The 02 Arena beckons for two girls in national singing competition

JPCT 08-01-13 S13020630X Sammy Foster, young actress, Henfield  -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 08-01-13 S13020630X Sammy Foster, young actress, Henfield -photo by Steve Cobb
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Two local girls will be competing in the regional finals of a national singing competition with a chance to perform live at the O2 Arena.

Lucie Francis, 15, from Billingshurst and Sammy Foster, 11, from Henfield have been given the big thumbs up by judges at the Open Mic UK auditions and will be performing at the live regional finals on October 26.

Open Mic UK 2013 (organised by Future Music) is the biggest music competition in the UK for singers, and this year’s ‘under 16s’ category will see two talented local girls battle it out for the number one spot.

Lucie said she has ‘mixed emotions’ about coming so far in the competition.

“There are some days that I really look forward to it and I’m fine, but there are others where I panic when I realise what I have achieved and what’s ahead of me.

“I’m passionate about singing because I find it’s a way of expressing myself and getting my emotions across to others. I have performed on the stage almost constantly since I was seven, and the buzz from a standing ovation is


To prepare for the next round Lucie is working with her vocal coach Sarah Esser and developing her image.

“Image matters just as much as the vocals,” she added.

In preparation for her performance, Sammy has been rehearsing at a recording studio to get accustomed to singing with a microphone and


“Singing makes me feel happy and relaxed. If I sing when I’m sad it cheers me up,” said the 11-year old.

A pupil at Millais School in Horsham, Sammy missed out on last year’s competition due to her role in the West End’s Billy Elliot, but she is determined to go all the way.

“I’m really, really excited. I’m now one step away from London finals at the O2 Arena.”

The latter stages of the competition will also provide acts with the opportunity to impress many guests from record labels, agencies and the entertainment industry, as well as judges from national radio and regional press.

Events coordinator and head of Future Music, Chris Grayston, said: “Every year that we hold this competition the bar is raised and the quality gets higher and higher.”

Open Mic UK is presented by Future Music - the company behind the development of artists such as Warner Music’s Birdy, Jahmene Douglas and Lucy Spraggan.