As we joined the back of the long winding queue on chilly Camden Lock in late August 2012 with over 300 other acts, little did we know that we would be starting a successful six month journey that would end up taking Ellamore all the way to The O2.
After many rehearsals and preparation, we took our minute long acapella to our much anticipated first audition for Open Mic UK. After a long wait on Camden Lock, along with a lot of other hopefuls, we were finally inside the Dingwalls Venue. Armed with our passion for music, tight harmonies and red lipstick, we walked on stage and sang our hearts out. This would be the first of three audition stages we would compete in and successfully move onto the next each time. The ultimate goal was to make it through to the Grand Final at the O2. After being successful in the first heat, regional and area final, our goal was now in reach. We were going to be performing at the O2 on the 19th January 2013.
We had all discussed in the lead up to the final that we knew the competition and talent of other acts would be high and that although we of course wanted to win and believed we had as much chance as everyone, the main thing we wanted was at least to make the top three of the final result on the night.
After meeting in the snowy car park on the morning of the Grand Final, we made our way into the main entrance. Of course, we took a moment for a photo opportunity with “The O2” sign behind us. We were taking it all in and appreciating every moment as we had worked so hard to get to this point.
We met our guitarist Colin, and percussionist Sam. Both of which had played a part in securing our place in the final and had rehearsed with us intensely in the lead up to this day.
We all signed in at the reception, took our backstage passes and were shown to the stage area where we would now be sound checking and would later be performing.
Walking through the doors of the auditorium, nerves, excitement and anticipation kicked in for all of us. We looked around at the other acts, some of whom we had met before. Others were new faces, new talent and ultimately new competition. We really enjoy sitting through the sound checks and listening to other acts. It was whilst chatting to some familiar faces about their previous performances and experiences of the competition so far, that we could really sense the support and empathy amongst the competitors and it really felt like we all knew we were in the same boat. Although we all, of course, wanted to win, we also wanted to support each other.
As the curtain call drew closer, all of the acts started to pull on their outfits, take out their makeup bags and have that all in important one last practice. Every inch of the backstage area held a vocalist practising their scales, a guitarist tuning his instrument, or a group like us perfecting our harmonies that we pride ourselves on.
Now was the time to also hand in all of our press cuttings and radio recordings as proof of the exposure that we had been gathering in the lead up to the Grand Final. By gaining as much exposure as you could, you would be put in the running to win the Open Mic Exposure award. This was also a part of the competition that we were eager to be successful in as we had already won it in our area final. On winning the exposure award, you would walk away with free recording studio time. This is a blessing to any artist.
As the competition got into full swing and each competitor disappeared from the backstage area to take their well earned place on the stage, Ellamore were already in performance mode and by the time our turn came around, we were definitely ready and anxious to give it our all.
Walking out on to the stage of the O2 to a roar of applause from loved ones and fans who had so kindly taken the time to come and support us is a precious memory that will stay with us always. We had hoped but never expected to make it this far in such a tough contest. The standard was second to none and here we were still standing in a competition that had attracted 9000 acts to compete.
When the welcoming applause died down the anticipation for our first note was upon us. Spotlight shining down and smoke circling the stage we awaited our cue from Colin. As soon as Penny hit the opening note and the rich three part harmony followed, the percussion kicked in and the crowd went wild. This instantly gave us an adrenalin boost and we gave it our absolute all.
After coming off stage we were happy with our performance but with the usual self criticism that comes with being perfectionists we went over and over the whole three and a half minute performance in our heads, hoping that it had been enough to get us at least into the top three.
After an anxious wait, all acts were called to the stage area for the final results to be read out.
The first award to be presented was the Exposure award that we so desperately wanted to win. We are happy to say that we did! We were awarded a whole day of recording and mixing in a London studio and we couldn’t have been happier.
We all waited anxiously as the final results were read out. We are pleased to announce that Ellamore were awarded 3rd place. Ellamore were the top girl group out of 9000 acts from the whole of the UK who auditioned, won two exposure awards and have had an overwhelming amount of industry interest during and since the competition. We accomplished what we set out to do and are extremely proud of everything we have achieved.
We would like to thank our amazing supportive families, friends and fans for supporting us and encouraging us during not only this competition but throughout our time in Ellamore so far.
We have gained such immense support from our local communities and we cannot thank them enough. A special thank you must go out to Emma Rigby of Love Your Door Step, based in Enfield and Lucy Hall, both of whom have been behind us throughout the competition and have remained a strong support to the band. Also a special thanks to Reading4U radio DJ James Crowther for playing our music and being our number 1 fan.
“It’s all about the music and our passion for singing” is our mantra and that passion is still going strong. There is a lot more to come from Ellamore J
Why not find out more about the brilliant Ellamore and like their facebook Page
You can listen to Ellamore live this Thursday as they go and meet James their Number 1 fan and join him on his radio show click here to listen 2pm Thursday 28th February 2013