Next Big Thing: Music competition whittles down entries to just seven finalists from Norfolk and Suffolk

Clyde Automaton, a Next Big Thing finalist. Picture: Gordon Woolcock

Clyde Automaton, a Next Big Thing finalist. Picture: Gordon Woolcock - Credit: Archant

A music competition hunting for up-and-coming stars around our region has whittled down more than 100 acts down to its final seven.

Dazy Crown, a Next Big Thing finalist. Picture: Gordon Woolcock

Dazy Crown, a Next Big Thing finalist. Picture: Gordon Woolcock - Credit: Archant

Next Big Thing, run by Norwich-based Future Radio, has launched the careers of several well-known names - most notably pop superstar Ed Sheeran in 2008 - and now, in its 11th year, continues to unearth hidden gems in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Over two semi-finals held at Open in Norwich this weekend, judges handpicked the seven acts that will compete in the final at the start of March, with a chance of winning the prestigious title and £500 from Access to Music media college.

More than 100 acts had already been narrowed down to the 14 semi-finalists.

Daniele Fisichella, station manager at Future Radio, said: ''It has been a great weekend of local music at Open, we knew the level of the semi-finalists this year was very high and their performances have been outstanding.

'As a local radio station we are very proud to have given this chance to 14 local acts and we're looking forward to the final.

'It is great to see how much this competition means for these young musicians and for the public in Norwich.'

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Three acts were chosen on Saturday night - Clyde Automaton, Catnip and Claws and Savage Island - while another three - Dazy Crown, Maya Law and Real Life Charm - were selected on Sunday.

Judges decided to give local band Lobster a wildcard place, making them the seventh finalist.

Mr Fisichella thanked the panel for making the 'tough choice' and the competition's partners Outline Magazine Open and Access to Music.

The final will take place at Open, on Bank Plain, on Saturday, March 5.

Other past winners include Harry Edwards, who won last year, The Thinking Men, Hello Bear and Console Wars.

For information, click here.

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• Dazy Crown

Inspired by the sounds of surf and garage rock, Dazy Crown combines a retro lo-fi sound with modern rhythms and simple melodies.The four-piece band was started by singer-songwriter and musician Thomas Little, who is from Newmarket in Ontario, Canada, but now lives in Norwich.Other members are Philip Jones, lead guitar, Thomas Rees, bass, and Theo Lewis, drums.


• Maya Law

Maya Law, from Norwich, is in the process of writing and recording her first five-track EP. The 16-year-old, a student, is a singer-songwriter whose songs have influences from various genres, including hip-hop, reggae and pop. She says her main inspirations are Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse and Melanie Martinez. Her songs include At Sixteen and Tough Luck.


• Savage Island

Rock band Savage Island say their style can't easily be pinned down, but that their sound is always 'high-energy and dance-oriented'. The five-piece band, based in Norwich and Great Yarmouth, features a horn section, vocals, drums, bass, guitar, trumpet, saxophone and organ. They say their songs feature Middle Eastern inspired melodies and punk rock influences.


• Real Life Charm

Real Life Charm are a seven-piece arts and music collective from Norwich. They combine talents in art, music, film and design to create their sound, with everything from recording songs to shooting music videos is done in-house. Their music has enjoyed airtime on Radio 1.


• Clyde Automaton

Clyde Automaton, who hails from Swanton Morley, describes himself as a bedroom producer and a hip hop connoisseur. He says his instrumental beats are 'mixed in with a healthy love of bass music' and fuelled by a love of drums and percussion. His songs include Pigeaters and Invitation.


• Lobster

This year's wildcard choice, Lobster is a nine-person jazz and soul band from Norwich. With an average age of 17 years, their line-up is made up of vocalists, saxophonists, bassists, guitarists and drummers. They say their sound is tailor-made for a chilled out Friday night. In January, they produced their debut music video for track Back to Life.


• Catnip and Claws

Emma Catnip, behind Catnip and Claws, started as a classical and jazz musician and has been producing electronic music for about four years. Now, the Norwich artist says she weaves sounds of real instruments through electronic music to create 'textures and sonic nostalgia through delicate melodies, laced with harder, broken beats'. Her songs include Secret Chances, Runaway and Ruins.


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