Listen: Winner of Norwich music contest that launched Ed Sheeran’s career revealed

Catnip and Claws, the winner of Future Radio's 2016 Next Big Thing competition. Picture: Gordon Wool

Catnip and Claws, the winner of Future Radio's 2016 Next Big Thing competition. Picture: Gordon Woolcock - Credit: Archant

A winner has been crowned in a Norwich music contest hoping to unearth up and coming stars from our region.

Dozens of acts from Norfolk and Suffolk entered Future Radio's Next Big Thing competition, which has, in previous years, boosted the careers of musicians including global star Ed Sheeran.

But, this year, it was the electronic sounds of Norwich act Catnip and Claws that caught the judges' attention and clinched the title at Saturday night's final.

Behind the distinctive sound is Emma Catnip, a classically-trained musician who yesterday said she was still 'in complete shock'.

'There were so many brilliant acts there,' she said, 'and I know that my music isn't for everyone, so I really wasn't expecting it.

Third-placed Maya Law. Picture: Gordon Woolcock

Third-placed Maya Law. Picture: Gordon Woolcock - Credit: Archant


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'I didn't envy the judges having to make the decision they did, everyone was so good.'

She admitted that ahead of the final, which saw arts and music collective Real Life Charm placed as runner-up and 16-year-old singer-songwriter Maya Law come in third place, she was 'absolutely terrified'.

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'I had no idea what to expect,' she said. 'All the bands and acts were really amazing.'

Having played the piano since she was a child, it was only five years ago that the artist, 37, moved into the world of electronic music.

Next Big Thing 2016 final. Picture: Gordon Woolcock

Next Big Thing 2016 final. Picture: Gordon Woolcock - Credit: Archant

She said: 'It does seem unusual I suppose but I guess it's because it combines the two things I like. I've always loved understanding how things work - I used to take things apart when I was young, like clocks - and obviously I love music.

'So when I discovered you could sequence music on the computer and effectively do both at the same time, that was really me.'

In the future, Miss Catnip, of George Borrow Road, hopes to see her music used in sound tracks.

'I'm just in a really happy place when I'm working with music and imagery,' she said.

Runners-up Real Life Charm. Picture: Gordon Woolcock

Runners-up Real Life Charm. Picture: Gordon Woolcock - Credit: Archant

As well as the title, she has also won £500 courtesy of Access to Music media college.

Daniele Fisichella, Future Radio station manager, said: 'We knew the quality of the acts this year was extraordinary high and, in fact, the judges had a very difficult job in the end.

'Any one of the finalists could have won. It was great to see how many people came along and how much the competition meant for all the bands.'

He thanked the audience, judges and competition partners.

'Catnip and Claws was a great winner and I am sure she will make the Next Big Thing and Norwich proud in the future,' he added.

The final was held at Open in Norwich. Seven finalists performed.

•For more information on Catnip and Claws, visit https://catnipandclaws.bandcamp.com/

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