The 2012 Live And Unsigned Grand Final took place at the Proud2 in London's prestigious O2 Arena last month and it was as tense and varied a final as the competition has ever seen. Check out the full list of the top three acts in each of the categories and find out more about each of the winners here.
Miss out this time? Well, there's always Live And Unsigned 2013…
3rd place Acoustic category
Misphits are the genre-mashing duo that originally created the style of 'indie-hop' in the UK.
As well as featuring in the Live and Unsigned Grand Final, they have alsofeatured on digital TV channel VoxAfrica.
Through many other achievements the Misphitsfan base has been on the increase and this was proved at the sold-out event they held at Ronnie Scott's last month.
They also have a built a reputation for their evening performances on the London Underground, more specifically the Cent ral line… Many await their debut single while struggling to find any of their music online.
“Misphits cross so many genre borderlines they could almost have competed in any one of the Live and Unsigned finals. Entertaining and exciting, Misphits have it all.”
Remedysounds blew up on his local scene at the beginning of 2011 creating a big following, wowing crowds with his impeccable ability to create any song using the loop pedal along with clever use of his guitar and vocals.
His sets involved taking both classic and current songs, turning them upside down and spinning them on their head, along with hard hitting, award winning, upbeat original songs.
Since entering Live and Unsigned, Remedysounds’ popularity has gone through the roof, he has played several festival slots alongside some big names in the industry and has had the luxury of partying with Macy Gray and having a backstage jam with Josh Kumra.
Remedysounds has been described as a mixture between Plan B and Jamie T with the singing voice of Fergie and has been tipped as one to watch.
“So many try and use a loop pedal to sound like Ed Sheeran, but Remedysounds is his own person. He executed the loop pedal superbly in the final.”
Leon Bratt started playing acoustic guitar, aged seven, at school, continuing until he gained two A-Levels in Rockschool Grade Eight. In 2005 Leon formed a rock band, named The Reverb, with two of his best friends and, as the frontman, handled lead guitar and vocals.
The Reverb broke up in 2007 and Leon then started a new rock band, Enraged Horizon, with three school friends, again playing lead guitar and singing. They played at various venues, including Esquires at Bedford and won a battle of the bands that led to supporting slot with The Lightening Seeds.
Leon started to perform solo acoustically in 2010 and this year, as a result of his involvement with Live and Unsigned, played at Osfest, supporting a list of acts that included Dappy, Razorlight, Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Levi Roots.
He also played at the Folk On The Water festival and is set to play at at JustSoFestival and Looe Festival in Cornwall, supporting The Stranglers and The Levellers - again, direct results of his success in Live and Unsigned.
“Leon has it all. He looks the part and has a real star quality that engages the audience instantly. Big things lie ahead for Leon.”
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Roads to Nowhere
Hailing from Chippenham, Melksham, Badminton and Box and formed in late 2010 by Jake Reid, Lee Butler and James Spiller, Roads to Nowhere are completed by vocalist Lauren Todd and guitarist Joe Grimes.
Roads to Nowhere in the past year have gigged extensively in North Wiltshire, Swindon and Bristol. They have begun to spread their wings getting gigs in Northampton, Kettering and Gloucester recently and have quickly developed an impressive local following after releasing their first EP in March 2011.
Roads combine a unique blend of melodic riffs with truly brutal breakdowns and the vocals of Lauren Todd punch well above their weight.
The band reached the local final of Bloodstock- Metal 2 The Masses at Riffs Bar in June 2011 and have during their time taking part in Live And Unsigned have bagged two days of recording studio time at Anton Rd Studios in Andover, a brand new TC Electronics BG250 watt bass amp, a Blackstar HT-1 practice amp and a Gold Disc from Future Copyright for best Original Song in area final for ‘Jakiller’.
On top of this the band say the whole Live and Unsigned experience has made a huge difference to the bands expectations of themselves and that they are a much tighter, and more professional outfit for this experience, which they believe was very tough, but very rewarding.
“Roads to Nowhere were the best metal act of this year’s Live and Unsigned. Musically brilliant and with an engaging lead, they have something special, which will open doors for them.”
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The Fourfits are four sisters straight from the Camden music scene, bringing you original material with four-part harmonies. Having grown up on a diet of anything from AC/DC to Fleetwood Mac, the foursome play drums, bass, guitar and synth..
The Fourfitsstarted in their current incarnation in 2002, but as a family they have learnt piano and string instruments from childhood. Charlie, the eldest sister and guitarist, says:
“We’ve been playing together for nearly 10 years to produce rock music that people can dance to. It’s hard to get all of us together at four different stages of life, but we’ve put a lot of hard work into this competition, which has been so fun and we've treated it no differently to any other gig, because you never know who is out there watching.”
There's also Harriet, the lead singer and bassist who gets audiences on their feet, and Becky the keyboardist, who can’t wait to play more live festivals. On that subject - the band play London Summer Jam this September.
“The Grand Final saw The Fourfits produce their best performance of the competition. They have a vibe that can’t be seen in many places on the rock scene. A bright future is ahead.”
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Contraband are a five-piece rock band from Oxfordshire, consisting of Shaun Thomas (vocals), Dan Hobbs (guitar), Del Mobbs (bass), Ricky Hill (drums) and Marc Eaglestone (rapper).
Formed in 2004 the band has evolved musically over the last 8 years, taking inspiration along the way from the likes of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, U2, Nickelback and many more. With the arrival of a new drummer and with the addition of a rapper last year, the band finally found their niche and came blasting back with a summer of gigging and song writing.
Contraband bring back the heavy bass lines, catchy riffs and powerful vocals hardly seen since the golden days of the late 70s/80s, and put a modern twist on it with some very talented rapping, thus making them a band that pretty much everyone can enjoy listening too.
2012 promises to be a good year for Contraband and the band are currently working on new material for their debut album, as well as gearing up for another summer of gigs and festivals.
“Contraband sit in a brilliant niche, no one else sounds like them. They will continue to win fans with performances like this one at The O2.”
With notable talent and the potential to impact the music industry on an international level, Otty stands out from a troupe of upcoming British artists.
Convinced that actions speak louder than words, he tells it to the world in his latest single, Words (currently available for download on iTunes). His sound - which has drawn comparisons with luminaries such as Luther Vandross and John Legend - oozes soul, yet accommodates jazz, R&B and even a touch of hip-hop.
Complementing Otty's vocals is an infectious personality and a passion for life and music with meaning. This clearly reflects in his songs, which are typically challenging, encouraging and witty and his musical abilities have in the past allowed him to share the stage with the likes of the late Amy Winehouse.
Having previously made it to the top 50 of Jamie Cullum’s nationwide search for the next big act in live music, Otty ranked 3rd in the Urban/Pop category of Live and Unsigned 2012. All of this, supported by an arsenal of quality songs and a seriously talented band, means that there’s never been a better time to sit up and pay attention.
“Otty oozes class and has demonstrated his songwriting abilities throughout Live and Unsigned 2012. Another assured performance in the final saw him win over a new set of fans.”
This isn’t the first time Emily Middlemas has been on stage at the Live and Unsigned awards ceremony. Only 12 months ago she won the rock category with her band Loud ‘n’ Proud. Since then she’s played in the Armadillo (Glasgow) and also at The Big Stooshie festival in Scotland.
Emily started performing when she was just nine years old, entering Open Mic UK and reaching the area final in Manchester. She then started to learn the keyboard at 11 and began writing songs when she was just 12. Still only in her early teens, Emily has a big year ahead and is already gearing up for another bid at making The O2 in this year’s Open Mic UK competition.
“Emily just gets better and better every time she performs. She oozes in star quality and can go anywhere if she continues to improve year-on-year. Judges in the final were wowed by her delicate yet engaging performance.”
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Molly Smitten-Downes is a singer/songwriter determined to make her mark within the music industry. Her debut EP, Fly Away With Me, is an electro-acoustic collection of four radio-friendly tracks.
Shadows, taken from the aforementioned EP, was sampled by grime artist Marger and was heavily supported by 1Xtra and Kiss. She is now working on the next EP/album, with live performances of some of the tracks available on YouTube, including the popular Flowers by the Road.
While focusing on her own material, Molly has also been working with many leading producers and publishers on material for other artists around the world, as well as writing toplines and features for producers, such as Never Forget with Darren Styles.
After competing against 10,000 entrants, on 14 July Molly was awarded the winner of the Urban/Pop category at the Live and Unsigned 2012 Grand Final, which saw her walk away with a main-stage slot at the illustrious Sundown Festival. She was also awarded a separate award within the competition for ‘Best Original Song’.
For more information please visit any of Molly’s online presences below or her website
“Molly took on a massive gamble in the final taking on David Guetta’s Titanium, but she nailed it. The judges couldn’t stop talking about that amazing vocal afterwards.”
The DaveMartin Movement
The DaveMartin Movement are a UK based alternative rock, hip-hop and soul band, formed in 2009 by guitarist David Wehinm and lead vocalist/rapper Martin Vito.
Their experience together has provided the impetus for the formation of a full band, live shows and concept songs that specialise in empowering fans to achieve.Having initially met back in 2007 they started working together on projects for other artists and were performing as a duo throughout much of 2010, as a result The DaveMartin Movement developed a distinct sound, fusing influences as diverse as Fela Kuti, Kanye West, Fred Hammond, Tommy Emmanuel and Coldplay.
Seeking to expand on this, electric guitarist/bassist Charles Shittu, Power Soul vocalist/songwriter Tony Blaize and Victor George (drums) were added to the band and as a Movement have taken part in many performances throughout London.
They are entertainers as well as teachers in their own rights. They write, produce, and play their music for those that will listen.
“A great band producing sounds influenced by past and present. One of the tightest and well-rehearsed bands of the final.”
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The Dirty Cheats
The Dirty Cheats are a young, five-piece band hailing from Stafford in the Midlands. Playing their own brand of high energy indie pop fusion, these guys have developed a live show full of dynamics, excitement and fun that just has to be seen. This is indie pop at its bounciest!
With a new mini-album recorded and due for release in September, ‘TDC’ (as they've been affectionately dubbed by their growing army of fans) are ready to step up to the mark once again to delight music fans everywhere.
They were selected to perform at Osfest this year after impressing organisers while competing in Live and Unsigned. TDC also played at the Cockermouth Rock Festival this year as a direct result of their performance in the Grand Final.
“The Dirty Cheats were probably the surprise package of the final, qualifying as a Wildcard but eventually finishing second in the Indie/Alternative section. An incredible stage performance at The O2.”
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Coco And The Butterfields
Coco And The Butterfields formed less than a year ago, but have since amassed a huge following both locally and on Facebook. They feature a lineup of Dulcima Showan (vocals & violin), Tom Twyman (acoustic guitar & vocals), Jamie Smith (beatbox), Micah Hyson (double bass) and James Todd (banjo), having all met on the Canterbury busking circuit.
Despite their increasingly busy gig calendar they are still regularly spotted busking all over the city together, not to mention driving around the South East in their colourful bandwagon, “Ron”.
Their unusual lineup has given rise to their genre-crossing brand of ‘fip fok’ (a combination of hip-hop, folk and pop). The band is committed to breaking down genre barriers by playing catchy originals and inventive covers in a style that everyone can enjoy.
It has proven very successful thus far, with local record producer Dan Lucas claiming they have “managed the almost impossible task of creating a sound that is almost entirely unique.” It looks like winning Live and Unsigned may be just the start for the fip fok band.
You can catch Coco And The Butterfields at Stockton Weekender, Strawberry Fields Festival, Relentless Energy Boardmasters, Edinburgh Fringe, Festibelly, Glass Butter Beach, Just So Festival, Bingley Music Live, Brownstock, Sundown, Shrewsbury Fields Forever Festival, Deafbox Fest, Brisfest, London Summer Jam and Lancaster Music Festival.
“Coco And The Butterfields brought the wow factor to Live and Unsigned this year. They blew the judges away in each round and impressed with their originality and tight performances.”