Chichester singer-songwriter Lewis Bennett is eyeing up the big time after securing his place in the national final of Open Mic UK.
At the moment, 23-year-old Lewis is working as a carpenter – a career he’s hoping to leave behind him as his star soars.
After successfully negotiating auditions and the regional final, Lewis impressed the judges at the area final at the Ferneham Hall, Fareham, on Saturday to progress through to the grand final at the NEC in Birmingham on Saturday January 18 – one of just 20 or so acts from an initial entry of more than 10,000.
Lewis, Chichester born and bred, sang Test Me, one of his own songs in a competition designed to root out fresh, original talent. The overall winner of the competition will receive a comprehensive winner’s package as well as the main prize of £5,000 in cash to spend as they wish on the development of their act.
Lewis said music had always been there for him, through the influence of his dad: “He has influenced me listening to things like The Small Faces, The Jam, The Who... He got me into that kind of music.
“I started the guitar when I was 17. When I was 21 I started going out there and doing open mics and things like that.”
Chichester can catch up with Lewis when he takes his mod/indie influences to The Richmond on Saturday, December 28.
Observer arts editor Phil Hewitt was one of the judges on Saturday: “It’s great that we were able to put someone from Chichester through to the big final. Lewis gave a brilliant performance. It would be great for Chichester if he goes on to take the overall title.”
More details: www.lewisbennett.co.uk and www.facebook.com/lewisbennettmusic.