There were heavenly sounds as the winners of The News The Singer and The Song competition took to a converted chapel studio as part of their prize.
The competition, run in conjunction with Portsmouth Festivities, saw dozens of young musicians from around the area competing for a prize package that included time in a recording studio.
Judges chose Ed Gibson as the winner in a live final at Southsea’s Wedgewood Rooms. And they were so impressed with the quality of the contestants that they also decided to award a runner-up prize to Ellie Jones.
Then, when it came to arranging the recording time, judge and prize sponsor Tobin Prinz of Prinzhorn Dance School also invited a third contestant, Eloise Keating, along. He took the winners to his studio in a converted chapel in Lewes to record two tracks each
Ed, 18, from Pagham, said: ‘It went really well. We recorded in a church, which gave a really ambient sound.
‘I’ve never done a live recording. When I record at home, I record each instrument separately. I’ve never worked with professionals. Tobin gave me some really good advice and help.
‘Hopefully when my song gets played on the radio, it will generate a bit of publicity. I’m glad I entered the competition. It’s been a really good experience.
Ellie, 17, from Southsea, said: ‘It was such a lovely experience to work with Tobin and to record something completely unedited.
‘I’ve always wanted to record something where it was completely me singing – imperfections and everything. That’s what it’s about.’
Eloise, 17, from Horndean, added: ‘The chapel was an amazing place to record. The acoustics were brilliant. I enjoyed learning from Tobin. He did things like mic-ing up the whole room to get a natural reverb. It was nice getting to know Ed and Ellie as well.’
The career-launching prize package also included a professional photoshoot and the chance for the winner to have their song played on the radio.
All three played at The Southsea Show and Ed also appeared at Wickham Festival.
Samantha Worsey, general manager of Portsmouth Festivities, went along to the recording studio.
She said: ‘Tobin and his team were fantastic. They made the young people feel like artists. He encouraged them to make decisions, learn how the studio works and develop their ear.’
Tobin added: ‘It was a great session and a really enjoyable day.
‘I was so impressed by both the level of their songwriting and the way they performed each song when we turned on the microphones.
‘Their final recordings are outstanding. I’m really proud of them and what they have achieved.’