Lincoln boy to sing in national talent competition

A local boy is one performance away from singing at London’s O2 arena, after getting through to the area finals of a national singing competition.


Jamie Chatterton is one performance away from singing at London’s O2 arena. Photo: Andrew Benge

12-year-old, Jamie Chatterton, from Lincoln, impressed a panel of judges and a live audience at the regional finals of Open Mic UK 2012 in Dewsbury last month.

Chatterton beat singers from all over the area in the under 16’s category, charming his way through a performance of “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5. He flashed cheeky grins at the audience as he sang – so much so that the host of the competition called him “the future lady-killer.”

Chatterton told The Linc performing is something he has always loved: “I started singing when I was about four, singing songs I knew and from TV shows. The first time I really sang in front of people was in my school talent show. The first year I did it I came first, and I realised then that I liked singing.”

He’s already had plenty of practice – Chatterton has taken part in theatre productions in Lincoln, and even made it through to the televised rounds of “Britain’s Got Talent.” It was something that mum, Sarah Chatterton says was nerve-wracking: “As a parent, it’s the most hideous experience I’ve ever been through. You just wish you could do it for them, but you can’t. You’re just praying that you don’t get buzzers – they’re very loud!”

He hasn’t stopped there. After singing his way through the regional finals of Open Mic UK 2012, Chatterton will now be up against performers from all over the UK, if he makes it through to the grand final at London’s O2 arena.

Jamie says that despite the pressure of judges and an audience, he enjoyed performing in the Open Mic competition: “I was more relaxed with those judges; it was harder on BGT because they were celebrity judges and big names. I wasn’t as nervous as I was and it was a smaller crowd, so it was a bit easier.”

He continued: “I didn’t think I was going to get through the last round. Looking at the sound checks, everyone was top notch. I just went out there and did all I could really. There were a lot of good ones and a lot of good ones have gone through!”

Previous winners of the Open Mic UK competition include Birdy in 2008, who hit number 17 in the UK music charts with a cover of “Skinny Love”.  The winner receives £5,000 towards starting up a career in music, along with smaller prizes in each category and time in recording studios up for grabs.

Chatterton says that he is completely focused on the future: “This is what I want to do. I either want to do this, performing arts, or singing, or go into the RAF like my mum or dad.”

Although confident on-stage, he laughs as he talks about the attention he gets as a singer: “I get a bit embarrassed when people talk about my videos. I don’t like watching myself. I always think ‘that looks stupid.’ I just think how can I make it better? I don’t like it when my parents are talking to their friends about my singing as well; I just think it’s a little bit awkward!”

While he has his toes dangling in pop-stardom, Chatterton still has school to think about: “Because I’ve gone up to year eight, this year it’s getting harder to stay on top of.  I dance three times a week, play football twice a week and have scouts once a week. It’s the football I really miss!”

Currently playing the part of Friedrich in the County Operatic and Dramatic Society’s “The Sound of Music” production at the Theatre Royal means he has even less spare time, although it’s something he loves doing: “I’ve met new people and we’ve got really close. We’re all one big family now.”

However, Chatterton says that family and friends to help keep him focused: “My best friend came with us to watch and he’s really supportive. Especially my teachers and my music teacher.  Now she puts me in school concerts. She asks, but she doesn’t really ask. She just says: ‘I hope you’re doing the concert this year, you’d better be!’”

Chatterton explained that he is already preparing for the next stage of the Open Mic UK competition: “We’ve chosen a different song, and we’ve got backing dancers this time with my sister and a couple of girls from my dance school.”

However, Sarah says that it will be even harder this time round: “We go back to Dewsbury Town Hall on Saturday, November 24th for the area final. You’ve got all the acts from the regionals, and that’s two from each age group. You’re talking people from Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Newcastle all coming down who have got through their regional finals.”

When asked if he thinks he could make it to London, Jamie’s eyes light up: “I’d be amazed to be honest. I’d be a bit blown away because the 02 is a big arena. I’d be a little bit scared!”

The area finals for the Open Mic UK 2012 competition start from Sunday, November 18th until December 9th. You can support Jamie and see his performance here.

The Lincoln CAODS production of The Sound of Music is currently showing until Saturday November, 10th. Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal box office.

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