A 12-year-old schoolboy has become the first recipient of funding from a music charity supported by Johnny Marr.
John Benton, whose performances have earned him £1000 from the Johnny Marr Award operated by Manchester's Salford Foundation Trust, was selected after videos of his busking, which included covers of local bands including The Smiths garnered thousands of views on social media. The prize pot will now go towards singing and playing lessons to further hone the young guitarist's skills.
Benton began playing at eight and, as well as busking on Manchester's Market Street, has performed at venues around the city including the legendary Salford Lads Club, featured in the iconic gatefold band shot in The Smiths' The Queen is Dead album.
Busking as usual in #manchester today playing one of my favourite tunes from @viewofficial written by @KyleFrancisFalc Not many @33_oldhamstreet tickets left so c'mon:https://t.co/OzWqD7mzwV@shiner_sam @rickbazza @liamgallagher @talktonighthq @MPeakeOfficial @Johnny_Marr pic.twitter.com/9dGRE67d0hFebruary 5, 2022
Now, Benton has his own band, The Height, and his father Phil said, "John’s ambition is to have a career in music. Music is not a hobby for John but just who he is and a creative outlet he hopes to enjoy for the rest of his life.
"He is incredibly grateful to Johnny and the Salford Foundation Trust who have provided this opportunity.
Peter Collins CBE, from The Salford Foundation Trust, said, “There couldn’t be a more worthy recipient of the Johnny Marr Award. Even though John is only 12 he’s already proven he’s committed to making a future in music and we’re delighted the Trust can give him a helping hand on this journey.”
The Johnny Marr Award will run for three years, selecting another young musician from Salford each year for financial assistance.