Vernon girl shows she’s got Variety

Like the song goes, Raquel Warchol has dreams.

The diminutive-sized girl with the serious pipes also knows how to weave a song that has captured her a lot of attention.

Since she could hold a note and a guitar, the now 19-year-old Vernon native has been the go-to artist when it comes to entertaining her hometown and the rest of the Okanagan.

And soon the rest of province will be attuned to her talents as Warchol has been selected as one of the top 10 finalists for the Variety’s Got Talent singing competition open to B.C. residents ages 13 to 29.

Her audition video, featuring Brandi Carlile’s song Dreams, earned her the position when it was selected by music industry judges, and now she has the possibility of winning the coveted top spot which could see her perform on the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon, to be broadcast around the province.

Warchol, who is currently in Nashville, will be heading to Vancouver on Thursday to join the “boot camp” with fellow finalists (including a 10th person who will be chosen by fans as the People’s Choice) to perform at the Variety’s Got Talent finals.

“This is the first time I have entered,” said Warchol, who isn’t new to talent shows having placed second in the inaugural Our Kids Have Talent competition here in Vernon back in 2009.

“I never thought to enter (Variety) but last year my really good friend Kailee Duggan made it to the top 10 of the People’s Choice and I really wanted to support her. When this year came up, I tried out and was told I was chosen as one of the nine finalists.”

Warchol has come a long way since she first sang in front of an audience at a church Christmas concert when she was five years old. At 12, she was named best new artist at the former Okanagan (Scorpion) Music Awards, and soon after turned studio heads and music industry types, which gave her the opportunity to visit L.A. and Nashville.

Since graduating from Vernon Secondary School two years ago, Warchol has focussed her attention on songwriting, and says her style has been influenced by a variety of music from rock to pop to jazz.

Warchol has spent the past two weeks in Music City writing with big names such as Jimmy Olander, lead guitarist with Diamond Rio, and Stephanie Bentley, who penned Faith Hill’s 1999 crossover single Breathe as well as Martina McBride’s 2002 Top 5 hit Concrete Angel.

“I’ve been writing every day and also have some songs from a previous trip I made here, with the focus to start recording them in the studio,” said Warchol, talking on the phone from Nashville. “We’ve been filling in some holes, writing some ballads and some more funky material.”

Warchol has also been working with Grammy winning producer and engineer Chad Carlson, who engineered and mixed half of Taylor Swift’s latest album, Red.

“If you listen to his records, they all sound great, so I am using his strengths,” said Warchol. “I have enough material (to start recording). We are focussing on finding a few songs that I am really proud of to pitch and hopefully score a record deal.”

In the meantime, Warchol is getting ready for her performance Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Variety’s Got Talent finals at the River Rock Show Theatre in Richmond and says she will return to Nashville after.

She and the other finalists will be performing for judges, including talent manager Bruce Allen, arts columnist Stuart Derdeyn, musical siblings Britt and Carly McKillip of One More Girl, actress/model Shannon Tweed and TV personality Steve Darling.

The winner will be announced at the end of the show and will appear on the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon that airs live on Global BC Feb. 16 and 17.



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