Fighting back against bullies

Laura Porter and David Tilt, two members of Sunderland band Young Kills and Thrills.
Laura Porter and David Tilt, two members of Sunderland band Young Kills and Thrills.
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TEENAGERS have fought back from the trauma of bullying to forge a music career.

Laura Porter, 17, and Jessica Hennigan, 17, suffered low self-esteem at the hands of bullies, but have found a voice through their passion for making music.

The pair joined forces with friend David Tilt, 17, to form band Young Kills and Thrills.

Now they have been nominated for a Young Achievers Award.

The trio, who describe their sound as electro pop-rock, are now in the process of writing and recording their first album at Arts Centre Washington, and have already played a number of concerts including Sunderland Live Fringe Festival and the High Sheriff’s Awards event.

Shiney Row College student Laura, from Springwell, said: “We were bullied because of the music that we like, but it just made us grow a thick skin and learn to not care what people think.

“It would be amazing to win an award and show people how far we’ve come and hopefully inspire others.”

Dave Murray, who nominated the group after working with them at Sunderland Music Workshops, said: “At first they struggled with learning to play their instruments, but their hard work and determination started to pay off and their first performance was at the Smile Concert.

“I was stunned and really overcome with how well they performed on stage. They really rocked the joint – the audience was going mad.

“What made it better was they played their own songs, which are totally amazing and will get them signed to a major record company one day.

“I have been working with young people for 28 years now and have never been more overcome with the sheer determination of these three young people to achieve their dream of becoming a band.”

Young Kills and Thrills, who are named after a song lyric, have been nominated in the Music and Performing Arts category of this year’s Young Achievers Awards.

Launched in 1992, the awards highlight and celebrate the achievements of young people in Sunderland.

Organised by Sunderland City Council Youth Development Group, the awards pay tribute to young people who make a significant contribution to family, school and community life.

Winners will be recognised at an awards ceremony at the Stadium of Light on Thursday.