A GREAT grandmother from Dublin captured the nation’s hearts on Saturday night on the first episode of Ireland’s Got Talent.
Evelyn Williams (81), who lives in Tallaght, wowed the judges and left many audience members in tears with her incredible rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s Send In The Clowns on the TV3 show.
Evelyn’s performance earned her a golden buzzer from judge Michelle Visage, which puts her straight through to the semi-finals in March.
Evelyn told Dublin Gazette that she has been singing all her life.
“My dad doted on me and I think I was singing since before I came out of the womb even,” she said.
“All my life I sang and Daddy brought me everywhere to sing.”
Evelyn said that the only singing training she ever received was from the nuns in her primary school in Drimnagh.
“They told me about making sure you mean every word you say,” she said.
“Like, I was there since I was five years of age in school, so all through my life you heard that with the nuns teaching you music and singing.
“A certain day of the week would be for that and that was my favourite day anyway but that’s the only training I got.”
Evelyne also had a few other musical influences throughout her life.
“My idol was Shirley Bassey,” she said.
“Oh, I loved her. And I loved all the crooners like Bing (Crosby) and Dean Martin and all them oldies and Ella Fitzgerald, I did some jazz as well.”
Her stirring rendition of the Sondheim classic has attracted attention from all over the world, with many people contacting Evelyn to tell her that her performance reduced them to tears.
“I’ll have to go and get a load of paper hankies to hand out anywhere I sing if they’re going to start that game because I have to tell you, everybody that I spoke to says ‘you had me crying’. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad,” she joked.
Evelyn said she still can’t believe the reaction she has received and thought a bomb was going off when the golden buzzer rang.
“I never seen anything like the reaction with the four judges standing up, the other one banging the buzzer that I thought was a bomb and the whole place, the whole big hall that had a big balcony full of people, all of them stood up.”
With the showing only airing on Saturday, Evelyn has already become something of a local celebrity around Tallaght.
“We went to the Square on Saturday. I was with my family and we were going into that place that sells the lovely chicken, Nandos, and they were all watching it and they all ran around hugging me and kissing me, all the young ones and young fellas that work there.”
In spite of her new found fame, Evelyn is adamant that she won’t let it go to her head, vowing: “What you see is what you get and nothing like that would change me in any way, ever.”
She was also quick to pay tribute to the other acts that were there on the day.
“There was lots of acts. Lovely acts, lovely young people full of promise and it was a lovely time to be with them all,” she said.
Evelyne sadly lost her father when she was just 16-years-old and lost her husband seven years ago and she is in no doubt that they are the ones who are looking out for her now as she embarks on this incredible journey.
“I had the best husband in Ireland,” she said.
“He’s seven years gone. I miss him terribly too.
“I’m working it out that him and my dad are up in heaven sorting all this lot out for me.”