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Unsigned Barking musician beats almost 1,000 rivals to reach final of national competition

PUBLISHED: 15:00 31 October 2019

Jennifer Kamikazi from Barking is through to the final of tyre firm Firestone's Road to the Main Stage competition. Picture: Christopher Mathison

Jennifer Kamikazi from Barking is through to the final of tyre firm Firestone's Road to the Main Stage competition. Picture: Christopher Mathison

Archant

An unsigned solo musician has beaten almost 1,000 acts to make it through to the final of a national competition.

Jennifer Kamikazi of Dovehouse Mead, Barking, is down to the final eight in the annual Road to the Main Stage competition sponsored by tyre firm, Firestone.

The 26-year old's fate now lies in the public's hands as they decide the overall winner by voting until November 13.

Jennifer said: "It feels amazing to have reached this far in the competition, particularly when considering how many people entered.

"Growing up in east Africa has shaped my outlook and interpretation on music. Being in that environment, growing up and listening to stories at night time with my family was a big influence."

Raised in Rwanda and Uganda before moving to England as a seven-year old, Jennifer has also taken inspiration from The Bible, which she references in some of her tracks and her own modern psalms.

"I was given the Bible as a young girl and when I started reading it, I found it really freeing. I found myself reading it because it was the most accessible book to me and there are values in there that I treasure," she said.

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A judging panel featuring the competition's official partners - manufacturer Orange Amplification and retailer Professional Music Technology - whittled 950 acts down to eight along with TV and radio presenter Abbie McCarthy.

Jennifer, whose surname translates as 'little queen' in her mother tongue, has a dream to forge a full time career as a musician.

Her success in reaching the final stage of the grassroots competition comes after she made a name for herself playing gigs for Camden based live music venue Sofar Sounds.

She has also hit the one million mark for streams through Spotify and other online music programs.

In the five years since the competition launched, Firestone has given away more than 160 hours of studio recording time.

The 2017 and 2018 winners, Fire Fences and John Nicholas, won the chance to play at the All Points East festival in London, generating exposure and media headlines.

Firestone UK's brand manager, Sofie Bronserud, said: "We wish Jennifer all the very best of luck."

To vote and for more information visit firestone.roadtothemainstage.co.uk

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