career. In 2017, she wrote, “working hard on some new songs xx.” However, other posts show her age, such as one she posted about being in a bouncy castle.

According to UK Daily Mail, Courtney studies at the Academy at Shotton Hall, in Peterlee, and has performed since primary school at local events. Her mother is named Annmarie and her father is named Paul. She has two siblings.

Recognizing her talent early on, the girl’s parents have gotten her singing lessons to harness her powerful voice, Daily Mail reports, and her mother explained in a 2016 interview, “She comes in from school, does her homework and then she practices singing every night.”

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She has also appeared at community events, writing on Facebook of one, “Pallion Christmas lights in Sunderland was brilliant so friendly an amazing community spirit there tonight they really do know how to put an event together all about giving back to the community first time I have ever been to an event where people didn’t have to pay for hot drinks to keep them warm hot dogs candy floss etc all FREE a massive well done to everyone that organised this was a privilege to be part of this and to the star of the show Chloe what a brave girl she is #aheroforchloe.”

Hadwin prepared for AGT by singing at community events for years; for example, she also sang at a Lincoln Pride event. In 2017, she wrote, “On way to Lincoln Pride UK for my first gig this weekend then Cheshire Fest tomorrow #busygirl #singer #lovinit.” Other posts are of charity festivals and open mic nights.

5. Fans Expressed Amazement at the Girl’s Voice

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Courtney Hadwin’s Facebook page is filled with comments from fans who are as in awe as the judges. “Courtney, Your gonna be a star! I loved your performance and just watched all your others…You blow me away! Your amazing and I’m such a fan already! I can’t wait for your first album. I will be first in line with my grandkids!” wrote one woman.

Others also brought up Janis Joplin. “You have the voice of a goddess,” wrote a fan. “Im almost 30 and ive never met someone who could sing like you! Im a huge fan of Janice Joplin and i love her bc no other female singer sounds like her. But babygirl u are in a league of your own!! Rock that out!! And be pround of yourself bc u r gorgeous and ur voice is amazzzinnnnggggg! ❤”

Another fan wrote, “Heard your voice and watch your performance and I had to find you, you are beautiful soul with the voice of a warrior angel.” One fan wrote that she cried after watching the AGT performance, writing, “Lord bless your talent!!
I cried when I watched your performange in AGT… you are amazing!!!! Kisses from Brazil.”