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'Our aim is to get out there and tell people what God has done for us'

She’s got the voice and the looks, but singer Philippa Hanna tells Matthew Murray why she has no plans to audition for the X Factor ...

She’s got the voice and the looks, but singer Philippa Hanna tells MATTHEW MURRAY why she has no plans to audition for the X Factor

This Sheffield-born performer has been writings songs with some of last year’s X Factor finalists, including Craig Colton and Janet Devlin, but she won’t be following in their footsteps.

“I have thought about it, but to be honest it’s just glorified karaoke,” said Philippa. “It’s just not for me.

“I used to go to auditions when I was younger but they don’t bring out the best in me. I don’t like to be compared against other people.

“I like to get up there and sing and be the best that I can be. People will respond to that – when you are yourself and when you keep it real.

“Also, I’m a Christian and singing to me is more of a ministry than a profession – I want to keep it that way.”

That doesn’t mean Philippa, 28, only tours churches. In fact, she prefers singing in bars and clubs where she can reach a wider audience.

“I get a buzz performing outside of the Church,” she said. “Our aim is to get out there and tell people what God has done for us.

“I feel I connect better with people in everyday places, and sometimes their response is 
better than in churches.

“In church, people hear a lot about God, but in mainstream audiences it’s new to them. I tell them that God has given me a sense of worth and they love it. We underestimate how open people are to the Christian message in Britain.

“Recently I went to a coffee shop and did a gig and two fans set me up a fan site. They recruited 600 people to it in the first week. They were just girls – who weren’t from church – who connected with my story.”

Philippa, who is married to Joel Cana, a drummer in Christian band, The Gentlemen, is preparing for her first European tour this autumn. She is also writing a novel based on her journey with God.
Philippa wasn’t raised in a Christian home and was bullied at school. But when her friend became a Christian she recognised the change in his life – and wanted it for herself.

She added: “Roo Walker, who is now my guitarist, started going to church and I became so impressed at how peaceful his life was. He was so happy and was full of joy.

“I felt really low at the time and had become depressed. I wanted to sing but had such anxiety and nothing seemed to be going my way.

“I kept the whole God thing at arm’s length, but found myself in church one night and I was really impacted by the singer’s words. I prayed a prayer spontaneously and from that point everything changed.

“Before I knew it I was totally obsessed with God and knew that this was for me. The journey since then has been brilliant and God has been so good to me.”

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