It’s not often we make a point of highlighting teenage talent the likes of Dublin-based Hazel Jade Rogers, now a savvy fifteen-year-old, whose first non-school performance was a mere two years ago, when she sang in the opera Carmen in a major Irish concert hall. Rogers is clearly a charmed belter whose pipes and confidence belie her age, just as comfortable singing anything from opera to rock, and from the looks of her photographs and her new video, Back It Up, she’s quite the costume connoisseur with a penchant for the dark side as well.

What year did you start performing out live?
1997 when I was 3, lol! I attended a theatre school every Saturday, and they were always putting on performances. As I got older, the stages became bigger. I was even in Carmen at the National Concert Hall in Dublin when I was about 9… I suppose my first performance outside of theatre and school productions as a singer, would have been in 2009 when I was 13, and was a finalist in a talent competition. Recently, I have twice been on local radio performing live.

How did you start writing songs?
My family had a small recording studio, and my mum wrote songs, so it was all very normal for me to write and record my own songs, because it seemed that’s what everyone was doing! We had instruments and recording equipment all over the house (still do), so I got to play with them from an early age. I really started to compose in about 2008/9, as I had my first heartbreak, and that inspired me. I play piano and guitar and drums, and sometimes I write a song to get away from thinking about school work and exams!

What is your favorite venue/city to play?
London – I love London. I’d love to play in New York and Las Vegas as well…(both of which I’ve visited, but not sang in!) Though I really don’t mind, I’d play anywhere in the world.

What’s your funniest audition story?
I had an audition for a TV advert. There were 100′s and 100′s of kids attending. Guess what it was for? A shot of an arm – yes…. just your arm… lol! I got two call backs, so my arm must be pretty o.k. at acting…

What was the strangest/most interesting thing to happen to you so far as a performer?
I attended Redroofs Theatre school in London for a year when I was 11, and got called up for an audition for The Sound of Music in London’s West End. I was very happy to make it through to the last round, but in the end, I think my voice was too strong for the part, and even though I had mastered an English accent, the producers were afraid my Irish accent might come out under pressure (It would be ‘spot’ the odd child out, ha ha!).

If you could meet any musical hero living or dead, who would it be and what would you say to this person?
Kurt Cobain – why? You were so talented… too young to die.

What are you currently working on?
Apart from my exams, I have a two new songs. One has just been sent over to the US to produce the full backing track. I’m also going to appear on online TV on the 25th April, where I’ll be performing live.–MVW

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