Your chance to help Sunderland singer

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FUTURE star Ashleigh Lowes is appealing to Echo readers to help make her dreams come true.

Tomorrow the 18-year-old will step into the spotlight at London’s O2 Arena.

Ashleigh Lowes

Ashleigh Lowes

She’ll be singing her heart out to win the grand final of Open Mic UK, a nationwide search for unsigned talent.

And a public vote taking place now could earn her extra brownie points with the judges in the 18 to 25-year-old category.

This week, the High Barnes teenager has already topped the leader board of 30 acts but she still needs text votes to keep her at the top.

Ashleigh, who juggles singing with working as a barmaid at The Ivy House, said: “I didn’t realise I was first in the vote until my mam shouted upstairs to tell me. It’s weird to think that many people are voting for me.

“I slipped to second place today, but it would be lovely if enough people voted for me to win the public vote.”

More than 8,000 people entered this year’s contest, one of the biggest music competitions in the UK for groups and solo artists.

At the final, Ashleigh and the other finalists will perform in front of some of the country’s top producers, label executives, promoters and DJs.

More than £50,000-worth of prizes are up for grabs, including a record contract.

In a bid to impress judges Ashleigh, who is the only act from the North East to make it to the final, will sing one of her own songs, Bright City, as well as The Beatles song Drive My Car.

She is being backed by best friend and former X Factor winner, Joe McElderry who Ashleigh met when the pair studied at Newcastle College together.

Ashleigh has already had a number of gigs in the city including performing at the city council’s Christmas lights switch-on and a New Year’s Eve gig at Signatures restaurant, Sunniside. She has a forthcoming gig at Bar One on January 30, but she hopes Open Mic UK will help her to climb the pop career ladder.

The former Thornhill School pupil said: “Performing at the switch-on was probably one of the best moments of my life so far. I wasn’t expecting that many people to be there, but I loved every minute of it.

“It made me realise that this is definitely what I want to do with my life.”

She added:“I’ve been doing lots of press interviews in the lead up to the final which is really strange, but I’m really enjoying it. At the minute I’m so excited for the finals but I’m sure that will turn to nerves when I perform on Saturday.”

* To help her win the public vote text Open68 to 86222. The vote closes at 10pm tomorrow. For details log on to