Following an intense two-day judging process, the fifteen successful acts for Bright Young Things 2008 have been announced today.
The annual Bright Young Things competition, run by Leeds City Council's Arts and Regeneration Unit, gives fifteen young bands and solo artists a springboard to their career in music. Each of the lucky winners will receive a professional photo shoot, hundreds of pounds of professional studio recording time, a live gig showcase and public profile, and lots of free publicity. Their studio time will also be used to record a song that will be included on the official Bright Young Things compilation CD, which is to be distributed for free on the cover of Leeds Guide. It will also be packaged and sent out to industry professionals.
The 15 bands and solo artists are:
Laura-Jayne Hunter is an acoustic singer/songwriter whose incredibly beautiful and powerful voice is mature beyond her years. Formerly a singer in a rock band, Laura-Jayne's vocal style is now more evocative of Joni Mitchell and Imogen Heap, whom she lists as influences.
Ophelia is a male duo that produces simple yet emotive and imposing electronica with haunting falsetto vocals. Having not been together for very long, the guys from Ophelia are already striking high in the quality of their work. Expect much more from this fascinating pair.
With a strong vocal and an accomplished guitar technique, Richard Petch is a talented young musician. His interesting and intelligent lyrics bring another dimension to his music and will captivate audiences at the live gig.
Adding an element of popular R&B to the final 15, Adessa is a gifted and soulful singer who has already received a great deal of media attention. Expect big things from this talented young songwriter.
Pushbike Army (lead singer Rennie's name for the workers at the BAE systems shipyard in his hometown of Barrow-in-Furness), is a three-piece indie/punk band whose passionate and honest lyrics sit well with their energetic playing style. Growing in popularity, this group has already gained interest from the BBC's Steve Lamacq and Fopp Music Store.
Adding an indie-infused dance element to this year's entries is I Call Shotgun, an upbeat electro band. Reminiscent of 80s electro-pop, their songs are brought right up to date by their driving guitar section, in the style that is proving very popular at the moment.
With rave reviews from local magazines 'Sandman' and 'No-TITLE', Record Department have been taking the Leeds scene by storm already. This four-piece indie rock band have been described in a recent review as "musically adept, passionate and politically informed - providing just the right balance between brain-searing guitar and easy-on-the-ear vocals."
Molotov Sandwich is a hectic eclectic four-piece band that laughs in the face of genre convention. With influences as far reaching as Frank Zappa, System of a Down and Pixies, expect nothing short of a spectacular journey through the musical spectrum, executed with a panache and skill that has seen this band successfully gigging widely already.
Ally Jowett (Ally Jowett Band) is a songwriter and musician whose acoustic sound may be familiar to shoppers in Leeds and Harrogate, where he can regularly be found busking. His songs are characterised by stunning harmonies layered over a gentle acoustic guitar.
Rachel Cook creates beautiful, acoustic soul music. Her work is driven by her musical influences, which she describes as "soul legends, jazz greats and funk heroes".
With exceptional guitar playing skills and a dark and smoky vocal, Ben Pike is an acoustic blues and folk-style musician who exemplifies the high level of musical talent and the mature technique showed by so many of the Bright Young Things entrants this year.
Pete Briley is a solo male singer and guitarist originally from Maidstone and now living in Leeds. His delicate lilting vocals show great potential and he is sure to be a hit with many acoustic music fans.
The Paperpushers describe their sound as 'an alternative mixture of danceable up-tempo soul/groove with elements of funk, electro and drum and bass. Founded in Scarborough, they have been described by the local media as "one of the town's most innovative and exciting new bands." Their talent in effortlessly blending a variety of musical styles to form tight and cohesive tracks makes them fascinating live performers.
Kinch is a lively five-piece indie band. With a saxophone player and some truly funky bass playing, the band has an unusual funk/jazz sound. Accomplished live musicians, they have already played many gigs to rave reviews, both locally and around the UK.
A powerful vocalist, Neeta is also a talented singer, songwriter, pianist, guitarist and producer. Her music defies categorisation, but elements of ambient and indie styles combine with awe-inspiring vocals reminiscent of Tori Amos and Kate Bush to produce a truly compelling sound.
Leeds City Council's Executive Member for Leisure, Councilor John Procter said: "Bright Young Things gives young Leeds musicians an unrivalled opportunity to showcase and promote their work and learn how the industry works. The standard of acts coming through the competition is always high, illustrating what great musical talent we have here in Leeds."
The fifteen successful bands will be laying their tracks down at the studio over the next couple of months and the Bright Young Things CD will be available free with Leeds Guide in March. The bands will also be playing a series of live gigs, details of which will be announced in the new year.
We can make you better citizens.
Fingerstyle and Lap slide alt. blues player from North England