Maariah Stone, opera singer, also known as Mimi has been singing all her life.

Born and bred in Highams Park, Mimi’s talent and love of singing took her to Walthamstow based, amateur dramatic society Starlighters Theatre Company at the tender age of 12.

‘It was great experience,’ she said. ‘I just loved getting out there and performing. I learned so much about plays, singing, and stage presence.’

Mimi loves to sing opera, jazzy classics, and soul. Her songbook includes songs from Les Misérables, Gershwin’s Summertime, classics such as Judy Garland’s Somewhere Over The Rainbow, and Eva Cassidy’s covers including Time After Time.

It was at Starlighters in Walthamstow that she met Don Monroe. ‘He really encouraged me to take the first steps to follow my dream of opera singing.

When she was 16 years-old, Mimi’s mother got Mimi to sing at a party at home. To their surprise one of the guests invited Mimi to sing at a forthcoming charity ball. ‘One minute I was in Highams Park and the next I was singing to 500 people at the Porchester Hall, London.’ The event, a fundraiser for humanitarian aid charity Human Appeal, was a breakthrough in more ways than one. ‘Opera is an unusual choice for a Muslim audience, I felt like I was making a change as well as supporting the charity. It was a great experience, to perform in that context.’

Mimi went on to perform at the Hilton, on HMS Belfast, the Royal Nawaab London Banquet Hall at the Hoover building on Hangar Lane, weddings including a trip to USA, events, and New Year’s Eve parties.

She has also entered Britain’s Got Talent and made it through the first few stages. She auditioned at the ExCel Centre and said: ‘This was a great experience! I had lovely feedback. I would love to perform on a really big stage, and I keep that dream alive. I didn’t get through that time, but I will try again.’

Locally, she’s been a regular at the Highams Park Proms events ‘A Night At The Opera’, performed at the open mic nights upstairs at the County Arms, and has performed at Christmas Markets, community events, and played at local pubs and restaurants.

At 19 years-old she is developing her repertoire while studying for a degree at a London university. Her favourite opera song to sing is O Mio Babbino Caro, (Oh my dear father), by Puccini. Her favourite operas are Madame Butterfly and La bohème.

Mimi said: ‘I met another opera singer who said I am still young, enjoy your time now.’

Enjoying her time includes singing and performing as much as she can.

Clips of Mimi’s singing and more information can be found on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Maariahx/  and her Instagram  @Maariahx

Mimi can be contacted by email on: Mimi.stone12@gmail.com