X Factor star Luena Martinez hopes her ‘incredible experience’ appearing on the ITV talent show will inspire others to fulfil their dreams after vowing to return to face the judges again next year.
The singer, 17, is a student at SoundSkool, a non-profit organisation which has been changing young people's lives through music since 2008. She is among the first students to study for a Level 2 Artist Development and Business course as part of new partnership launched with The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) this year.
She performed an amazing version of Leona Lewis’s cover of the Snow Patrol’s Run on Saturday night. Despite initially winning a seat in The Six Chair Challenge she was replaced after mentor for the girls Simon Cowell decided on final act Olivia Garcia.
Saturday was the first time she had been seen on the TV show having got through the room auditions and boot camp, and her powerful vocals immediately impressed the X Factor judge, who said: "I look for someone with a heart, determination and talent."
Luena said: “It was hard to take getting so close, but an incredible experience and it was amazing to perform in front of 5,000 people. I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction.”
She received a lot of support after her appearance on the show. One comment on her Twitter page @LuenaOfficial described her has having a “magical voice” and another declared “it’s not a matter of if, but when she will become a superstar”.
Luena said: “I feel very happy that people were backing me up and feel really motivated, I haven’t gone silently, and want to go again next year and prove them [the judges] wrong. I never give up on something I really want!”
Luena, whose real name is Luena Martins-Aguiar, fell in love with singing after being called up on stage to sing with other children at a theatre show. She has received professional tuition since she was eight, and names Leona Lewis, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson among her music idols.
Simon Gordon, Founder and CEO of SoundSkool, said: “I am so proud of Luena. Her performance for me on The X factor was actually the best. She is a shining example of what at SoundSkool is all about - creativity, responsibility, excellence and determination. I am looking forward to her fulfilling her destiny and seeing it all happen.”
Alongside its partnership with SoundSkool, CONEL also offers courses in music technology, music production courses from Level 1 to Level 5 and performing arts courses at Level 3.
“When I’m at college I try to encourage everyone around me,” added Luena. “Hopefully, I’ve shown them you can be on X Factor, or do anything you want if you just put your mind to it, work hard and practice. I wanted to be a singer and I’ve stuck with that. Don’t put yourself down, just have be yourself. You can do it!”