I was once at a birthday party in Swansea when one very proud grandfather started telling us about grandchildren. His grandson was a very fine musician and his granddaughter, well, she was a real little actress. This came as no surprise to the little group listening to him talk. As grandparents we could all identify with his opinion on a loved one. This was different. It was obvious that his claims would have much greater merit than if any of us had said the same thing because his daughter, the mother of the little actress, was Oscar winner Catherine Zeta Jones and the father was Oscar winner Michael Douglas.
Its always difficult to be the offspring of someone famous if they try to enter the same industry that made their family famous. I always cite the case of Jeremy Charles. Jeremy was an outstanding all round sportsman. He was bound to become a professional footballer but the fact that everyone knew his dad was Mel Charles and his uncle was John Charles certainly added pressure that wouldn’t have been there if he had been born Jeremy Smith. Having said that, Jeremy was more than capable of living up to the Charles family name and he carved out his own very successful career.
This week has seen the launch of a new of a new ‘Zeta’ star. I don’t mean Carys Zeta Douglas, the daughter of Catherine and Michael. Carys has already started treading in her parents footsteps having been featured in many magazines. She looks set to find her own way in the world either as a model, singer or actress…or all three.
No, I’m talking about Ava Zeta Jones.
Ava Zeta Jones recording at Sonic One Studios, Llangennech
Ava is no stranger to the world of showbusiness. Even though the family is spread out around the world the Zeta Jones’s are a close family. She has seen up close some of the world’s biggest movie stars and rather than being overawed by the situation she calls them uncle and auntie.
I’m not sure exactly what I would do if I saw a couple of Oscar awards. I’d probably be too stunned to even touch them. Not little Ava, she picked them up like a couple of old friends. She even made an acceptance speech thanking family and friends!
So, its no surprise that Ava should want to be a performer but there are a couple of things that make the story even more interesting. First the project itself. Ava is fronting the latest CD by Swansea based singer and songwriter J Edna Mae.
Jill is passionate about music and education. The first time Ava Zeta Jones sang for Jill was on a collection of songs that grew out of Jill’s Doctoral research on music and emotion. The aim of the CD was to nurture well-being, self-esteem and confidence in children. Now that might sound a bit ‘worthy’ but when I tell you the title of the album was ‘Bounce’ you get a better idea that whilst tackling important issues the songs were about having fun with a reggae beat.
The new Project which was launched yesterday is trying to raise awareness of the problems of micro plastics in our oceans, ‘Glitter is Litter’. Jill says it was the sudden realisation that some of the ‘glitter’ she had given to her children to play with when they were young was actually adding to the problem facing our oceans. And it’s not just kids toys where glitter leads to litter, it’s in cosmetics and body paints too. Jill called upon her own two boys Josh and Luke and having had so much fun with Ava on ‘Bounce’ it soon became obvious that she should feature on the new recording too.
And so, to the second interesting thing about Ava. She is 5 years old! In fact, when she recorded ‘Glitter is Litter’ she was only 4. From experience I know that the most chatty and outgoing child can completely lose their tongue when faced with a big studio, a microphone and an audience of adults all waiting for the perfect vocal. Not Ava. When she went into the studio at Sonic One in Llanelli she took to it like a duck to water. Not only that, she loved it. Her dad Lyndon told me its been amazing to see her confidence grow as she has spent more time in the studio.
That for me is one of the great benefits of starting to perform at a young age. For many years people told me that a performing arts education was a waste of time, kids should study maths and science. I agree that maths and science are important but learning how to hold yourself in public and the experience of standing up in front of audience will be a fantastic attribute for the rest of your life whether you are on stage or in front of your work colleagues in an office.
So, to the launch of ‘Glitter is Litter’. It’s all very well having a terrific performer and a wonderful project how you need a way to reach an audience. Yesterday was the perfect launch day as it was World Children’s Day. The song was also scheduled to feature in the USA on a national Children’s radio station Sirius XM Kids.
And then there was Catherine…
Ava with Auntie Catherine
As well as being a Hollywood star Auntie Catherine is what they call these days, ‘an influencer’. Through the power of social media Catherine Zeta Jones can reach millions of people with a new picture, video or a story she wants to bring to the attention of her public. That’s what she did yesterday. At 1pm Catherine shared a video of Ava singing ‘Secrets of a Rainbow’ to over 3.5 million followers.
These are exciting times for Ava Zeta Jones. Not only is she featuring in a world wide release she also gets to feature on the cover as a cartoon version of herself dressed as a mermaid. Who said that dreams don’t come true, definitely not Ava’s Auntie Catherine.