Open Mic UK - I'm out! :) 

Surely rejection should be the worst thing. Or if not worst, than at least bad. Surely it can't be the absolute best thing that has ever happened to you? 

But it is. I chose to sing Dream Lover at Open Mic and didn't get past the Regional Finals. They've kindly invited me to London to showcase for some industry reps instead, with a view to returning to the competition next year. Too kind, honestly - I was a little better than lame. 

Dream Lover was the song that catapulted my solo career: a semifinalist in the UK Songwriting Contest while BBC Introducing and Future Radio playlisted it. Fantastic. It was a lot of fun. I thought it would be perfect - an upbeat, dance, synth-pop song to burst me into the stratosphere. Surely! 

But the music industry isn't interested in karaoke; they are interested in talent, and someone who knows themselves artistically. Would you put a mysterious, mystical songstress behind an upbeat synth-pop dance tune? I even wore a bright red dress for heaven's sake. 

They were nice about my bad performance: they said they liked my originality, that I looked more like a hotel rep than a singer, that I was out of tune and most crucially, that my voice was suited to "acoustic slow music".

Say... again. "Acoustic, slow music?".

Is it now. 

When you do an EP you should want to thrust it confidently into the hands of as many people as you can. Instead, I would cringe with embarrassment at how electronic and bullshitty it had become. By the time I'd finally released it, I'd changed so much I didn't relate to the songs anymore, but because the dance tunes did better, I always felt obliged to honour them. The fact is, I like 80's music to dance to, but that doesn't mean I have to make it myself. 

Open Mic UK's rejection has single-handedly saved my whole career. I feel like a newly freed bird, free from the leeches of a music that wasn't me. When Dream Lover did well, I was delighted. But it achieved what it did because it was a breath of fresh air compared with all the millions of ballads out there; it's bouncy and fresh, yes it is. 

But it really isn't me

I couldn't even play an instrument when I started recording my EP: the first time I played piano on stage was March 9th of this year. I had the power of solid chords and little more. It was only later when I bought myself a real piano that things started to improve and my sound emerged in full swing: mystical, haunting songs, that draw on seven years singing in choirs rather than my desperate attempt at singing synth-pop. 

My new songs, well, I love them deeply: they talk about other worlds, about the beauty of nature, about human fragility, about my eternal search for home; they are completely and utterly - me. 

Thank you Open Mic. I can now finally let go of synth pop and get on with my career.

One year, one EP, one competition - and I've only just begun. 


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