Ansdell-based X Factor and Open Mic UK veteran Charlese Allen is one step closer making it third time lucky in her latest stab at fame and fortune.
The 27-year old singer has reached the final 10 of The Big Audition, a talent search in which Pizza Express has teamed up with superstar Jamie Cullum to find the next big name in live music.
As part of her place in the Top 10, Charlese was given a music masterclass with jazz superstar Jamie Cullum, playing a song for him and being given some pointers and feedback on the performance – as well as having praise lavished on her.
“It was a great experience and Jamie was really lovely and full of helpful advice,” said Charlese who now needs the public to vote for her online and win a place in the top five,.
Contestants were originally invited to enter via video and out of around 7,500 entrants, 50 were shortlisted for regional heats.
Charlese was invited to Leeds where she wowed the audience and was filmed for the competition’s website and online voting to find the final 10 performers.
Text and online voting now continues until November 7 to determine who will be in the final five and performing live at the Jazz Club at Pizza Express Dean Street, London where they will be judged by a panel of music experts..
“I heard about the competition from a friend and thought I’d give it a go,” says Charlese, who has built a solid local reputation and today was featured on Radio Lancashire.
At the Leeds heat she took a chance and performed an original song – Turn On The Light – written by her musical partner Matthew Shaw, who she met whilst taking a Diploma in Popular Music and Sound Technology at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.
Having sung since she was a child, Charlese began to take music seriously when she discovered soul, blues and jazz at 17 and for a while performed with her former school pal Little Boots (Victoria Hesketh).
She also took a degree in Spanish for four years and lived in Granada for a year before returning to the Fylde coast. She currently couples performing with teaching Spanish privately and English at Rossall.
“I enjoy teaching but I love singing and that’s what I want to do most, ” she says.
Having previously reached the last round of X Factor’s boot camp and the national final of the Open Mic UK 2009 competition she is now hoping it’s going to be third time lucky with The Big Audition.
“It all looks good on the CV but it would look even better if I could win,” Charlese said.
Details of how to vote can be found on the Big Audition website – www.pizzaexpress.com/thebigaudition – where videos of the Top 10 acts can also be seen.
The winner will receive £5,000 and a regular slot at The PizzaExpress Jazz Club in London.
Ten years ago, Jamie Cullum was singing for his supper and paying his rent by performing three or four times a week for £50 and a pizza at PizzaExpress restaurants all over London.
The performer’s big break came when he was spotted at the PizzaExpress Jazz Club, landing a major record deal, which launched his music career.