Laura Mekhail is the first Arab musician to be awarded the Bocelli-Jameel Scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London. The Egyptian soprano, the second recipient of the scholarship that is awarded to talented musicians, will begin honing her skills at the college, one of the world’s leading conservatories, in September 2021. While attending the Royal College of Music, an institution that has been ranked the top institution for performing arts in the UK for six consecutive years (QS World University Rankings), Mekhail will be taking the two-year Master of Performance (MPerf) course. And thanks to the scholarship, the 28-year-old songbird and teacher won’t be paying for any of her tuition.
Mekhail, who lists a range of influences on her singing, including Umm Kulthum, Fairuz, Sabah, Abdel Halim Hafez, Bach and Rossini, follows in the steps of the first recipient, French soprano Clara Barbier Serrano. During the nail-biting four-month application process, she had to go through interviews with instructors from the college and record her own audition.
“Although I have been enjoying my career as a teacher, nothing makes me feel more alive than standing on stage and performing my classical repertoire,” Mikhael, who has performed at the Cairo Opera House, said in a statement. “This is why I’m so passionate about studying at the Royal College of Music, which will offer me the opportunities to strengthen my qualities as a singer, explore my vocal capabilities and develop my performing skills to reach a professional level. Without the support of this scholarship, achieving my dream would not be possible.”
About Laura Mekhael
Laura Mekhael discovered her passion for singing as part of her local parish church choir in Minya, south of Cairo. While she went on to sing at the Cairo Opera House, the region’s wishy-washy music scene back then led her to study music performance at West Virginia Wesleyan College in the US, where she also gave vocal lessons to children. During her time there, Mekhael was elected a member of the acapella choir and worked closely with Dr Dan Hughes, the Director of Choral Activities. And she has credited Hughes for heavily influencing her vocal development.
Post-graduation, Mekhael taught singing for a year at Chesterbrook Academy. Then after living in the US for six years in total, she decided to return to Cairo in 2014. She continued to teach singing for six years, including a stint at Vocal Xtreem, a music school in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis. Encouraged by her professors, the soprano decided to further her studies so she can pursue a career as a professional soloist.
About The Bocelli-Jameel Scholarship
The Bocelli-Jameel Scholarship was established by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, world-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli’s brainchild, and Community Jameel, an international organisation supporting science and technology to tackle global challenges.
The scholarship was launched in 2019 to support international students at the Royal College of Music. The talented musicians are chosen on merit assessed at the audition level and their need for support to overcome barriers and access the world-class training available at the college, one of world’s greatest conservatories.