Singer’s rock contest glory

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It’s usually bills of a different kind which are discussed in the Houses of Parliament...

But a teenage singer-songwriter has beaten competition from all over the country to top the bill at a special concert to be held there next month.

As reported in The Gazette last month, 13-year-old Leoni Kennedy had won through to compete in the Rock the House competition – a contest organised by MPs designed to give unsigned musicians more exposure.

And, after wowing judges in London to come top of the pile among the under-19 solo artists to have entered, she will now get to perform on the Terrace of the House of Commons next month.

Leoni, a pupil at Millfield Science and Technology College, in Thornton, said: “It’s incredible, I’m speechless.

“After I’d performed I overheard the judges and they said, ‘That song was really well written’. I was overwhelmed.”

Leoni reached the finals after submitting an original composition to Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard, who nominated her to a judging panel of industry executives.

Despite finishing second in the overall contest at The Bedford pub in Balham, London, Leoni qualified as the highest ranked solo artist.

Describing the moment the result was announced, she added: “I was nearly in tears and my mum was in tears.

“I love London as well, it was my first time there.”

Leoni has been invited to attend the over-19 event at the House of Commons on July 1, where she will be presented to the audience as the under-19 winner.

Her mum, Katrina Lyall, added: “She was buzzing, it’s crazy.”

The national Rock the House contest was founded by Hove MP Mike Weatherley in 2010. One of its main intentions was to raise the issue of intellectual property rights in music. The competition’s patrons include rock legends Brain May, from Queen, and Alice Cooper.