THE search is on for the Young Performer of the Year 2014.
Four people who know all about winning the accolade are South Shields band The Waiters.
Since picking up the title last year, the rocking foursome have played to thousands of people in Bents Park, sold out their own headline gigs, been mobbed by screaming fans, and invited to play at prestigious events.
Now, they’re encouraging singers and bands to go for the title, which is sponsored by Port of Tyne, in this year’s Pride of South Tyneside Awards.
Since being crowned winners, The Waiters have supported Liberty X at Bents Park as part of the South Tyneside Summer Festival, headlined monthly music event Second Tuesday at The Customs House, played headline gigs at South Shields Amphitheatre and Hedworth Hall and performed on the main stage at Newcastle’s O2 Academy.
It all started for the group – made up of Adam Tait, Dan Johnson, Rhys Chambers and Martin King – back in February 2012.
Lead singer and guitarist Adam, 18, of Laygate, said: “I asked Dan when we were going to get a band together and then we saw Martin playing drums on the game Rock Band and asked him if he wanted to join.
Then we heard Rhys talking about how many instruments he could play and we asked him to be the bassist.”
Drummer Martin, 20, of Horsley Hill, said: “A few people mentioned the Pride of South Tyneside Awards to us and a band had never got to the final before.
“We were put forward and we thought we’d do an original song to stand out a bit from everyone else.
“We’d gotten to the final 20 on competitions before but Pride was the first really big achievement for us.
“It was amazing to win.”
Bassist and backing singer Rhys, 15, of Horsley Hill, added: “That was the first time we’d been in a big competition like that. Just to make the shortlist was amazing so we couldn’t believe it when we won.”
Singer and guitarist Dan, 20, of Park Way, said: “It’s given us so many opportunities as well that we would never have had otherwise.
“Even now, a year down the
line we’re getting gigs that we wouldn’t have ever been considered for before winning.”
The band also have a lot to look forward to.
They’re saving up to record their first EP with producer Stuart Epps, who has worked with artists including Elton John and Robbie Williams.
The band are heading to Stoke in July to record three original songs.
They’ll also be heading to Birmingham that month to film a music video.
The Waiters are also set to release a charity single, an original song called This Time, on May 17 to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust, and have a headline gig coming up at The Customs House later this year.
Adam said: “There’s no experience like playing in Bents Park to all of those people. “The first year we were together as a band, I think we played about four gigs, but since winning Pride we’ve done all of this and we’ve got so much to look forward to.”
Martin added: “Hopefully, after working with Stuart Epps we’ll have two or three really good songs under our belts.”
Adam said: “We just want to make as much of ourselves as we can.I don’t think any of us could imagine doing a nine-to-five job – this is what we want to do.
“We’d definitely encourage people to go for Young Performer of the Year. It’s been amazing for us.”
Andrew Moffat, Port of Tyne’s chief executive officer, said: “We are really pleased to be sponsoring the Young Performer category again.
“The awards celebrate remarkable achievements and outstanding talent, contributing to the community spirit that helps make South Tyneside a great place to live, work and do business.
“The Port of Tyne has supported the awards since the very beginning and we are always astonished by incredible performances.
“It is clear to see that South Tyneside has a lot to be proud of when you consider previous winners include X Factor champions Joe McElderry and Jade Thirlwall”.
The award is open to anyone aged 21 or under who has a talent that will impress our judges, whether they’re a singer, band, dancer, musician, actor, comedian, or any other form of entertainer.