A teenager from Watford has won an exclusive music scholarship.

Kayla Grace, 18, of Watford, has been named as the winner of the Academy of Contemporary Music’s (ACM) Freddie Mercury Scholarship in partnership with Queen legends Roger Taylor and Brian May. Recognising talent, dedication and passion for music, the scholarship was launched in 2016 to honour what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 70th birthday and celebrate rising musical talent in the late singer’s name.

This year the academy was inundated with standout submissions for the scholarship and, after its world-class tutors whittled down entries to three finalists, ACM patron Roger Taylor and Brian May selected Kayla as the winner. Kayla’s entire Creative Artist Pathway Music Industry Practice degree will be fully-funded.

Kayla submitted a video detailing her reasons for applying plus a recorded performance of a self-penned track and admitted she was astonished to have been picked.

Harrow Times:

Kayla said: “Winning the Freddie Mercury Scholarship is a massive honour and shock. Being chosen out of many applicants by such talented people is amazing and still hasn’t sunk in yet. I genuinely feel so lucky and validated and it has given me so much more confidence in my songwriting abilities.

“Being chosen will open many doors for me as an aspiring musician, allowing me to meet people from within the industry and to take full advantage of the amazing facilities and connections offered by ACM.”

Kayla grew up in a passionately musical family. Her father is a guitarist who introduced her to a variety of different music genres from a young age, particularly when driving together in the car. Kayla, who says she has been singing “since as early as she can remember”, began songwriting at the age of 10 and first picked up a guitar at 16.

Kayla added: “I applied for this scholarship with no expectation of winning, simply to at least know that I tried. It has taught me that every opportunity in the music world is worth trying for, and from now on that is what I will live by.”

Queen guitarist Brian May, who helped choose the winner of the scholarship, said: “Congratulations to Kayla. We all feel her exceptional talent will blossom under the extra care of the Academy of Contemporary Music. ACM and the Freddie Mercury Scholarship are proud to foster developing artists like Kayla. Rock on!”

Kainne Clements, ACM’s Executive Chairman, added: “There were so many great contenders this year. My congratulations go to Kayla and I very much look forward to seeing her artistry go from strength to strength under the guidance of the great mentorship programme at ACM and the tuition from some of the UK’s finest music education practitioners.”

For more information visit acm.ac.uk