Dorchester teen in finals of national music contest

Dorset Echo: MUSICIAN: Kayleigh Zimmerman through to regional finals of national singing competition  	Picture: John Gurd/JG7932 MUSICIAN: Kayleigh Zimmerman through to regional finals of national singing competition Picture: John Gurd/JG7932

A YOUNG singer from Dorchester is hoping a national talent show will set her on the road to stardom.

Kayleigh Zimmerman, 15, has made it through to the regional finals of Open Mic UK 2012, a competition to find the country’s best musical talents.

The Thomas Hardye pupil said: “I still can’t believe it. I’m so amazed I got through to the next round.”

Kayleigh, who has just started Year 11 at the school, wowed judges at the open auditions in Bristol with her rendition of Put Your Records On, by Corinne Bailey Rae.

She said: “I’ve been passionate about singing since I was really young and I thought this competition would be a good step for me.

“I auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent a few years ago but did not get through. I was really nervous, but when I came out of the audition room after being told I was through to the regional final, I was so happy I cried.”

The next stage of the competition will take place in Bristol on September 30. Kayleigh will have to impress members of the audience, who each vote for their two favourite acts.

If she gets through, the youngster will then compete in the area finals alongside other acts to fight for a place in the national final of the competition at the O2 in London in January next year.

Finalists will perform in front of judges Charlie Hedges, from Kiss FM radio, and songwriter and producer Mark Hill, as well as representatives from record labels who may offer a chance to be signed.

Winner of the 2008 competition Birdy went on to release an album.

Events co-ordinator Chris Grayston said: “We are looking to find an act that has something unique to offer, another Birdy that can go all the way, with both the ability to deliver a strong live performance but also potential to become a professional recording artist.

“There is so much talent out there and I’m sure we can find that star again.”

Kayleigh is keeping close-lipped about her tactics for the regional final. She said: “I play piano and guitar, and I’ve also been writing my own songs since I was about 11.

“I haven’t really decided yet what I’m going to perform.”

She added: “I love the way you can show emotion in songs, and get messages out there.

“I think my family and friends are proud of me, and I’m really looking forward to the next stage.

“It’s very exciting.”

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