Mary-Jess Leaverland

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Mary-Jess Leaverland
Mary-Jess Crawley 2018.jpg
Background information
Born (1990-03-28) 28 March 1990 (age 30)
Gloucester, England, United Kingdom
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2009–present

Mary-Jess Leaverland (artist name: Mary-Jess) is an English singer and songwriter[1] who won Min Xing Chang Fan Tian (or in English: I Want to Sing to the Stars), a provincial Chinese televised talent competition televised to 70 million people in December 2009.[2][3]

Early years[edit]

Mary-Jess Leaverland was born on 28 March 1990 in Gloucester, England, and grew up in a musical household. Her mother Liz and her grandmother were both singers. When Mary was nine years old, her grandmother got her an audition with the Gloucester Cathedral Youth Choir, mainly for the experience, but she was surprised to be accepted even though she was two years too young. Mary went on to study at the University of Sheffield and in her second year went for a year's placement in Nanjing, China, where she decided to enter a live televised singing competition.[4]


Mary advanced in the Chinese Min Xing Chang Fan Tian (or in English: I Want to Sing to the Stars) competition, eventually winning the grand prize after competing live on Chinese television every night for three weeks. After winning the contest, Mary still remained virtually unknown in the UK. The show was not broadcast outside Jiangsu Province, China, so her family and friends could not watch it and her family could not afford to fly to China to watch her. When an interview she gave to a local Gloucester paper was picked up by the national press, the news spread, and Leaverland was offered several recording contracts and she signed a recording contract with Decca Records. She was signed to Decca from March 2010 to November 2011.[5]

She stated in an interview with The Guardian that "I was awful at French but Chinese caught my attention with all the different tones. Each word had its own tune." The Music and Chinese Studies course at the University of Sheffield took Leaverland to Nanjing, and when she by chance came across auditions for the talent competition she wanted to get involved. "I really thought they would want a Chinese person to win. I couldn't believe it when it was me."[6]

Her debut album Shine was released on 8 August 2011 and peaked at no. 57 on the UK Albums Chart.[7] Before release she went on a 23 date UK tour with tenor Russell Watson as his special guest. Shine won both 'Best Newcomer' and 'Album of the Year' from and has been awarded many five star reviews from fans on Amazon and the media. She was chosen to contribute to the Downton Abbey soundtrack, lending vocals to the song "Did I Make the Most of Loving You?".[8]

In December 2011, she appeared as a soloist on the BBC Songs of Praise broadcast from All Saints' Church, Cheltenham,[9] and again on Easter Sunday, in April 2012.[10]

Her song "Stand as One" was used as a background theme for P&G – Proud Sponsor of Mums TV advert in 2012.[11] Mary was selected to sing the FA Cup Christian hymn "Abide with Me" before the 2012 FA Cup Final association football match between Chelsea and Liverpool.[12] In 2013, she appeared at the Cheltenham Music Festival.[13]

In 2015, Mary was invited to No. 10 Downing Street and was asked to serve as a representative of the British Council's GREAT Britain Campaign to represent British music worldwide.[14]

In 2016, she conducted a short teaching tour of Suzhou, Lanzhou and Hangzhou, China with the British Council as part of The GREAT Britain Campaign.[15] Later that year she released her second album 'Prayer to a Snowflake', a winter/Christmas album which features duets with Jaden Cornelious and Rhydian. She then embarked on a UK tour to celebrate the release.

In March 2017 Mary-Jess toured with G4 as their special guest and has been asked to return for the September leg. Mary-Jess then followed that with her own tour and campaign for her new ep of hers and duets with young artists, one of her biggest tours so far she done many church dates with singers due to be on the EP and also kids choirs, it turned out to be a great tour with Mary-Jess amazing all she met with her beautiful voice, EP due in early 2018 and sure to be great



Title Album details Chart positions
Prayer to a Snowflake
  • Released: 22 November 2016
  • Formats: CD


Song Year Peak positions Album
"Are You The Way Home?" 2011  — Shine
"Glorious"  —
"Heaven Is Empty"[17]  —
"I Fell in Love with a Snowman" 2016 Prayer to a Snowflake
"The Sound of Christmas" with Rhydian 2016


  1. ^ "Mary-Jess". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  2. ^ "British student Mary Jess wins Chinese X-factor". BBC News. 22 January 2010. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  3. ^ "British exchange student Mary-Jess Leaverland wins Chinese X Factor". The Daily Telegraph. 19 January 2010. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Mary-Jess Leaverland sings at FA Cup final". BBC. Archived from the original on 11 April 2019. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Artists – Mary-Jess". Decca Records. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  6. ^ John, Emma (19 June 2010). "Mary-Jess Leaverland: What next for China's X Factor winner?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Shine: Mary-Jess".
  8. ^ "Gloucester's Mary-Jess hits high notes with Downton Abbey". Gloucester Citizen. 21 September 2011. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  9. ^ "Songs of Praise, God Made Man". BBC One. Archived from the original on 28 October 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Songs of Praise, Palm Sunday". BBC One. Archived from the original on 28 October 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  11. ^ "The music from the P&G 'Proud Sponsor of Mum's' TV advert". As seen on TV. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Gloucester singer selected for FA Cup final". BBC News. 5 May 2012. Archived from the original on 6 May 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  13. ^ "Cheltenham Music Festival 2013 brochure". Archived from the original on 10 August 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Mary-Jess Leaverland". Classical Crossover. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Mary-Jess Leaverland, Singer/Songwriter". British Council. Archived from the original on 7 June 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Mary-Jess – Shine". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  17. ^ "Heaven Is Empty – Single by Mary-Jess". iTunes. Archived from the original on 2 June 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.

External links[edit]