After an evening of varied live performances at Pilton Working Men’s Club from an eclectic line-up of eight finalists, Hastings singer-songwriter Marie White was announced the winner of the Glastonbury 2019 Emerging Talent Competition, supported by PRS for Music and the PRS Foundation. Marie won a prestigious spot on one of the Festival’s main stages, plus a £5,000 Talent Development prize from the PRS Foundation. The short straw of playing first was hardly a barrier to success in Marie’s case and her heartfelt melancholia certainly struck a chord with the judges, who included hosts Michael and Emily Eavis, Radio 1’s new music guru Huw Stephens, Glastonbury stage bookers and music business professionals.
Here is Marie’s opening song, “Blue Jumper”.
From talking to other judges, and taking in my own experience, there seemed to be an abundance of fine young singer-songwriters in this year’s competition, including my own Round 1 choice, Sophie Morgan, the longlisted Jen Simmonds and many more. So, it was a noteworthy achievement by Marie White to secure her Last Eight place and go on to win the thing.
Eight acts chosen from over 5,000 entries, earlier narrowed to a longlist of 90, were given two songs each to stake their claim for the prize of a main stage spot at the June festival. Second place went to MC Che Lingo and third place to indie-pop outfit, Swimming Girls. Both acts really shone on the night and each received a £2,500 Talent Development prize from the PRS Foundation. When announcing the winners, Michael Eavis also decreed that all eight acts will be given slots at this summer’s Festival.
Che Lingo scored with his energy, personality and direct, often witty lyrics. It was good to hear his lines delivered with such clarity. Swimming Girls especially impressed me; genuinely strong songs, visually exciting and purveying a rich, full sound which readily equips the band for a bigger stage.
The remaining programme spanned a range of styles. Shannon Saunders aka iiola offered familiar chord progressions and a current pop vocal style without hitting any peaks. The afro-beat combo, Yamaya, traded frenetic rhythms and two-chord melodies but were a wee bit interminable. Roma Palace offered shades of early Editors and Franz Ferdinand without quite their melodic strength and the live sound was thin compared to Swimming Girls. You had to admire the raw energy and attack of LIINES, while for me Shunaji strayed off key too often when singing rather than rapping.
These may not have been the best eight songs submitted, nor the best eight acts in the competition but they were certainly a decent, representative selection. Subjectivity aside, the annual Emerging Talent Competition continues to serve up some of the best new music you’ll hear and underlines Glastonbury’s premier position as the festival they all want to play. Rock and roll on June!
Glastonbury Festival takes place from 26 – 30 June 2010
Photography by Jason Bryant.