Chloe

If 16-year old singer Chloë Agnew ever writes a book she says that she’ll call it ‘From Carnegie Hall to Lunch Duty’. ‘That’s the way that my life turns anyway,’ she laughs. ‘I played Carnegie Hall in New York one week with ‘Celtic Woman’and the following week I was back at school on lunch duty, cleaning off tables and mopping the floor. But that’s life. I’m so fortunate to have this wonderful opportunity and I love every minute of it.’

Chloë may be young but she is already a musical veteran. Both of her parents, Adele (‘Twink’) King and David Agnew are successful performers and Chloë made her stage debut at 4 weeks old and sang on her mother’s TV show at the age of 6. In 1998, she won the Grand Prix at the First International Children’s Song Competition in Cairo, Egypt, representing Ireland with a song called “The Friendship Tree.” Her big break came at the age of 11 when she approached Musical Director David Downes with the idea of recording a single for charity.

‘It was shortly after September 11th and I saw an ad on TV for the children of Afghanistan and for the children in America who had lost their families,’ she remembers. ‘It really affected me and I remember thinking about it for weeks, just being moved and changed by it. I sat down with a friend to decide what we could do to help; you know do we have a sale or a lemonade stand? I knew that singing was the strongest thing I could do so I asked David if I could record a single with the profits going to charity. He took me into his studio and we recorded ‘This Holy Christmas Night’, then Celtic Collections released it and I went on Ireland’s biggest TV show and we raised over 20,000 pounds.’

Not one to rest on her achievements, Chloë was signed to Celtic Collections and recorded her first album at 12 and her second at 14 and, in addition to singing, studies piano, guitar and recorder. Most recently, she’s been touring as a soloist in ‘Celtic Woman’

‘The show has opened up a huge new door for me,’ she says. ‘I’ve gotten to do things I just never dreamed I could do; traveling the States and meeting so many people. What has been the best though is working with the other girls. They’re the most beautiful talented woman I’ve ever met and it’s been a great experience.’

When you’re meant to be in school, life on the road does have some disadvantages. Chloë has a personal tutor when she tours to ensure that she keeps up with her studies and she credits her friends and teachers for the success of the process. ‘I said to one teacher ‘thank you very much for being supportive of my having to make guest appearances at school’,’ she recounts. ‘And she said ‘well, it’s not every day that one of our students spends 32 weeks at number one in the world music charts.’ She was just very proud and knowing that you have that kind of support behind you makes so much of a difference.’

Chloë’s system seems to be working as she’s earned honors at school and she would love to get a degree in child psychology. Although even she admits that her music career might be more pressing for a while. ‘The music has taken off so much I’ll have to see where I go from here on in,’ she says. ‘My mom is such a role model to me, she’s an inspiration. She toured when she was the same age as me and she got her education in with honors so I’ve always said that if she could do it, I could do it. I’m really stubborn, I’d never let anything get the better of me.’

When she isn’t performing, Chloë says that she’s a typical teenage ‘bouncing along to anything that’s playing on the radio,’ and admits ‘I’m a huge fan of Green Day. So many people say ‘here are you with this angelic voice singing ‘Ave Maria’ and I’m backstage rocking to Green Day but that’s the teenage side of me. There is a huge different side to me that people haven’t seen yet. I think I want to explore that more before I decide that’s what I’d want to do. Right now the classical songs suit me for who I am right now. I don’t want to rush ahead into things that will burn me out in three years time; I want to make the most of what I have now and then see what happens as my voice changes and progresses.’

Her angelic singing voice has earned Chloë a very active fan-base, something else that she’s grateful for. ‘The fans have been fantastic,’ she says. ‘Particularly in America, they’re so open to something new. It’s great to see that you can develop this new show and people will grasp onto it and give it a chance. I also love meeting people. When you get up on stage and know that at least one person who likes the show is there, you have someone to play to. ‘

Not surprisingly, many of Chloë’s fans are children. ‘I got one letter from a girl who had a very rough childhood and hadn’t spoken in four years. She wrote that she heard my album and had recently joined the choir. Her mom told me that I’d changed her life. That’s when the hard work and blood, sweat and tears don’t matter. When you know that you’ve done that for one person’s life, it brings you to tears.’

Chloe Agnew on Twitter.