Some might say that politics and music don’t mix too well, but in the case of 13 year old Thornton-based singer/songwriter Leoni Jane Kennedy, it was a perfect match.
When her mum Katrina spotted a national competition online just after Christmas, she immediately saw it as a perfect springboard for Leoni’s wonderful talent to be recognised further afield and submitted one of Leoni’s original compositions called Anatomy. As it turned out, she was spot on. After being nominated by local MP Paul Maynard, from hundreds of entries, Leoni was invited to perform in the final 12 of the Rock The House competition for young singer/songwriters. On May 27, the talented singer was triumphant in winning the Under-19’s solo performer category in the final held at the legendary Bedford in Balham, London and came second overall in the whole Under-19 section.
The Rock The House competition is a fantastic nationwide event, held in conjunction with Yamaha and supported by a host of big music industry names such as Iron Maiden founder member Tony Moore, who was on the judging panel, Rick Wakeman and patron Alice Cooper. Rock The House has grown to become Parliament’s biggest and most popular competition and with over 400 entries in the Under- 19’s category it was a stunning achievement by Leoni to come out on top in the solo performer section.
Her fine achievement will see her head back down to the capital on July 1 to attend the Over-19 event on the terrace of the House of Commons. Leoni will be presented with vouchers for Yamaha equipment and will also be invited back by Tony Moore for a future live date at the Bedford. Not bad at all for an aspiring 13 year old singer/songwriter. It provides an outstanding opportunity for unsigned musicians to receive priceless media exposure and the attention of leading industry executives.
All the judges on the panel were unanimous in saying this year’s event saw the best ever emerging talent in the short four year history of the competition. For Leoni, it could mean she goes on to much bigger and better things in the future and this provides an excellent springboard.
“I’m super proud of her,” said Katrina, who supports her daughter fully with her music, “My eldest daughter is studying A-Levels and they have both turned out to be lovely young ladies. As a single mum I am bursting with pride.” And rightly so, this particular achievement by Leoni is certainly something that Katrina will remember and can be proud of forever.
I asked Katrina where Leoni goes from here and what the future holds.
“More open mics, perhaps some paid acoustic gigs locally then who knows. Perhaps next stop Nashville!” said Katrina enthusiastically.
When asked how she’d found the event, Leoni said, “Very nerve wracking, I can’t believe this has happened! It was a brilliant night and everyone was so nice.”
You can listen to Leoni’s winning entry on Soundcloud:
You can follow Leoni and her music through her Facebook music page, her Soundcloud page and at various live events over the coming months. The Rock The House website and more information about the competition can be found here.
All images courtesy of Yamaha.
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