Mary-Jess Leaverland made world headlines for being the British student who won the Chinese version of the X Factor. She was voted the winner by an audience of 70 million who watched the program, called ‘I Want To Sing To The Stars.’ The prize money was not the grand million pound record deal it is here in the UK, but a treasured trophy and the equivalent of £1,000. Unfortunately she was not able to accept the rest of the prize – to record a song written especially for her, because she on...Read more (446 words more)
Mary-Jess Leaverland made world headlines for being the British student who won the Chinese version of the X Factor. She was voted the winner by an audience of 70 million who watched the program, called ‘I Want To Sing To The Stars.’ The prize money was not the grand million pound record deal it is here in the UK, but a treasured trophy and the equivalent of £1,000. Unfortunately she was not able to accept the rest of the prize – to record a song written especially for her, because she only possessed a student visa. Her first chance to become a recording artist shattered at her feet.
She soared to victory singing Sarah Brightman’s ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ and Mariah Carey’s ‘When You Believe’, making them both her own; her voice sounding both pure and wise at the same time. It’s an extraordinary voice. Mary-Jess comes from a long line of singers: her grandmother a semi-professional classical singer and her mother a powerful pop, rock and country singer.
Singing was always Mary-Jess’ dream but feeling she needed to have an interesting alternative, she decided to study Chinese at the age of 12; her school offered it as an extracurricular GCSE.
Mary-Jess is 21, has a delicate fresh-faced complexion, wisdom beyond her years, looks gorgeous, speaks Chinese and is happy to demonstrate the different tones of Mandarin on demand, as she did when asked to sing live on BBC Breakfast TV, looking completely undaunted by the sudden storm of media attention. She had been studying Music and Chinese Studies at the University of Sheffield, a four-year course. For the second year, students go to China to study. She went to Nanjing. It was quite a culture shock.
After winning the competition Mary-Jess decided not to go back to her studies at the Chinese university but went back just to collect her belongings with her boyfriend, who is a world class rollerblader, and has been one out of only ten inline vert rollerbladers in the world to be invited to compete at the Asian X games.
They first met at Silverstone race track when he was doing a demo for Team Extreme and she was working at an after school job in a rock climbing centre. “They had a mobile climbing wall. I remember thinking I wasn’t going to go that day because of other commitments and Rich wasn’t going either, but somehow we both ended up there.” Once again she felt a higher force governing her destiny. She was used to a long distance relationship when she moved to China because she lived in Gloucester, then Sheffield and he lived in Glastonbury and trained in Birmingham. “Our past made it easier to get used to the separation in China because our relationship had always been long distance.” Feeling homesick or lovesick was not the reason she didn’t complete her course in China. “I never suspected the huge media storm that would happen after I won the competition. It was a whirlwind. I know people use that expression but I don’t think you really know what it is until you’ve experienced it.” She felt that force of nature sweeping her towards her dream. close
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|Real name||Mary-Jess Leaverland|
|Birthday||28 March, 1990|
|Debut||8 August, 2011 (active)|
|Main occupation||singer (active)|
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