• Singer and guitarist Tom ‘Mouse’ Smith

Talented Sunderland teens perform at Sun FM's 20th Birthday Bash

Sunderland talent competition finalists shared the stage with JLS singer Aston Merrygold at Sun FM’s 20th Birthday Bash, which was held on Sunday 7 May.

The young finalists from local housing association Gentoo’s Genfactor 2016 competition showcased their talent on the main stage to help Sun FM celebrate 20 successful years of broadcasting and to mark the launch of the 2017 Genfactor open auditions.  

Singer and guitarist Tom ‘Mouse’ Smith, 13 from Houghton-le-Spring won second place in the competition last year and has since received a Sunderland Young Achievers’ Award for Music and Performing Arts.

He performed at the event in Keel Square on 7 May, along with other finalists Leonie Taylor and Lewis Conlin, 16, who performed at Sunniside Live music festival 2016 in front of 3,500 people alongside northern funk band Smooth and Turrell, Shola Ama, Alison Limerick and headliners the Brand New Heavies.

Michelle Meldrum, Executive Director, Gentoo Operations, said: “We are delighted that our previous finalists have been given so many opportunities to showcase their talents. Many of our finalists have also performed at Gentoo and corporate events, helped us to raise money for charity as well as perform in some of our sheltered schemes, really giving something back to the local community. We are so proud of how far our Genfactor finalists have come and of their achievements since taking part.

“The amount of talent that has come out of Sunderland since we launched the Genfactor has been amazing and we are really excited to see what new talent that Sunderland has to offer. As well as opening up doors in performing arts, taking part helps to build the young peoples’ confidence and realise their potential.”

Gentoo is now on the lookout for new talent made in Sunderland. The Genfactor is now in its ninth year and is looking for singers, bands, dance acts, choirs, musicians and comedians aged 11-18 who live or attend school or college in Sunderland. 

This is an opportunity for young people to showcase their talents, learn new skills and meet new friends. 

Open auditions are taking place from 10am until 2pm on Tuesday 30 May and Wednesday 31 May at Bede Tower, Sunderland, and 10am until 2pm on Thursday 1 June at Washington School, Spout Lane.

If you think you’ve got the Genfactor then this could be your chance to shine.