Teenage singer Mia Williams-Watson has made it through to the grand final next month of the national music competition Open Mic UK.
The 15-year-old, from Kingston near Lewes, will perform in front of a packed crowd and celebrity judging panel at The NEC in Birmingham.
After impressing the judging panel at auditions against thousands of other unsigned musicians across the country, Mia performed in the Open Mic UK live showcases, battling through both Regional and Area final heats.
At the grand final in Birmingham on January 18 she will be fighting to win a £5,000 cash prize to spend on the development of her act.
The judges were bowled over by Mia’s performance of Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind (New York), as their comments, published on the competition’s official website, show: “Mia – amazing vocal and tone. You have a real maturity to your vocal. A very enjoyable performance! Great voice, great look. One of the strongest voices in the show.”
Mia busks regularly in Lewes and is a firm favourite with the locals, many of whom have been supporting her.
In the past she has busked and raised money for local charities, including the Chestnut Tree Hospice, the RSPCA and Scotty’s Little Soldiers. Mia also writes and sings many of her own songs.
She said: “This competition has been a fantastic opportunity for me to showcase my voice. At each new stage I feel I have really improved my performance and grown in confidence.
“It was a fantastic atmosphere at the Area Finals; it was a big venue with a panel of judges at the front and the cheers from the crowd were amazing!
“It is a real learning journey and one I am thoroughly enjoying. I want to say a huge thank you to my family, my friends and the people of Kingston and Lewes who have been supporting me along the way.”
Earlier this year Mia was invited to sing at the Mayor’s Variety Performance at Hove Town Hall where she delivered three songs including one of her own composition.
A spokesperson for Open Mic UK said: “We are searching for an act that not only has the live ability to impress an audience, industry judges and A&R associates, but an act that has the potential to become a professional recording artist.
“The Open Mic UK Grand Final is the best place to showcase your talent in front of a massive crowd and celebrity judges.
“It’s going to be a huge event and an experience of a lifetime for all our finalists.”
For more information on the competition go to the website www.openmicuk.co.uk