This week was the final of Spotlight with SSE on Capital FM South Wales, which over the process saw hundreds of unsigned acts from South Wales apply for the chance to receive an amazing opportunity from us at The Famous Company, to get the kick start into the industry they need!
The public took to twitter to whittle the many applicants down to the final three who had the opportunity to perform to us judges, who stood between them and the grand prize of £5000 worth of music industry services from The Famous Company.
The judging panel was made up four music industry experts; Capital FM’s own Kally Davies, Journalist David Owens from Media Wales, SSE’s head of sponsorship, Colin Banks and myself who is a senior consultant at The Famous Company. Each of us were able to bring something unique from all corners of the music industry, to help make the best decision on who the winner would be; however after seeing the three finalists’ performances, it seemed we had a very tricky task on our hands!
SSE’s SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff hosted the live performance finals, where fans, friends and families, along with us judges and teams from Capital FM, SSE and The Famous Company flocked for a night of amazing performances from the three hopefuls. The evening was presented by the charismatic trio from South Wales’ Capital FM breakfast show, Matt Lissak, Polly James and Geraint Hardy who have the job of announcing the winner on their Friday morning show!
Finalist 1 – Kieran Marsh
First up, the youngest contestant of the night, Kieran Marsh. Although just 16 years old, Kieran gave a performance beyond his years. Accompanying himself on guitar, he began with a cover of Ed Sheeran’s recent hit, Shape of You and slid sneaky hooks from Blackstreet’s throwback classic No Diggity into the arrangement! Kieran finished his set with an his original track Running Man, demonstrating not only his ability to play live but also write thought provoking, crowd pleasing hits straight from the heart.
Finalist 2 – Jade Butterworth
Next to the stage, Jade, the only female performer of the night, accompanied by her guitarist, gave the diva performance everyone was h
oping she would despite the stripped back nature of her set. With her soulful voice and fiery stage presence, Jade performed her own song along with new Martin Garyx single, Scared To Be Lonely, which both started life as electronic floor fillers; however Jade showcased her versatility by skilfully crafting both tracks into intimate acoustic arrangements which gave the audience the opportunity to appreciate both songs in a whole new light.
Finalist 3 – Fire Fences
The final performance of the night was from South Wales four-piece Fire Fences. Normally accompanied by a full band live rig, the boys traded their drum kit and Stratocasters for a cajon and acoustic guitars. Despite their downsized set up, the band performed their anthemic indie-rock tracks with as much energy as their usual full live show. Showcasing two original tracks, the band exhibited not only their songwriting ability but also displayed their inherent skill as a musically tight ensemble. Even though they were stripped back and acoustic, it was incredible to see an acknowledgement of the souring choruses and delicate melodies which make up their critically acclaimed original material.
Each act performed extremely well and left us judges wanting more but instead with the difficult task to chose the winner of the competition. The deliberations among the panel were long and hard as each act had the potential to carve out a unique place in the industry from each other and all performed to such a high standard. Tune into Capital FM South Wales Breakfast Show between 6am and 10am on Friday 17th March to hear the winner.