TEENAGE singing star Ashleigh Lowes has scooped a national award after wowing industry judges at the 02 Arena.
The 18-year-old, from High Barnes, was one of a select few singers chosen from the thousands who applied to win a place in the Open Mic contest final, which took place at the London super venue at the weekend.
Ashleigh, who works part-time at the Ivy House pub, won the Exposure award meaning she has won sponsorship to spend time in a top recording studio.
She impressed judges including Radio 1’s Ras Kwame, BGM’s Michael King, Future Music’s Chris Grayston, The editor-in-chief of Flavour magazine Annika Allen and singers Dane Bowers and Shola Ama, with her self-penned track Bright City.
The former Thornhill School pupil explained: “Performing at the O2 was amazing, the best experience of my life so far. There was so many people there. The atmosphere was electric.
“I was really shocked to win the Exposure category and I hope it will be a stepping stone to bigger things.”
The teenager competed in the 18 to 25-year-old category of the contest for emerging talent after impressing judges in regional heats.
More than 8,000 people entered this year’s contest, one of the biggest music competitions in the UK for groups and solo artists.
Ashleigh said: “I had some really positive feedback. They said they loved my image and said my song had an original, pop feel to it.
“Dane Bowers said he loved my performance which was amazing. I’ve already had messages from people asking about gigs.”
Ashleigh, who is performing at Bar 1, Stockton Road, on January 30, was backed in her campaign to make her mark in Open Mic by best friend Joe McElderry, who she met when they both studied at Newcastle College.