It’s an exciting time for Jarrow singer Abi Garrido.
The 17-year-old is on the road to stardom after signing an international management deal.
Abi, who was the Gazette’s Young Performer of the Year in 2012, has been picked up by Dubai and UK-based artist management company RU:Listening.
Abi, who has had more than 118,000 YouTube views for her self-penned track Another Girl, has been working hard on her music after deciding to go it alone following a stint on the X Factor last year.
After initially auditioning as a solo singer, Abi was placed in a girl group by judges, and the quintet made it through to judges’ houses with Louis Walsh.
After bowing out of the show, four of the members including Abi decided to go forward as a group, but Abi later made the decision to return to her roots as a solo artist.
She said: “The X Factor, and being put in the group, was such a great experience, and I’m glad I did it because it taught me so much – I’ve got so much more experience and confidence now.
“I gave it a go but it just wasn’t for me in the end. I went in as a solo artist initially because that’s what I am.
“I did A-levels for a year but then left to focus on singing. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”
Abi, a former student at St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Hebburn, who lives with her mum Janine, dad Chris and three siblings, Maddy, 13, Harry, eight, and six-year-old Amelia, began singing when she was 12.
It all started for me when I was about 14 and I won the Best of South Tyneside competition.Abi Garrido
Music runs in the family, as her mum, grandma and grandad have all been singers, though none of them professionally.
Abi added: “All my family have always sang so it’s always been an interest and it comes pretty naturally. It all started for me when I was about 14 and I won the Best of South Tyneside competition.
“That competition has been won in the past by Jade Thirlwall from Little Mix and Joe McElderry, who both won X Factor.”
In May this year, Abi also won Metro Radio’s Big Audition, meaning she will perform at Metro Radio Christmas Live in December, in front of 10,000 people at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena.
She said: “I’ve only just signed so we haven’t really started the work yet, but I’m really excited for the future.
“I’ve met everyone and it’s been more like joining a big family than anything else. Everyone is so supportive of each other.”
RU Group executive chairman, Richard Upshall, has commented previously on the “unbelievable talent” coming out of the North East.
He said: “I’m so pleased to be able to announce that Abi has joined our family at RU:Listening. Everyone here is very much looking forward to working with her.”
Abi is due to perform in South Shields on Sunday, July 19.
She’ll join Billy Ocean and Gwen Dickey in a free concert at Bents Park, in Sea Road, as part of the South Tyneside Festival.
She has previously performed at the festival in 2012 and 2013.
Keep up to date with Abi on Twitter @abigarrido_