Nov 12 2014
VEANKA – Singer/ Songwriter
Young teenager Veanka Howard, who now calls the Yass Valley home, instantly became a voice for all those who couldn’t be heard when she appeared on the ‘X Factor’. She became an advocate for children in foster care. She stunned the judges and audience while auditioning for the talent quest and has been in hot demand since. The 15-year-old shocked all at the auditions when she calmly declared she was in foster care, and wanted to perform as an example to other children in foster care that they could also reach for the stars.
Her foster mother Joanne Howard said Veanka’s frank admission, and her discussion about feeling unlovable after going through 100 different foster homes between the ages of three and 10, drew a huge response. Veanka’s efforts to inspire other children in foster care had certainly worked, Joanne said, as many had contacted her or posted comment on the X Factor’s website and Facebook fan pages. Many of the messages were emotional, some speaking of Veanka being a role model showing others they should follow their dreams.
Veanka has also been asked to sing at the Australian Foster Care Convention in Sydney during October, which Joanne said was “a very big honour”. “She’s just excited to be getting involved with foster kids. She’s absolutely thrilled to be asked to sing there,” Joanne said.
But it isn’t just in foster care circles where Veanka’s emerging talents are under demand, as “She’s basically getting booked out with her singing, but she’s still as humble as she can be,” Joanne said. “It’s been an amazing trip for Veanka, and so good for her self-esteem.”
That boost started in the auditions, when Veanka had to sing a song for one person, and then do three more songs for another person before she was able to go on stage before the judges. As the teenager prepared to take to the stage, Joanne told Veanka to “take a deep breath, go out and do what you do”.
Joanne was “blown away” with the way Veanka started talking about her personal history, and said she could see “a burden lifting off Veanka” with her revelations before launching into a rendition of ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus.
Joanne discovered Veanka’s amazing voice not long after the youngster moved into her home in the Ulladulla region in early 2009. “She had been so unsettled before that she didn’t know who she was and didn’t realise she could sing, and no one else seemed to know about it,” Joanne said. She encouraged Veanka to sing, and taught her what she could, because it was a good way to deal with her anger.
As Veanka progressed other music teachers began helping, revealing “a pure, natural voice” that took Veanka to winning competitions and wowing audiences during jam sessions at local venues.
In 2014 Veanka performed at an intimate affair at NSW Parliament House to coincide with Families Week. She was launching a moving song she co-wrote about growing up in care – ‘Home is where the heart is’. The purpose of the launch was to raise awareness about the need for more foster carers in NSW.
How much further it will take Veanka remains to be seen. Joanne said whatever happens, the resilient teenager would take it all in her stride. “I believe she’ll do anything she sets her mind to in life,” she said.
(Click on the image below to see a video of Veanka performing live in the 2UE studios)