BIG year, BIG name for young Colchester chap Rhys Butterworth-Bowman coming up. It all starts with the Grand Final of Osupen Mic UK taking place at the O2 Arena on Saturday 19th. The 12 year-old [blimey] has managed to make his way through a tough round of regional heats, to compete it out on the London stage in front of a music industry crowd.
We wish him well.
But first, what of the back-story?
The singer / songwriter has been playing the guitar since the age of seven. Rhys has been gigging around town from the age of ten, including a Main Stage appearance at the first Colchester Free Festival back in 2010.
Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Speaking to The Chronic, Rhys added in a little more detail:
“I am currently at Stoke By Nayland Middle School in Year 8. I live in a small village in Leavenheath and I have been gigging, writing and singing since I was ten but started guitar when I was seven. My first guitar teacher [Tony Gibson] said to me: Rhys, well you missed the first lesson so lets see if you can catch up.”
Straight to the top of the class it seems.
2012 came to a close with Rhys being crowned the overall winner of Bures Music Festival. But his big break looks like coming on Saturday 19th in front of the record producers, radio presenters and agents at the O2: Suits and sharks sitting on the front row. We’re sure that his Sunny Colch gigging background will have prepared Rhys well.
But how did Rhys manage to make it to the O2 stage?
“I got involved with the competition Open Mic UK because a local band called Two Steps Twice played last year and they were telling me about it. I decided to give it a go, but I so almost didn’t!”
Which in future years may just become one of those rock ‘n’ roll What If stories on par with the Beatles and EMI almost missing out.
And here’s the question that ALL musos hate answering: tell us about your style, Rhys:
Sounds good to us. You can judge by yourself by watch Rhys strum out some tunes over on his youtube channel.
But you can take the boy out of Britain’s Oldest Recorded and place him on the stage of the O2, but you can’t take…
What kind of reception has Rhys been receiving around Colchester?
“I have amazing support from around the town, I was a bit worried people wouldn’t take me seriously because of my young age but they did! Especially from Andy Winmill who has helped with many gigs and has given me great support.”
Big up the Winmill Man.
And what makes Sunny Colch so special when it comes to helping new talent to come through?
“I think it is because everybody is so encouraging and there are so many opportunities, plus the crowd in Colchester are always brilliant!”
And so fingers crossed for Rhys as he represents the town on stage at the O2 on Saturday 19th. Beyond the Open Mic final, what does the future hold for Rhys?
“My musical ambitions are to improve my songwriting ability, get involved with many charity events, perform as much as I can and maybe have someone give me an opportunity to show the public what I can do!”
Job’s a good ‘un.
You can also view his progress on Open Mic UK over here.
Plus there’s also a selection of his songs in the Soundcloud playlist below.
BIG year, BIG name, BIG up yourself, etc.
Good luck, Rhys.