Talented teens tune up to sing for spot at O2 Arena

TEEN STARS ... young South Tyneside singers, Kieron Winter, above, and, below, from top, Ryan Bell, Sam Clark, Sasha France and Abi Garrido are hoping to sing their way to London's O2 Arena.
TEEN STARS ... young South Tyneside singers, Kieron Winter, above, and, below, from top, Ryan Bell, Sam Clark, Sasha France and Abi Garrido are hoping to sing their way to London's O2 Arena.

A HOST of South Tyneside talent is set to hit the stage in a singing competition.

Five young borough singers are hoping to make their mark in the regional finals of TeenStar.

Teenstar finalist Ryan Bell

Teenstar finalist Ryan Bell

The contest, set to be held at Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre on Sunday, March 22, will see talented youngsters battle it out for a place in the national final.

TeenStar is organised by Future Music, the company which discovered acts such as former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan, Jahmene Douglas, and Union J’s Jaymi Hensley.

South Tynesiders Sasha France, Kieron Winter, Sam Clark, Ryan Bell and Abi Garrido, are now in the running to follow in the footsteps of the contestant’s previous winner Luke Friend, who made it to the live finals of last year’s X Factor.

The hopefuls will be performing in front of hundreds and a panel of professional judges for a place in the grand final at London’s O2 Arena.

TeenStar regional finalist Sam Clark

TeenStar regional finalist Sam Clark

Prizes include the chance to attend singing auditions across the country, recording studio time, music development classes and £5,000 in cash.

Contestant Sasha, from Jarrow, made it into the regional finals after singing Adele’s One And Only at her audition.

The 10-year-old is a pupil at St Bede’s RC Primary School, in Jarrow.

Her mum, Erin, said: “We’re really proud of her for overcoming the health problems she had when she was growing up.

Teenstar finalist Sasha France

Teenstar finalist Sasha France

“She’s had two heart operations, at 11 days and 11 weeks old, and she’s been back and forward from the hospital because of croup, a condition that affects the windpipe.

“We thought her throat had been damaged by the breathing tubes during one of her operations, but she’s now fighting fit and she’s overcome so much.

“She’s had two years of vocal coaching and she’s been going to the Pauline Quirk Academy, in Newcastle, since it opened two years ago.

“We’re really proud of her for making it so far.”

Teenstar finalist Abi Garrido

Teenstar finalist Abi Garrido

Kieron, 16, from Marsden, South Shields, is also in the contest.

The apprentice support worker made it into the line-up after singing Let Her Go by Passenger as his audition.

Kieron, who also plays the drums, said: “I am a bit nervous, but I’m ready to go out there and fight for my place and where I want to be. Being a singer is all I want to do, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else to be honest.

“Getting to the national final would mean that I was one step closer to where I want to be – it would be an amazing feeling.”

Singer Sam Clark is also in the running. The 16-year-old, from South Shields town centre, is studying A-levels at Newcastle College.

He sang Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good at his audition.

The singer and guitarist said: “I’ve got a real passion for music, so it feels absolutely brilliant to be in the regional finals. I’m really hoping it will open some doors to the music industry.

“I want to be a singer and music has been my passion since I can remember. I’m not really nervous for the competition, I’m more excited.

“It would just be incredible to get to the final in London. I’m hoping this will be a big opportunity for me.”

Former South Tyneside Young Performer of the Year Abi Garrido is also in the running. The 16-year-old, from Jarrow, sang the Jackson 5’s Who’s Loving You in her audition.

The St Joseph’s Catholic Academy sixth form student said: “I’m really happy. It was a bit of a surprise to get through. Obviously I’m really nervous, but I’m excited too because it’s a really big opportunity.

“I’m hoping it could lead to bigger and better things. Luke Friend did it a couple of years ago and then he went through to the finals of the X Factor, so I’m hoping it could do something like that for me.

“It would be amazing to get to the final in London, so hopefully I’ll be good enough to get through.”

Singer Ryan Bell is also through to the regional final.The 18-year-old, from Hebburn, sang When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars to secure his slot.

The St Joseph’s RC Academy Sixth Form student said: “I sing all the time and I really enjoy it, so I thought it would be fun to compete in something that I enjoy so much.

“I’m quite excited for the finals. I don’t really get nervous until about a minute before I go on stage so I’m fine for now.

“Getting to the national final would be great because it would give me another chance to do what I love.”

Tickets for the event cost £8. For more information, go to www.teenstarcompetition.co.uk

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki