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Angels flying high
NOT often will you see chart-topping hits by Coldplay and Prince rub shoulders with traditional works by Mozart, Elgar and Handel, but classical crossover girl group All Angels have done just that on their latest album, Into Paradise, which is released this week.
According to All Angels member Melanie Nakhla, who attended Wycombe Abbey, the eclectic choice reflects the varied musical tastes of the platinum-selling quartet.
"I do like a bit of everything," explains 18-year-old Melanie, who was born into a family of five musically-gifted children from Shrewsbury. "Actually, most of my favourites are classical, but I like a bit of contemporary too, including rock and jazz. We didn't want people thinking we were just classical, and at the same time we wanted to try and introduce people to the genre. So there's a real mix of everything."
For fans of the contemporary, the group's second album includes a reworked cover of Coldplay's The Scientist, as well as Prince's Nothing Compares 2U. Alongside this, the classical choice includes the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Canzonetta Sull'Aria, which was popularised by the 1994 film, The Shawshank Redemption.
"Hopefully people can see a progression and a maturity in our voices compared to the last album," says Melanie, referring to the self-titled debut album released last year, which reached the top ten in the UK charts and was nominated for the Classical Brit Album of the Year award.
The release of Into Paradise also coincides with the selection of 26-year-old Alexandra Lawrie as the winner of the Angel Idol competition, which was run with Classic FM to find a fifth Angel. Alexandra will now have the opportunity to record a track and perform with the girls at a concert in London on Wednesday, November 28.
"We all know that this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity."Melanie Nakhla
When Melanie starts looking back over the last year-and-a-half since the group was founded, which also includes fellow members Daisy Chute, 18, Charlotte Richie, 18, and Laura Wright, 17, she says it's hard to believe the things they have achieved.
Aside from a best-selling album, the girls have met Sir Paul McCartney, performed for the Queen, chatted with Gordon Brown, had a cameo appearance in Emmerdale and count numerous celebrities including Johnny Depp and Daniel Radcliffe among their fans. And with the exception of Laura, who is still at school, they passed their A Level exams with flying colours.
"We've achieved so much already - and all before we've even gone off to university," says Melanie proudly. "It's also incredible to think we've sung at the Royal Albert Hall three times in not even two years. We know how lucky we've been."
And for Melanie, who now lives in London, her high flying achievements, literally, do not stop there. While at Wycombe Abbey, Melanie won a scholarship for flying tuition and now frequently returns to Booker Airport to secure her pilot's licence. She even muses that she could one day pilot the girls on their round-the-world tour.
Melanie also harbours ambitions to study modern languages at university, but for now her priority is continuing the well-deserved success of All Angels.
"We can go to university whenever, but right now I'm with All Angels. We all know that this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And although it's our job, it's also something we really love."
All Angels: Into Paradise is released Monday, November 26