A Brecon singer has won the title of 'Global Winner' of the 'Talent is Timeless' competition, a global songwriting competition and initiative for artists and songwriters over the age of 50. Tanya Walker will now have the opportunity to record a song at Abbey Road Studios, made famous by The Beatles, with an official release through Jam Records.
It comes as the music industry has a reputation for older performers not getting opportunities. At 51, Tanya is thrilled to be recognised for her musical talents.
"I face the obvious challenge of being recognised by the music industry in my later years, which is the reason that Saskia Griffiths-Moore, a talented singer-songwriter in her own right - set up the Talent Is Timeless initiative - to give confidence to older musicians that they and their music deserve to be heard," Tanya said. "The music industry is very much dominated by younger artists and looking good and as a woman, even in my 20s, I felt lacking in confidence to push myself forward to be seen for fear of being judged as not enough in some way. But I do see that as me putting the barriers in my way and no-one else's fault. I think if you are determined enough, you can get your music heard and be someone that changes the status quo."
Now that she is older, Tanya focusses on performing for the sake of performing. "I am loving performing for the sake of performing, wanting to reach out and inspire people through my music rather than being held back by fear in the same way - but there is definitely a feeling of satisfaction about winning the competition and being recognised by professionals I respect and admire in the music industry."
Tanya Walker is the community choir leader of two well-known Brecon based choirs, Alive and Kickin' Community Choir and Theatr Brycheiniog's Lunchtime Uplift Choir. As well as that, Tanya is also the choir leader for Merthyr Aloud World Music Choir, and New Tredegar Choir 'The Whiterose Singers'. She's also started to lead the choir 'Abercapella' based in Abergavenny, with five choirs in total.
She entered the Talent is Timeless competition in March with a song titled 'Good Days, Bad Days'. This is the song she will be re-recording at Abbey Road Studios. It was a fierce competition, with over 3,000 entries from the UK, Canada and Europe. She was shortlisted to the final 25, and then selected unanimously as the global winner by music industry judges from across the globe. She performed on the 12th July at the Talent is Timeless showcase event in London, and discovered that she had won.
"I must admit initially I entered the song without thinking much about it but then as the competition progressed I started to get really attached to winning!" Tanya said. "I am very excited to be recording the winning track 'Good Days, Bad Days' at Abbey Road mid-September with subsequent record release with Jam Records."
Tanya admits that when she won, she was not only thrilled but shocked. "I think I'm still on a high now. Elaine one of my fabulous Merthyr Aloud World Music Choir members came with me for support and I don't think I'll ever forget her saying very loudly in her beautiful Valleys accent in the middle of a club in Camden, London 'You've done it love! You've done it!' Definitely a heartwarming memory!"
Not only has she been presented with this opportunity, but Tanya also got to perform for King Charles III and Queen Camilla on their royal visit to Brecon this week.
"The joint performance today for King Charles and Queen Camilla at Theatr Brycheiniog with Alive & Kickin' Community Choir and the Lunchtime Uplift Choir singing together was such a buzz for everyone! It felt lovely to support the staff at the theatre to create a momentous occasion for everyone involved and we are very thankful to Andy Collison, chair of Theatr Brycheiniog, for inviting us to be part of it!" Tanya said. "Members of the choir loved it when First Minister Mark Drakeford came up especially to tell us what a wonderful sound we had all created! A huge confidence boost for the choirs."
Now, Tanya is excited for the future. "I would love to tour my music with a great band and to have the luxury of performing to audiences from all walks of life. I'm excited about including my choirs in more performances and with my favourite festival being Greenman, performing some kind of large-scale band or choir musical work there would be incredible. I'm also interested in pitching my songs for publishing which I have had some success with in the past. Getting my music heard and performing it live is now my main aim. Focusing on the recording of the winning song at Abbey Road in September and then promoting it. Without a doubt, winning the global Talent Is Timeless competition has reignited in me the confidence and passion to share my music again, and I'm very grateful for that."