Vocal coach to the stars nurtures local talent

A West Hampstead vocal coach is making waves in the UK music industry as part of a new BBC talent show which sees judges choose contestants in a blind audition.

Joshua Alamu, of West End Lane, has worked with artists including Will Young, Beverley Knight and Joss Stone, and on TV shows such as Pop Idol for ITV and Dance-X Judge for the BBC, and is to feature on The Voice due to air on the BBC next spring.

The 34-year-old vocal coach said: “It’s definitely nothing like The X Factor. They’re looking for the kind of voice that will make them turn round and go ‘wow’.”

So far, the team behind the show has auditioned 22,000 singers across the UK.

Confirmed judges are singer-songwriter Jessie J, will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, singer Tom Jones and Danny O’Donoghue, the lead singer of band The Script.

Mr Alamu said: “The winner will be signed to Universal. It’s an amazing opportunity, even for those that don’t win.”

It is for this reason that he pushed forward some of his own pupils he has coached as part of a joint venture based in Barnet called Success Express, set up with Lorraine Solomans, 50, from Pinecroft Crescent in Barnet.

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She is a vocal coach with 15 years experience and through the project they conduct workshops for upcoming talent and give them a platform to express themselves and learn new skills.

Mr Alamu said: “It has grown into this massive thing where we’re discovering amazing talent. We’re able to point them in the right direction and they’re being noticed by all the right kinds of people.”

Success Express accepts people of all ages and professions, and sees them take part in three intensive workshops where they get vocal coaching and honest advice as to whether they have the potential to pursue a career in the music industry.

The third and final workshop was a showcase where they were given the chance to perform in front of an audience and a panel of judges from the music industry who give them constructive feedback at Proud Camden in Chalk Farm Road, on Sunday (December 18).

Mr Alamu said: “Star quality is something some people have and others don’t. It doesn’t mean that if you don’t have that star quality, you can’t work in the industry.

“We need really good backing vocalists, demo singers, cruise ship singers and all that kind of stuff.”

He added: “A lot of the younger guys are all going for this one spot - the Leona Lewis spot. You can’t all have it and there’s where a lot of the problem is, and that’s where some of the education needs to change.”

Both Mr Alamu and Mrs Solomans hope to continue Success Express, which they devote their time to for free, and are keen to secure funding and introduce it to a wider audience.

For more information go to www.success-express-music.com