Having been involved in the judging process of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition for a number of years now I’m occasionally asked by artists and bands who have already developed their careers a little bit if I think they are too far advanced with what they are doing to enter the competition.
The reason for this question is that there is a misapprehension that the Emerging Talent Competition is only for bedroom artists who have never released anything, never played a live show or already developed their careers in any way. Whilst the competition does have rules about who can and can’t enter (for example if you are signed to a major label, clearly the Emerging Talent Competition isn’t for you) there are many artists out there who may already have some experience, but are still considered emerging by the rules of the competition and could really benefit from not only the exposure and opportunity to play a main stage at one of the most famous festivals in the world, but also the £5,000 Talent Development Prize award from PRS, which can go a long way to helping the artist take their music to the next level.
This weekend the live final of the Emerging Talent Competition took place and the winner was Josh Barry. Listening to his song Spirit Road it’s easy to understand why the final judging panel chose him unanimously as the winner. His voice is blessed with all the elements of a classic soul singer; that perfect mix of power and emotion with just a hint of rawness. Spirit Road is also a bloody good song.
With a vocal as good as Barry’s you have to wonder how he hasn’t already been discovered, but this is where my previous words about who can and can’t enter the competition come into play. For Barry isn’t a full-blown novice. He’s already been working within the music industry having performed with chart stars Gorgon City, has recorded with Friction (supplying vocals to the 2015 song Freak) and SG Lewis (Silence). Yet clearly Barry still felt the need to enter the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition and judging by the excitable pictures and words on his Facebook, it means the world to him to have won.
Congratulations to Josh Barry, we’ll be looking forward to see where his musical journey takes him next.
There's no Emerging Talent Competition next year (as Glastonbury itself takes a year off), but I'd recommend any self financing artist who considers they've got what it takes to play a main stage at Glastonbury to enter in 2019.
Josh Barry - Spirit Road