Liverpool singer/songwriter Vanessa Murray will compete against acts from UK Music's rehearsal rooms spaces after local MP Stephen Twigg picked her to go forward in a parliamentary band competition.
Murray, who beat off fierce competition from four other local acts that use the Knotty Ash rehearsal space in Liverpool, now has a shot at performing in the House of Commons and scooping thousands of pounds of musical equipment.
The 17 year old singer was up against r n b act Joe Slater, house artist MC Bubla, rock band Washington and indie influenced Mathew Breen in the local heat of the Rock the House band competition.
West Derby MP and shadow secretary of state for education Twigg was asked to select the best up coming band that uses the rehearsal space by RtH founder, Tory MP Mike Weatherley.
Murray, who has been singing and playing guitar for about six years, will now go forward to compete against a number of other acts from 14 rehearsal spaces around the country that were opened by music industry group UK Music to help disadvantaged kids.
The winner of that heat, judged on March 27 by Sandie Shaw, DJ Mike Read and UK Music boss Jo Dipple, will compete against the best unsigned British artists from around the country at the Westminister live music competition in June.
Murray, who only went solo around 18 months ago and regularly gigs on the city’s acoustic circuit, said that since the Knotty Ash rehearsal space opened a few years ago it has been a major opportunity for musicians like herself to get a start in the career.
“Knotty Ash is a fantastic youth centre and I have played, practised and recorded there many times. The staff are so encouraging and give you great advice and the facilities in the centre are amazing,” Murray said. “We end up going home with a professional recording and I think this is important because we don't have £200 to spend for 8 hours in a studio.
Phil Windever, service and community development team leader at the rehearsal rooms, said all the songs for the competition were recorded in Knotty Ash. “With so many amazing musicians to choose from it was a very hard decision. I think Stephen Twigg liked all the tracks, but it didn’t surprise me Vanessa got through.”
This year Rock the House, which Weatherley established to encourage his MP colleagues in Westminster to learn about copyright, piracy and other issues impacting the music industry, features six winner categories and a vast array of prizes including festival slots, Gibson guitars, a masterclass in sound and the opportunity to release a single on the legendary Cherry Red Records.
The awards ceremony takes place at the House of Commons on June 26 in front of music label executives, celebrities and press.