Chichester-based indie folk duo Cynosure have made it through to the national grand finals of this year’s Open Mic UK competition at Birmingham’s NEC.
They were among the select few who made it through from the southern area finals at Fareham’s Ferneham Hall.
Going through to the grand final in the 16-19 age category are 16-year-old students Ella Rusbridger and Carrie Linney who make up Chichester-based Cynosure, reworking contemporary songs in their own unique style, interspersed with their original material.
This year has seen them perform at the Arundel Festival, West Dean Chilli Festival and at Westminster Abbey (in their school choir), but one of their favourite activities remains busking on the streets of Chichester.
Both sing and play various instruments (keyboard, guitar, ukulele, cajon).
For the southern area final in Fareham, they performed a new song, Wait A While, written only a few days before the event.
Ella said: “We thought the competition would be a good fun experience for both of us as we’ve not done anything like this before.
“We weren’t sure where it would take us, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised so far – getting through the audition in Brighton in September, then performing at the regional finals in October, before winning through to the southern area finals last weekend.
“We have known each other since the age of seven and have always sung together – for fun and in school choirs. We performed together in a school competition last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to form a more permanent duo called Cynosure.”
As for preparing for the area finals, Carrie said: “We decided to write an original song for this round, as we thought it would make us stand out, and we wanted to make sure our instruments were different than last time so we used a guitar and egg shakers (instead of a piano and a cajon, used in the previous round.)
“We practised at any opportunity (free time during school) and multiple changes were made to the song to make sure it complied with the rules for this round. We chose to have part of the song a capella, to make it stand out.”
Ella added: “Carrie was really nervous beforehand, but I managed to calm her down in time for our performance. Overall I think our performance went really well and I’m really proud of us and the things we’ve achieved!”
Carrie was pleased with the way things went: “I think the performance went well, because once we got on stage, we had fun and it wasn’t scary like I thought it was going to be.”
As for a song for the grand final, they girls admit they have no idea yet: “We would like to write another song specially for it, continuing with our upbeat and happy mood like our other songs.
“We would ideally like it to be something that will make the audience take interest from the start, but for it to also stick in their heads after we’re done!”
Ella added: “Music is very important to me, for many reasons. I’ve always grown up loving music and drama and just performing in general.”