Clad in a pink floral gown and with a headpiece firmly in place, 10-year-old Souparnika Nair got onto the Britain's Got Talent stage. "This is probably the biggest thing I've done in my entire life," she said, even as nervousness coursed through her heart before the performance in front of judges for the first time. She picked up the mic, introduced herself and started singing Judy Garland's The Trolley Song. As her singing picked up pace, the main judge – Simon Cowell - asked her to stop. Little did she know then that her whole life was about to change.
Sou, as she's like to be called, would go on to wow the judges with her rendition of Never Enough from The Greatest Showman when she was asked to switch songs. She was greeted with a standing ovation from the entire audience!
"It was a dream-come-true moment! I've been wanting to go to Britain's Got Talent for a really long time and to be in the semi-final stage is really great. It's a great opportunity," said Souparnika speaking to The New Indian Express over a zoom call.
Her parents – Binu Nair and Renjitha – had migrated to the UK from Kerala in 2014, when she was hardly five years old. But Sou's musical journey started way before that. Right from the age of two or three when she started humming songs, her parents knew that she had an innate talent in music.
The last three years have seen her begin serious training too. "I sang a solo in a Christmas play. I attended music festivals when I was eight-nine years old and won a few of them too. It took off from there," she said gleefully, and added, "One of my favourite songs, when I was very young, was Let it go from the movie Frozen."
In her semi-final performance at Britain's Got Talent, she once again floored the judges with her rendition of Zendaya's Neverland. Coronavirus pandemic meant the studio had no audience. With hundreds of people behind the screen, she sung her song and was appreciated worldwide for her breathtaking performance.
Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor was among the early celebrities to take note. He tweeted about her performance and asked people to vote for her. Music maestro AR Rahman too took to social media and shared a clip of her singing with the caption, "Nice to wake up to this."
Malayalam superstar Mohanlal sent her a voice message telling her how she made India and especially Kerala proud.
"Singer KS Chitra had also called her on zoom some time before the semi-finals and wished her all the best and given her blessings," said her father Binu Nair, who is a doctor working in the oncology department at the Cambridge University Hospital.
Talking about her musical journey, he said, "Sou has been performing at many music festivals in the east of England for the past one-and-half-years and just before the BGT (Britain's Got Talent) auditions, Souparnika performed in the Michael McIntyre show on BBC One in front of a huge audience at the London Palladium." In the Unexpected star segment of the show, Sou received thunderous applause when she sang I dreamed a dream song. She had become the youngest person ever to feature on the show.
With appreciation pouring in, she says she's extremely happy to have such support from across the world. "It was awesome. I was very happy to hear of such a great politician and a legendary musician sharing my music. My grandparents from Kerala called me when I came back from the show and told me how happy and proud they were."
Ask her about her dream and she immediately says that she wants to become a professional singer and travel around the world. She follows Christina Aguilera and Adele, and yesteryear singers like Doris Day, Frank Sinatra and Patsy Cline. But is Indian music an abiding passion too? Not really she says, but adds that she loves Jiya Re from Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Jiya Jale from Dil Se.
Apart from singing, Sou says she has a great interest in ballet. "I have done my grade two and grade three exams in ballet. I play the piano and I love reading as well. I have a mini library at my house," she adds.
What will she do if she doesn't take up music as a career? "I want to do archaeology then. Collecting crystals, reading history books are also among my interests," she says.