The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Norah Jones’ loss is studious schoolgirl’s gain

London, Dec. 10: Erin Rocha, the 16-year-old British schoolgirl who is a contender for the Christmas number one single, secured a unique recording deal with EMI last night.

With her parents insisting that she concentrated on her English language and literature studies, as well as psychology, the label’s Liberty division has agreed not to push her budding soul singing career even if she became an overnight star.

Erin, from Poole in Dorset, is to make just one album, promote it during half-term in February, and go on a European publicity tour in the summer holiday.

Then she will return to school to complete her studies.

All Liberty retains under her contract are the first rights on her next album, if she decides to pursue her singing in two years time.

Her father, Manuel, said: “She is dead keen on finishing her A-levels.”

“We liked the EMI approach. There is no insistence on her doing any gigs or tour. I know that’s where the money is.”

“But this way, she is able to keep her feet on the ground. I want her to be happy. She loves school, and she loves singing. Now she can eventually choose whatever she likes best,” he added.

The deal comes amid efforts by BMG, Warners and Universal to sign her after Erin recorded, by complete chance, Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong.

The song was originally intended as an album track for Norah Jones, the Grammy award winner.

Erin, the youngest of six children, was doing work experience at a Hampshire recording studio used by Flying Sparks, an independent label, when a session singer booked to make a demo of the song was taken ill.

A singer since she was aged six, with a powerful voice, she ended up making the track.

Ian Brown, boss of Flying Sparks, said: “When we heard Erin we knew that it was made for her.”

“I signed Erin up, and added a brass band track. I had been watching a video of Brassed Off, and knew that was the band we needed.”

“We’ve had an amazing amount of interest from labels. We could have gone for a £3 million accumulating deal, but we decided on a more modest offer from EMI that guaranteed a contract that meant Erin would not end up a pop casualty.”

Steve Davis, director of EMI Liberty, said: “Hopefully we will have huge global sales. Erin is a fresh and uncomplicated singer, not a wannabe pop idol. She had no wish for an extensive, long contract and the deal makes sense for all of us.”

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