• Courtney's performance in the 2018 season of America’s Got Talent earned her a Golden Buzzer and a spot in the finals.
• She gained recognition through competitions and performances in England before her AGT audition.
• She pursued music and theatre training at several schools, and competed in the Voice Kids UK 2017.
• After AGT, she signed with Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Music and Arista Record, and released an album of covers and original music.
• She has performed in various venues and festivals, and is currently working on more original music.
Rise to Fame
When in 2018, NBC announced auditions for the 13th season of “America’s Got Talent”, widely referred to as “AGT”, the stars started turning for Courtney Hadwin. One of the contestants who sent in their application and showed up for the auditions was a 13-year-old girl, who had her eyes set on the coveted grand prize of $1 Million and an opportunity to headline a show at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
None of the judges or members of the live audience anticipated the performance they were about to witness as Courtney nervously answered Spice Girl Mel B’s questions. The soft and mellow voice immediately turned into a strong and sultry mezzo-soprano, that had the audience on its feet as soon as Courtney belted out a few notes of “Hard to Handle” by The Black Crowes. Her passion for both music and performing was written all over her face, as she sang and danced while moving from one side of the stage to the other, to keep her audience engaged. By the time Courtney sang the last notes and finished her performance, she had all judges joining the audience in giving her a standing ovation, and her father applauding proudly as he joined the crowd in celebrating his daughter’s feat.
The stars that were turning throughout Courtney’s performance were close to aligning when Simon Cowell asked Howie Mandel what he thought of the incredible performance. An elated Howie compared Courtney’s performance to the moment Janis Joplin was discovered, lamenting that since he’s not a music producer, he couldn’t offer Courtney a record deal. The only thing he could do was send her to the live shows, and secure a position for her in the finals by making her his choice for the Golden Buzzer. Courtney’s stars aligned when Howie pressed the Golden Buzzer, pushing her forward in her musical journey, by cementing her place in the music industry as a musical prodigy.
Courtney’s performance at her audition for “AGT” created a buzz online just as it had among the audience. Within five months of its posting on “AGT”’s YouTube channel, her audition video had over 50 million views., and has since continued to collect views in the millions – it currently has almost 60 million views, and continues attracting people who know Courtney, and people who are discovering the wonder that is her voice for the first time. After watching Courtney’s electrifying performance, fans old and new often wonder, “What is Courtney Hadwin doing now? What happened to her?
Early Performances and Awards
Courtney was born and lives in Hesleden, England, with her mother, father, younger sister and brother Melissa and Paul. Besides her regular education at Hesleden Primary School and The Academy at Shotton Hall, Peterlee, Courtney has pursued music and theatre training at the Kate Sirs School of Music, Shotton Hall Theatre School, Peanuts Master Classes, and Julie Miles’ Vocal Ovation.
Courtney has pursued her passion for music and performing since she was a child. She entered her first talent competition in 2015 at just 10 years old, when she tried out for the Teenstar Competition in Newcastle, England. Her performances of David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” had people from all over the country noticing her, and predicting that her voice would make her a star renowned all over the world for her music. Courtney reached the competition’s grand final, and resolved to keep working on both her voice and music.
Finishing first at the TeenStar Competition earned Courtney recognition locally, but none beyond Newcastle since only a few people watched the competition in other parts of England. A video of Courtney performing Great Big World and Christina Aguilera’s duet “Say Something” at her school marked the beginning of her journey to international recognition. The video posted on YouTube showed Courtney’s schoolmates applauding the pre-teen, as she sang with her eyes closed and her face radiating in her signature passion, while her melodic voice pulled a small crowd.
As Courtney’s voice was beginning to draw international attention, she was busy cultivating a loyal fan base back home. A year after reaching the finals of the Teen Star competition, Courtney won her first accolade for her music when she won the Performer of the Year Award at the Best of Hartlepool Awards in 2016, and in the same year, she was one of the finalists for the Beyond the Lights Award. In 2017, Courtney set her sights beyond Shotton Hall, and performed at a festival concert in South Tyneside as one of the opening acts for Sister Sledge.
After her impressive stint of awards, competitions and performances, Courtney’s tenacity had her trying out for another singing competition, for Open Mic UK, where she gained more singing and performing experience. One of her most viewed performances in the competition is her cover of Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which has a million views on YouTube.
The Voice Kids UK 2017
Armed with a few awards and performances, Courtney set her sights on a major national singing competition in 2017 when she decided to audition for The Voice Kids UK. After submitting an application and earning her place at the auditions, Courtney wowed the crowd and mentors with her rendition of Ike and Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits.” Her classic voice, dancing and stage presence had the crowd on its feet, screaming and dancing throughout her performance which has gained over 10 million views on YouTube. Her voice caught the attention of singer-songwriter and musician Danny Jones, who became her mentor.
Under Danny’s mentorship, Courtney learned how to pick the right songs for her voice, get the crowd more involved in her performances, and work with other singers. The result was magical and electrifying performances of David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s “Dancing in the Street,” James Brown’s “I Got You,” and “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls. At just 14 years old, Courtney made it to the finals, but was eliminated.
Been using my time in lock down to do up this loft and build it into my little studio. What have you guys been up to? 🎶 pic.twitter.com/e4KnhRh5RM
— Courtney Hadwin (@CourtneyHadwin) April 27, 2020
“America’s Got Talent”
After conquering the UK, Courtney set her sights on the international stage, and sent in an application for an audition for the 13th season of NBC’s “AGT”. Her years of training with Julie Miles, competing in several singing competitions, and performing in concerts and festivals paid off, when she impressed the judges during her audition and earned a position in the live shows when Howie crowned her first performance with the Golden Buzzer.
Courtney didn’t disappoint her fans in her subsequent performances in the talent competition. In the quarterfinals, she earned her fans’ recognition as the modern-day Janis Joplin, with an electrifying performance of James Brown’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” which now has over 5.5 million views on YouTube. In the semi-finals, Courtney brought the house down again, and earned rare praise from the fastidious Simon Cowell with her rendition of Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild”; the performance has collected over 4.5 million views on YouTube, and attracted over 1200 comments, declaring her a one-of-a-kind talent and a rare gem in her generation.
In the finals, Courtney paid homage to her auditions by choosing Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High” for her final performance. She brought her usual passion, deep and well-balanced voice, and stage presence and gave a memorable performance that had Howie Mandel, who sent her to the finals, her family, the rest of the judges, the crowd, and the 10 million people who have watched the video on YouTube rooting for her victory, as soon as she sang the last note. She brought the enthusiasm, passion and ability to transform from a shy teenager into a musical powerhouse the following day to the awards ceremony, when she performed “Piece of my Heart” alongside The Struts. Although Courtney didn’t win the grand prize, her collective performances prior to and during the competition put her on the global stage, and laid the foundation for a thriving musical career.
“America’s Got Talent: The Champions”
Courtney left an indelible mark on the history of “AGT”, since one year later, she was back in the competition as a contestant in “America’s Got Talent: The Champions”. For her opening performance, she awed the crowd with her ability to transform from a sweet teenager with a mellow voice into a wild rock star who uses her powerful voice, dancing and movements on stage to capture and hold the attention of her audience, as she sang her own original song entitled “Pretty Little Thing.” She finished the competition in third place, beating seven of the best 10 acts drawn from all seasons of “AGT”. Her electrifying performances secured her a spot in the top 50 best contestants of all time on all seasons of “AGT”.
14 Y.O Rockstar SHOCKS judges with an original! #GotTalent
Posted by Got Talent Global on Thursday, January 17, 2019
Record Deal and Album
Record labels came calling as soon as Courtney completed the live shows in Las Vegas, after her impressive run in “AGT”. She chose to sign with someone who appreciated her talent, when she signed a record deal with Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Music and Arista Record. The then 14-year old went to work immediately, and released her first album in 2019, an extended playlist featuring four covers of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved,” “Sucker” by the Jonas Brothers, and “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles. The album was well received, inspiring Courtney to start writing her own music.
Courtney has written and produced several original songs, released as singles. She dropped her first single, “Pretty Little Thing” during her time as a contestant on “America’s Got Talent: The Champions”, the in 2020, she dropped another original song “Why Don’t We,” about wanting to be young and wild forever, in a live session with her fans. The raw performance has over 220,000 views, and over 300 comments acknowledging the power in her voice and the incredible song, while asking Courtney to release more original music. In 2021, Courtney released “Good Old Days”, her raw and authentic vocals accompanied by the occasional strumming of the guitar as she shared the unfiltered ballad with her fans without any sound effects or production additions.
Events and Performances
Courtney’s first performance outside the UK was at the Paris Hotel, Las Vegas- a privilege she earned when Howie rewarded her performance at the auditions with the Golden Buzzer. She put on an impressive 13-minute performance, which earned her a reputation as a performing artist in the US, then returned to her hometown in Newcastle for a concert performance with The Struts in 2019.
In 2022, Courtney was one of the performers at the Frequency Festival in St. Polten, Austria, after which she flew to the US, and embarked on a tour of various states.
As she nears a decade since her first public performance in Newcastle, England, as a child with big dreams of making it onto the international music stage, Courtney is working on more original music. Her new work will be the culmination of years of experience, interaction with global singers and songwriters, and the encouragement of her fans, who celebrate every original song she releases, watch every performance she stages, and fill the comments sections of every video of her performing, with positive reviews of her work.