After having the success of winning this year’s Got What It Takes on CBBC, Rio-Leanna has recently opened the main stage on BBC’s Big Weekend in Swansea alongside the likes of Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes. Following her win, Rio had the chance to film with pop trio New Hope Club and will be attending the 2018 CBBC Summer Social. Talking to us recently, we find out from Rio about her time on the show, working with New Hope Club and her YouTube videos.

At what age did you realise you wanted to be a singer?

I started singing at eight years old and just knew that singing was all I wanted to do when I grew up.

Who did you listen to when you were younger and who do you listen to now?

When I was younger I was obsessed with Justin Bieber haha and now I listen to everything from the 60s up to now, but I love Panic! At The Disco.

What did you find best about appearing on Got What It Takes?

I loved being on the show because I made some new great friends and I got to work with David Tench.

How was it having your sister, Sherina, alongside you on the show?

Having Sherina with me was amazing, she was so much fun and was always there to give me advice and give me support.

What was the funniest task she had to do?

The funniest task Sherina did was the portrait challenge, she was so bad at painting, it didn’t look anything like me and all she did was laugh and make everyone else laugh.

Did you watch Strictly Come Dancing before being taught by AJ Pritchard and Chloe Hewitt and how did you find the challenge?

I didn’t know who AJ and Chloe were before I met them because I didn’t watch Strictly Come Dancing but AJ is so beautiful, haha, and I found the dancing challenge so hard. I’m just not good at dancing, I can dance at little things like family parties but choreography is really hard and my body doesn’t do what my brain tells it to.

How long were you filming the series for and how long after was the final filmed?

We filmed the series for three weeks and then the final was about six months later. We didn’t know who was in the final until the day we began filming the final episode.

How was your experience opening the main stage at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend?

Opening the main stage at Radio 1’s Big Weekend was crazy, I met lots of celebrities and got some great advice of them. I was frightened, scared and excited all at the same time before I sang. Walking on to the stage and seeing the crowd and hearing them cheer for me was just amazing, I felt like a pop star! I was looking out at over 20,000 people and I couldn’t see the end of the crowd, it was that big. The best experience of my life.

Did you stay to watch the rest of the festival?

My performance was on the Sunday, so I got to watch everyone on Saturday, and on Sunday I stayed all day after I sang and left just before Taylor Swift because I was so tired.

📷 : CBBC Got What It Takes

How was it recording with New Hope Club?

New Hope Club are so nice, they made me feel really welcome and were really supportive. I had a lot of fun filming and when we sang together it sounded great straight away, so I knew it was going to be a good day.

Had you seen them live previously?

I never saw them live before I met them but I got a nice surprise when I heard them because they are all really good singers.

How are you preparing for CBBC Summer Social?

I’m really excited for the CBBC Summer Social and I’m just practicing my singing for the festival.

Do you know what you’ll be doing there?

At the moment, I think I will be singing on the stage with the rest of the Got What It Takes contestants and then also doing a meet and greet so we can meet all the lovely fans of the show. This is my first CBBC Social so I can’t wait to be a part of it.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing on the line-up?

Max & Harvey, Bars and Melody, Johnny Orlando and Kenzie Ziegler are the people I’m most excited to see, but everyone is amazing.

Do you have other shows planned for the next few months?

I have a few things planned for the next few months, small things in Hull, a bit of recording in London and maybe a big festival but I’m just waiting for confirmation on that. I like to keep busy with my singing but it’s nice to take a break before something big like the Summer Social.

What’s the response been like to your YouTube videos?

I’ve had some great response on social media, lots of lovely comments and great support from people who I have never even met before which is so nice.

What are your plans for the channel?

I’ll still post videos and do some vlogs on social media because I want people to see my journey and share it with me.

Are there plans to release your own music?

I have things coming up and I’m working on original songs with an amazing songwriter, so who knows what will happen next but the future looks great and I’ll just keep singing.

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