LONDON, March 10, 2009 -- Saying no to Simon Cowell isn't something many talent-show contestants would do. And they would definitely not be rewarded with a $3.2 million record deal and a record-selling album. But that is exactly what happened to the former "Britain's Got Talent" finalist Faryl Smith, whose first album, "Faryl," was released Monday in Britain.
After finishing fourth on the British talent show, Cowell, one of the judges, said Faryl, 13, was by far the most talented youngster he had ever heard -- even more talented than her idol, Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins. "When she [Faryl Smith] opens her mouth her voice is just incredible," he said of the mezzo soprano, who opted not to sign with his label.
Smith's album became No. 1 on the Amazon prerelease chart last week, beating Pet Shop Boys, Kelly Clarkson and Ronan Keating. "Faryl" was also the most preordered album by retailers -- more than 80,000 copies -- of all Universal Record artists, including U2.
Her management believes that if record sales are anything like the prerelease orders, the mezzo soprano will dominate the charts very soon.
Exited about her album release, Faryl said, "Every singer dreams of recording their own album, but to have this chance at my age was amazing."
But recording the album was quite a challenge for the young classical vocalist. "I had to fit it around my schoolwork and so ended up recording right through my Christmas holidays, but I loved every minute of it."
Following her appearance on the British talent show, Faryl was catapulted into the limelight in May 2008. By the end of the year, she had been awarded the most valuable contract ever presented to an artist her age.
She performed in December with Jenkins, who said the very first time they met that she thought that Faryl would be a star.
"When I saw her on 'Britain's Got Talent' this year, I knew she had become even better," Jenkins said. "She's one in a million, a great girl with an incredible voice."
Dickon Stainer, head of Universal Classics and Jazz, where Faryl signed her mega-contract, believes the latest talent on his label is a "once-in-a-generation talent and is set to be massive."