Lymington singer Carly Varley hits the right notes to win Dorset Venus Award
A LYMINGTON singer is celebrating winning a coveted accolade and making the finals of a national contest that carries the top prize of a recording contract.
Solo acoustic guitar act Carley Varley triumphed in the Musical Talent category of the Dorset Venus Awards, which have been dubbed ‘The working women’s Oscars’.
Carley was up against three other women at the finals, held at the Hilton Bournemouth, including Lauren Bannon, a Dorset girl who earlier this year made the latter stages of ITV singing show The Voice.
The 23-year-old performed two songs – The Power of Love by Jennifer Rush and Titanium by Sia – at the ceremony and was crowned the winner after a vote of the assembled audience.
She was nominated for the Venus Awards after she was seen performing at this year’s Milford Music Festival by photographer Christian Lawson.
Carley began singing when she was a child and learnt to play guitar aged 14. She first busked on Lymington cobbles before the owner of the nearby Cellar Bar invited her in to perform to patrons. She became popular and, two years ago, decided to dedicate herself full-time to music, gigging around the south coast.
Carley, who went to Priestlands School and Arnewood Sixth Form, said: “At the moment I play cover songs at gigs, but I’m also starting to write my own stuff,” she said. “I’d love eventually to be part of a band, but I’m hoping the solo stuff goes well.”
She has also showcased her impressive vocal skills as part of the UK Open Mic competition – previous winners include Lymington musical sensation Birdy – and is now through to the grand final to be held at the O2 arena in London in the new year.
She will go head to head with 30 other competitors vying to win the top prize of £10,000 worth of PR backing, recording sessions and a formal contract.
“I’m really excited,” said Carley, who counts acoustic artists including Ed Sheeran and James Morrison, as well as hard rock acts like Paramour, among her inspirations.
“I hope to continue gigging in Lymington and Bournemouth, and I hope this story inspires people to follow their heart and do what they want to do,” Carley added.
“I remember being at school thinking I had no clue what I wanted to do, but music was always my passion. My friends and family have been a tremendous support and my fiancé Matthew Laverton is amazing with his constant encouragement.”