Young British musicians crowned Next Brit Things

Paul Shevlin, Sarah Gardner and Floodliners win Next BRIT Thing 2012 after performing at final held at IndigO2.

Following a six month nationwide search for the best in young UK musical talent, last night three unsigned artists were crowned winners of Next BRIT Thing - a national music competition for 11-19 year olds backed by the UK music industry, The BRIT Awards and the Government.

Having battled their way through regional auditions after being selected from 2,500 entries in a public online vote, thirteen Next BRIT Thing finalists performed in front of a panel of celebrity judges and an audience of thousands on Monday 5th March 2012 at the IndigO2 in Greenwich, London.

After stiff competition, the judges; pop band McFly, operatic tenor Noah Stewart, best-selling soprano Laura Wright and managing director of Columbia Records Mike Smith, chose winners in three different categories:

19-year old Northern Irish singer-songwriter Paul Shevlin won the General Category with his original melodic piano led songs. This category was open to all genres. Paul wins a recording session at the world-famous Abbey Road.


I'm really humbled to have been selected from such a standard of artists on the night.  Being a massive Beatles fan I cannot wait to get into Abbey Road studios - it's a bit surreal!

Paul Shevlin

All the performances on the night were truly inspirational, showing the real breadth of musical talent from Britain’s young performers.  Paul’s performance was astonishing – a star in the making and a true natural performer.  He’s a worthy winner of our first Next BRIT Thing national competition and I look forward to hearing his Abbey Road recording.

Geoff Taylor - BPI
16-year old classical piano player Sarah Gardner from Stockton-on-Tees near Middlesborough won the Classical Category. As a prize she will get to perform at the Royal Albert Hall as part of Classic FM’s Autumn Concert, recorded for broadcast.

The whole event was fantastic, there was an incredible amount of talent on stage, not one act let the competition down. Sarah stood out to me as the classical winner immediately.  She played with such confidence and composure for someone so young, and her performance of the Ravel was truly breathtaking. I wish her and all the rest of the finalists the best of luck with their future's, it was a joy to be part of The Next Brit Thing!

Laura Wright - Best-Selling Soprano

It was an amazing night in front of a fantastic audience with some very tough competition. The opportunity to perform at The Royal Albert Hall is a dream come true for me. All this and I got to meet McFly too.

Sarah Gardner
South London, female-fronted rock band Floodliners were victorious in the PRS for Music Songwriting Category.  They will receive day’s studio session with a top producer in Strongroom Studios, Shoreditch – part of the AIR Studios Group. 

Huge congratulations to Floodliners with their excellent track Freeze, worthy winners of the PRS for Music songwriting award.  The standard of entries for original works was exceptionally high, demonstrating the wealth of young creative songwriting talent we have in this country. Good luck to them in what I’m sure will be a long and fruitful career in music creation.

Guy Fletcher OBE - Chairman, PRS for Music

Last night's show was sick! It was great to perform at such a cool venue with all the other talent and it was brilliant that we won our first ever award! Whoo! Its nice to be recognised for what we love to do!

Georgia South - Floodliners

Launched in Summer 2011, Next BRIT Thing - - looked for young musicians in any genre to share their performances, compete in online charts and perform live. The competition was open to all 11-19 year olds whether in formal education or not.  In all, some 36,000 young people registered to get involved and the website attracted over 100,000 unique users.  More than 2,500 entries were made by young people uploading tracks, which were voted upon during a two-month period prior to Christmas 2011. After 60,000 votes were cast, a long list of performers to audition in one of ten regions emerged.  

Organised by the BPI, with the support of the record industry and the sponsorship of the Department for Culture, Media and Sports and the Department for Education, Next BRIT Thing has brought together all elements of the industry including artists, labels and industry bodies including PRS for Music and the Music Industries Association and sponsors, Peavey and Roland. It offers young people the opportunity to engage with the music industry, develop their music talent and enjoy the shared experience of being part of a national event.

PRS for Music specifically recognised entrants to Next Brit Thing whose submission either in the pop or classical genre, is an original work. Over a thousand Next Brit Thing entries were original compositions underpinning the vast creative young talent across the UK.

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