On Air Now
The Classic FM Concert with John Suchet 8pm - 10pm
13 August 2020, 17:17
An opera-loving supermarket worker loves a Lidl bit of Puccini.
A singer, who works at Lidl to fund her music career, has been delighting customers with her operatic vocals outside the supermarket.
Lily Taylor-Ward, 24, works as a checkout assistant at Lidl in Sandiacre, Derbyshire. She started singing during the weekly clap for NHS workers, but kept going when she realised shoppers were feeling uplifted by her music.
She sings a range of music in an operatic and classical style, including Puccini’s aria ‘O mio babbino’, ‘You Raise Me Up’ and ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’.
“A lot of people came up to me saying you can’t sing at work,” Lily tells the BBC. “But how I do it is, I keep my distance, sing outside the doors and to the opposite direction where no one is.”
When Lily had the idea to start singing for customers, her boss at Lidl was eager for her to share her music. “Mainly I’m on the tills,” Lily says. “Or on the shop floor helping customers.
“I just thought go on then, let’s have a bit of a sing-song outside. And my boss was like, yeah, course, why not!”
As people caught word of Lily’s singing, she was asked by a certain centenarian’s family to sing for his 100th birthday.
Hannah, the daughter of Sir Thomas Moore – who made national headlines after raising over £32m for the NHS – asked Lily to record a video for her father. Hannah posted a video of Sir Tom singing along to the video on Twitter, where it went viral.
Lily’s love of classical singing started as a child, after she had major surgery. “When I was about two years old, I had an infection in my spine,” she says. “And if they’d left it a few more weeks, I would’ve been paralysed from the neck down.
“After I had [major] surgery, he recommended ballet to strengthen the back muscles. And that was how my performing started.”
Now, she’s on a mission to challenge the image of classical music and opera, and make sure the world knows it’s a genre for everyone. “Opera and classical music have a very big stereotype,” she says. “They always think it’s for older people who are rich.
“As you grow up, because classical and opera aren’t out there as much, it’s a very alien sound to most people. I think there’s such a beautiful movement within classical music.
“We should cherish it and look after it.”
Amen, Lily… follow her on Facebook here to help support her singing.