by Author Wayne Savage

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Unsigned takes over The Waterfront

Solomon Lake

The Garage, Young Norfolk Arts Festival, Norfolk Music Hub and Youth Music are hosting a night of music at The Waterfront.

The gig features performances from Hannah Birtwell, Leon O’Leary, Bridget Holmes, Solomon Lake and The Renadeans.

The Unsigned project was created to provide young musicians with the opportunity to take their music, performance and professional skills to the next level.

It gives them valuable, focused training time with experienced professional music artist Millie Manders, who helps them improve their artistry alongside music career mentoring and marketing advice tailored especially to them.

They get to perform at The Waterfront on Sunday, 19 May, putting their new skills to the test.

The young musicians will be provided with video captured from their performance to help promote themselves in addition to recording a demo in a studio of one of their tracks and a professional photo-shoot.

Carrie Mansfield, Creative Director at The Garage, said: “We’re so pleased to have teamed up with The Norfolk Music Hub, The Young Norfolk Arts Trust and Youth Music to provide this exciting opportunity for young musicians.

“Our work is all about supporting and encouraging young people to believe in themselves and their talents - this project does just that and has been a real success. I have heard them all rehearsing in our music room with Millie over the last few months and can’t wait to see them on the stage.”

First up will be singer-songwriter Hannah from Easton. Coming from a musical household, she entered Britain's Got Talent when she was just 11-years-old. Since then she's spent the past few years writing, playing across the county and has been played on BBC Radio Norfolk.

On performing at The Waterfront she said: “I'm feeling nervous and excited. I've performed at places with quite a lot of people so this is somewhere in the middle.”

Second to perform will be Leon, an ambient rock singer-songwriter from the Suffolk coast. Influenced by Ben Howard, James Bay, Bon Iver and Bruce Springsteen, he’s always wanted to perform at the famous venue.

He said: “I released a single in January called Ivy. However, my new songs involve a lot more electric guitar so I can’t wait to get some of the newer stuff out there.”

Bridget, the third musician to perform, is a Norwich-based singer-songwriter who's been described as performing dream-pop. With the recent split of her band this will be her first appearance as a solo artist.

"That's the part I'm nervous about, not the actual performing. Whether it'll sound nice just me and the piano."

Fourth to play will be Manchester-born Solomon who at 14-years-old moved to Norwich.

Despite spending his childhood with impaired hearing, surgery meant by the age of 17 it had improved. It was during this time he discovered a love for singing.

Solomon, who took part in the Musicians Development Programme at The Garage last year, said: “I usually play open mic nights so this is probably the biggest solo opportunity I've had. Seeing my name on posters it’s ‘like okay; it’s real now’.”

Lastly will be The Renadeans, comprised of brothers Ivan and Max D'Eath and their friend Paul Murray, who are highly influenced by the 1960s with hints of Britpop, the Rolling Stones and Arctic Monkeys.

Having already performed at The Waterfront, the trio are looking forward to returning. Paul said: “We have played there and always enjoy it.”

Millie said choosing five acts from so many brilliant entries was tough. It came down to selecting highly talented artists that all had something different to bring to the showcase.

“I was really excited to work with them all. The sessions I have been involved with have all been to develop the acts to not only get them ready for the showcase, but to give them tools for becoming successful musicians in the future.

“We have looked at song development, stage craft – overall performance, use of stage, mic control, breath control, vocal and instrument performance – and we have created set lists that take their audience on a journey and showcases their most engaging work.”

Millie and the acts also discussed their image, worked on audience interaction and implemented personal goals based on who inspires them and their own vision for their music and performance.

“I think all the acts I've been working with have excelled themselves in these sessions. They all have fantastic songs and I am very excited to see them all shine on stage at The Waterfront on Sunday 19 May. I feel honoured to have been working with them all and truly believe they all have a bright future ahead of them.”

Finn Doherty took part in 2017. He recommended Unsigned to artists with some gigs under their belt who are looking to make the jump to the next level and open up a lot more opportunities for themselves.

"There was a big stage in development going on for me as well, rather than it being just a gig. It was the first time I really thought about marketing and branding, stuff like that; it opened that world up to me. It was putting me on one of the biggest stages, probably the biggest stage I still have ever played, so that was an experience in itself, preparing to be in this big venue and there was a whole lot of development there as well. I think it was possibly one of the first times I’d done recording in a studio as well, so there was a lot of firsts which was really nice."

Unsigned is for ages 14+. Doors open at 7pm, with music from 7.30pm. Click here for more details.