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Singer, 13, to launch PM Arts Festival

Cole Armour finds it hard to narrow down his favourite singer. So he picks two. "I love Lady Gaga because of her originality," the 13-year-old Langley resident said. "And Celine Dion because she's kind-hearted.

Cole Armour finds it hard to narrow down his favourite singer.

So he picks two.

"I love Lady Gaga because of her originality," the 13-year-old Langley resident said. "And Celine Dion because she's kind-hearted. When I first heard My Heart Will Go On, it made me want to sing."

Luckily, the Grade 9 student at R.E. Mountain secondary school will be able to show off his vocal chords to a Tri-City audience at the gala for the 15th annual Port Moody Festival of the Arts on Saturday.

Last week, PoMo residents got to hear a sample of the teen's sound when he was featured at a city council meeting, belting out Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

The performance was so beautiful that it prompted a Tri-City News reporter to write on the company's Facebook page: "Only big things on the horizon for this 13-year-old."

Armour said he won't be covering any Gaga or Dion tunes at the Sept. 22 gala; however, he will highlight Hallelujah and three of his original pieces - U, Takes One Love, and You're The One - as well as a song penned for him called Phenomenal. Recently released for radio play on dance/pop stations, the track was co-produced by Kurt Gentles of One Time Music Group and his partner, Safra.

The spotlight is nothing new to this self-taught singing sensation.

At nine, he showcased his talent at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival. Later, he took gold at the Kiwanis Fraser Valley Music Festival and was the first child to win the Red Robinson Talent Showdown at the PNE.

Armour has also sung the national anthem at the Vancouver Canucks' games at Rogers Arena and has entertained at many benefit concerts supporting cancer research, children hospitals and animal welfare, for example.

So far, his biggest live crowd has been at a country music festival in Duncan, on Vancouver Island, where he opened for country-soul artist Johnny Reid last year.

But that was just 30,000 spectators.

Last fall, Armour had the chance to sing in front of millions of television viewers in a taped episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show on NBC. And that, in turn, landed him an interview on ET Canada as well as other gigs around the country.

Armour said the attention is all in good stride. "It's been fun and I really enjoy it," he said. "I've done it because I've tried and I'm going to keep going at it."

Cole Armour will open the Port Moody Festival of the Arts gala with Téa, an R&B, pop and soul songstress who describes her sound as City Soul. Refreshments will be served at the event, which is sponsored in part by The Tri-City News. For more information on the festival or to watch Armour sing at the Port Moody city council meeting, visit www.pomoartsfestival.ca.

jwarren@tricitynews.com