Amelia’s Magazine | Glastonbury Festival’s 2014 Emerging Talent Competition: My Top Three Acts

Alev Lenz memphis video still

I was very flattered, when, thanks to a recommendation from Stay Loose music PR, I was asked to be one of the judges for the first round of Glastonbury Festival’s 2014 Emerging Talent Competition. The panel is made up of ‘about 40 of the UK’s top online music writers’ that includes the likes of Drowned in Sound, TLOFBF and Breaking More Waves, so I am indeed in good company. Together we have compiled a long list of 120 acts from around 8000 entries (with the selection sent to me predominantly consisting of folk, electronic, acoustic and pop acts, at my request), from which the second stage judges must pick the 8 finalists and then the final winner. Over the years I have frequently been very impressed with the bands that have been highlighted by this competition as ones to watch, and so it was a real honour to be included in the early stages. The Emerging Talent Competition gives new and unsigned artists a chance to showcase their wares on a main stage at the festival, and previous entrants have gone on to great things, including Stornoway and Treetop Flyers.

Given so much talent I found it incredibly hard to make my final three choices, and in the end based much of my decision on the professionalism of the acts and the need to pick a balanced offering. So I choose my very favourite best tunes – the ones that had me hit the virtual rewind time and again – and then I looked for a good stage presence since this is essential in a festival setting (this was sadly a let down with a few acts that I really liked) and finally an aptitude for self promotion, as I feel this is vital today (again, too many acts had not really thought this through, which I feel shows a lack of ambition or belief, both of which are necessary to survive). It is perhaps no surprise that my top act is coincidentally one that had previously (before the competition) contacted me to cover their music, which I did, you can read my post here: I love a bit of get go in a creative!

Here, without further ado, are my top three choices: I hope at least one of them makes the final cut! And I hope to write a further blog post recommending some of the other great bands I found but which sadly did not make my final three. Click on the titles to hear the tracks on soundcloud.

1. Arthur Rigby & the Baskervylles – Moonlit Strangers

Arthur Rigby

Arthur Rigby & The Baskervylles - Moonlit Strangers By Warren Clarke

Arthur Rigby & The Baskervylles – Moonlit Strangers By Warren Clarke.

On Moonlit Strangers the Leeds based band Arthur Rigby & the Baskervylles employ lush orchestration and multi-layered vocals to tell a tale of loneliness and heartbreak. It’s a brilliant showcase for their exuberant melodies, with a folksy violin curling around the lead vocals, all backed by an enthusiastic brass section. The anthemic tunes and sing-a-long choruses are perfect for the Glastonbury crowd. (NOTE: between the time of writing this blog and the announcement of the long list Arthur Rigby sadly announced their demise… so it seems I did not pick a good horse after all. Here’s hoping that my other two choices fare better in the cut throat music world. I wish I could have given someone else a chance.)

2. Alev Lenz – Memphis

Alev Lenz, photo by VIKTOR VAUTHIER

Alev Lenz, photo by Viktor Vauthier.

Alev Lenz by Hannah Boothman

Alev Lenz by Hannah Boothman.

The opening notes of Memphis bear the woozy electronic hallmarks of German/Turkish singer Alev Lenz’s collaboration with acclaimed Finnish drummer Samuli Kosminen (Múm, Hauschka, Kronos Quartet, Jónsi). Her swooping vocals carry a beautiful melody of heartbreak and dreams across softly twinkling keys, a style which is further showcased on Song No.1. In other tracks she effortlessly combines classical influences with electronica to create a unique and engaging sound. I think Alev Lenz is an exciting new talent that we will hear much more from. 

3. George Boomsma – How High The Mountain

George Boomsma

George Boomsma by Angela Lamb

George Boomsma by Angela Lamb.

How High The Mountain is a simple slice of folk which showcases swoonsome vocals from North Yorkshire’s George Boomsma, all bound together by an elegiac violin. I found his live version of the song absolutely mesmerising and feel it would be sure to turn heads and gain fans at Glastonbury. I was also impressed by further tracks, with rollicking tunes and plentiful harmonies. 

I hope you will help me spread the word about these talented musicians, all of whom deserve further recognition x

Categories ,Alev Lenz, ,Angela Lamb, ,Arthur Rigby, ,Arthur Rigby & the Baskervylles, ,Breaking More Waves, ,competition, ,Drowned In Sound, ,Emerging Talent, ,George Boomsma, ,Glastonbury Festival, ,Hannah Boothman, ,How High The Mountain, ,Memphis, ,Moonlit Strangers, ,Samuli Kosminen, ,Song No.1, ,SoundCloud, ,Stay Loose, ,Stornoway, ,TLOFBF, ,Treetop Flyers, ,Viktor Vauthier, ,Warren Clarke

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