By Melissa Grant
Jael Wena was born to perform – and will soon be singing for a worldwide television audience in the millions.
The 12-year-old Melbourne schoolgirl is about to represent Australia at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, a renowned event with competitors from 20 countries.
Jael, who wrote her first song at age four, screamed with excitement when she learned she’d been chosen to perform in the competition in Belarus.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
“Me and my family were screaming because we were so excited.
“We watched it on TV last year. We were all talking like ‘Jael could do that it would be amazing’ but we didn’t think it would be next (this) year!”
Jael will perform a song called Champion, a tune she describes as positive and encouraging.
The oldest of four children, Jael grew up around music and was singing and writing her own songs at four years of age.
By age nine, she was recording songs in the studio owned by her father, a talented musician who emigrated from the Congo nearly two decades ago.
“My dad plays piano – he’s been teaching me a bit,” the Hazel Glen College student said.
“He also has his own studio – he records a lot of songs, people come to his studio and they would have a song written and he would produce the song.”
Jael – who has been described as having an ‘extraordinary voice’ – says Tori Kelly and Guy Sebastian are her favourite artists but loves performing a wide variety of genres.
She is a master school student at the David Jaanz School of Singing in South Melbourne and is taught by the celebrity singing coach himself.
Before being selected to perform at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2018 (JESC), Jael won the top award at the Fast Track Talent Showcase for three years running.
Junior Eurovision Contest to be broadcast on ABC ME
Jael will travel to Belarus with her parents, while her brother and sisters will stay in Australia and watch the competition on television.
ABC ME broadcasting the spectacular event on November 26.
Acting Head of ABC Children’s Television Libbie Doherty expects a standout performance from Jael.
“Jael personifies everything we were looking for in this year’s Australian representative. She has an extraordinary voice, lashings of charisma, and an impressive stage presence,” she said.
“We believe Jael will take the competition by storm and whatever happens make Australia proud.”
The first JESC took place in Copenhagen in 15 years ago.
This year, 20 countries are sending their most talented performers, aged between 9 and 14, to compete for the coveted title.
Australia’s Isabella Clarke placed third last year with her song Speak Up.
ABC ME will broadcast the Junior Eurovision Song Contest (including Jael’s highly anticipated performance) on Monday November 26 at 6pm.