Talented Kumon student, Justine wins ‘The Voice Kids’!
Talented 14-year-old Justine is a student of the Kumon Swansea, Morriston Study Centre who recently delighted her friends and family by being crowned the winner of ITV’s ‘The Voice Kids UK 2020’. After such an amazing achievement, understandably her parents feel incredibly proud, as does her Kumon Instructor, Joanne, who has been supporting and excitedly following Justine’s progress on television throughout the competition. Joanne, and all the staff and students at the Kumon study centre were thrilled for Justine.
Justine has had a strong passion for singing from a young age. Her impressive performances throughout the competition won the hearts of many viewers across the country, with her vocal talent and personality shining through at each stage. We caught up with Justine to hear all about her experience of applying, taking part, and being crowned the winner of ‘The Voice Kids UK’.
She told us,
“I was very lucky to have been the chosen one to win…to win the people’s hearts and for them to see me as their winner! I didn’t plan on joining ‘The Voice Kids UK’ at all - it was all very last minute, but my dad suddenly saw the application and that it was about to end soon, so we discussed it. We didn’t expect to have been so successful – we were mainly there for the experience. Previously, I’d often sang psalms in my church with the choir, and I performed at some parties, visited care homes and sang for the elderly. However, I had never done a big singing competition like The Voice Kids before!
In total, I gave five performances: the blind audition, battles, semi-finals, and then two songs for the final, which were one solo and one duet with my amazing coach, Pixie Lott.
It was a very nerve-wracking experience, but I knew I had to give it my all in everything regardless of the nerves, as it’s your one shot! I did try to remove the nerves slightly backstage, using breathing exercises and techniques to keep the negative things out of my mind.
The entire experience really did boost my confidence. I didn’t have much confidence to begin with. However, I really do believe in myself now and that is because of Pixie’s help too! I chose her as my coach because her comments were so positive in the blind auditions and I felt like she had the closest vocal type to mine, meaning she could understand how my voice works most. She is, in my opinion, the best coach! I was very lucky to have had Pixie Lott as my singing coach on The Voice Kids, and I have Joanne as my equally supportive Kumon coach!”
Alongside her singing, Justine has of course been finding time to continue with her daily Kumon study. Starting her Kumon journey aged nine, Justine has become an exemplary student of the Kumon Maths Programme; now working an impressive three years ahead of her school year level.
Justine’s Mum, Renea explains how the family came across Kumon. “We were looking for educational support for our children, with the desire to give Justine and Rafael (her younger brother) a head start in school. We discovered Kumon through a friend, whose son at the time had recently joined the programme. Studying Kumon has been extremely helpful for Justine and Rafael, because at British schools there’s a different method of teaching compared to the methods taught back in our home country, the Philippines.”
Justine has also been reflecting on her Kumon journey and the ways in which Kumon has assisted her at school. She told us, “I wanted to join Kumon so it could help me with my maths ability in school and across all my education. I loved the thought of doing advanced level work! Kumon has boosted my knowledge and given me a head start at school; now I’m in the top set of all my subjects at school, including maths. My teachers have been impressed with how much I already know for my age and it’s extremely helpful.”
Viewers of ‘The Voice Kids’ delighted in Justine’s talent and natural humility, and also saw a close bond between Justine and her younger brother, Rafael, who is likewise excelling at Kumon. Rafael joined Kumon three years ago, aged five, and in this time his confidence has grown, he has developed a strong work ethic, and he too, is working an impressive three years ahead of his school year level. Justine says: “Rafael started Kumon earlier than I did, in around Year 2 and since he’s younger, it can be harder to get him to do his work. But once he sits down and does it, he really concentrates and does his best in everything!”
So, does Justine feel that her Kumon studies have supported her with her singing success?
“Kumon study has developed my self-confidence and memorisation skills. For example, I can remember formulas and equations which helps me solve questions. Similarly, learning new vocal techniques, memorising techniques in the song, remembering when to stop, and how to hit the notes so that I don’t struggle…it does come back to Kumon. I think it unknowingly boosted my confidence!
Some people may think that it’s easy to sing, but there’s a lot more to it than just opening your mouth and a nice sound coming out! When I got on the show, I learned how to control my voice more, I learned new techniques at each stage of the competition, which is similar to Kumon work. You learn more with each stage!”
Congratulations, Justine! We hope that you continue to excel beyond your own expectations in both your Kumon studies and all future endeavours.