Eyes on the big music prize

IT'S the biggest music competition of its kind for undiscovered talent in the UK and several acts from the area are a step closer to making the grand final.

IT'S the biggest music competition of its kind for undiscovered talent in the UK and several acts from the area are a step closer to making the grand final.

Thousands hoped to strike a chord with judges at this year's Live and Unsigned auditions, which were held across the country.

Aimee Wallace, from Felixstowe; The Low Go's, from around East Anglia; and Underline the Sky, from Ipswich, all sailed through.

Now they must prove they've got what it takes to reach the Live and Unsigned Festival at London's 02 by doing the same at the regional finals in front of thousands of spectators.

Standing between them and a recording and management contract with Future Music are some of East Anglia's most talented performers and a professional panel made up of top A&R executives and celebrity judges, including Malcolm McLaren and Radio 1 DJ Greg James.

Aimee, 15, is no stranger to talent shows, having been a finalist in last year's Live and Unsigned contest and a regional finalist in the OpenMicUK 2009 competition just months after a serious car crash.

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The singer/songwriter suffered a broken finger and toe, whiplash, cuts to her eye and a stomach injury in the June 5 incident. While her facial scaring is fading, Aimee is still getting fortnightly treatment for her damaged hand.

But it didn't stop her wowing the judges at the Regent theatre auditions in Ipswich with her version of A Voice Within by Christina Aguilera.

“We had quite a long wait after; then the man came up and kinda tricked me. He was like 'after all this wait I'm really sorry...' and just looked at me and I was 'oh, it's fine' and went to get up and he said 'you do realise you're through' and I screamed.”

The Orwell High School pupil, who is also a member of the Felixstowe-based cheerleading squad Team Spirit, is following in the family tradition of performing.

Mum Sheryl Southernwood was part of a professional illusion act and her aunt, Gemma Andrews, is currently appearing in We Will Rock You in the West End after leaving Mamma Mia.

“My aunty is someone I've always looked up to and I've always wanted to do what she's doing now. I go to see her in shows and she takes me backstage and I just love the whole thing really,” said the youngster, who is looking forward to the regionals at the Ipswich Corn Exchange in April.

The Low Go's were also among the hundreds who queued for their turn in front of the judges in Ipswich. They are now preparing for their live showdown at The Towngate Theatre, Basildon; next month.

Hailing from Colchester, Ipswich and Dedham, they formed about a year ago. Having performed under various names including Catch and The Forum, they have evolved into an indie/pop producing machine made up of Tony Spaul (singer/rhythm guitar), Christian Spaul (drummer), Chris Burgess (lead guitar) and Jamie Ansell (bass).

Popular Ipswich band Underline the Sky are also through to the regional finals.

The five-piece - Bronwyn Cooper, James Hicks, Dan Oaten, Tom Bryce and Chiron Richardson-Todd - are known for crafting short, sharp pop-punk nuggets.

Live and Unsigned has attracted more than 30,000 entries during the past three years. It's now established as the definitive music competition for original acts and is open to all genres, from heavy rock to rap.

Previous winners include Kiddo 360, who went on to pick up a Vodafone Live Award; and B-Kay and Kazz, who broke into the top 30 charts. Last year's winners from Glasgow, The Detours, have just signed an exclusive clothing deal with Extreme.

This year's winners will also get the chance to tour the country. This involves as many as 100 gigs across the UK, including the chance to perform live at some well-known festivals.

For more information on the competition visit www.liveandunsigned.uk.com

For more about the performers visit: www.myspace.com/thelowgos, www.myspace.com/aimeewallace and www.myspace.com/underlinethesky

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