From ice skating to business meetings to recording his own album, 12-year-old Curtis Elton is a very busy boy indeed... after his mum BANNED him from rugby.
By MARTIN PHILLIPS, Senior Feaure Writer, The Sun
The Sun joined Curtis for a day to see how busy the life of a child genius can be, it quickly became clear it would be tough to fit in traditional classes, let alone rugby.
6am: Curtis and sister Sophia, 11, head to ice dance practice.
He may have an IQ of 145 and be the youngest person in the world to earn a full university degree in music — but between 6.45am and 7.30am Curtis puts piano on pause in pursuit of glory on skates. He and Sophia are hard at training at East London’s Lee Valley Ice Centre in the hope of making the British Championships at the end of the year. “I’ve been skating since I was four. I love it. It goes well with music,” he says.
He and his sister are already in the GB ice dancing development team and the pair won a dance competition only a week or so ago. There is another competition next week and a test in two weeks to see if they have reached “advanced novice” stage on their way, hopefully, to making the GB junior team. As other young hopefuls practise their spins and leaps and, with painful regularity, crash on to hard ice, it seems odd that Hayley was worried about Curtis playing rugby but not about him skating. But she insists: “It’s more controlled and not a contact sport. They haven’t got other people crashing into them, and even if he does fall over he just picks himself up and carries on.
7.30am: In a family day choreographed with military precision, their dad Jonathan, a graphic designer, makes a cameo appearance at the rink to pick up Sophia for school.
Then after a quick bite of toast and a hot chocolate, Hayley puts Curtis and Sophia’s matching ice-boot carriers in the back of her 4x4 and drives Curtis home to prepare for his business meeting.
Here Curtis manages an hour of homework — school work as well as piano practice for his music masters degree, which he is pursuing after getting his degree-level piano diploma at Trinity College London last year.
Like most boys his age, Curtis likes football, Batman and gaming. Unlike most 12-year-olds, he owns a full Mozart outfit and specially made wig, both of which he wore during a performance for the Duchess of Cornwall last year. Ever the little showman, he is eager to wear them for our pictures. After the rugby incident, he is now attending London’s Sylvia Young Theatre School where hours are more flexible and, as he points out with pride, Amy Winehouse and Rita Ora were both pupils.
Homework done, Hayley ensures her son is wearing his smartest blazer and his special red “Boy Genius” socks before the two head to a restaurant in Finchley.
The Italian Ask chain wants Curtis and sister Sophia to front a musical and sports-themed new healthy children’s menu later in the year and they meet to discuss ideas. I suggest putting four separate toppings on spaghetti and calling it a string quartet but Curtis has better ideas, including treble clef-shaped chocolate and ice-cream Restaurant manager Baki Thaci has gamely rustled up a keyboard-shaped pizza for Curtis to tuck into, but as Wall Street tycoon Gordon Gekko pointed out, lunch is for wimps.
Our next appointment is at a music studio in nearby Mill Hill, where producer Filipe Ross is layering backing tracks on to Curtis’s second album, a follow-up to his 2013 debut. It was released two years after his first appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. He auditioned again in 2014. Filipe says he worked in the same studios with Amy Winehouse before she was famous. Curtis’s own musical taste is a little more traditional, with Mozart, Chopin and Elton John topping his personal hit parade. In fact, he chose his stage surname Elton in honour of his hero.
Recording session over, Curtis just has time to get his school uniform covered in mud, splashing on sodden grassland, before it is time to head to school for the afternoon and his favourite lessons of the week — jazz, choreography, singing and drama.
After school, Hayley likes to have tea ready for 5pm on the dot to allow an hour of homework and piano practice afterwards — or harp practice in Sophia’s case.
Homework done, Curtis finally settles down for some TV or to play on a computer game. He says: “I love being busy, but it’s nice to relax as well,” though he doesn’t come across as someone who is ever totally calm.
8pm: Before making plans for world domination, however, at 8pm it is bedtime.
After all, the next day is Saturday, and the alarm is set for 6am for more ice-skating practice.
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