Unsigned 19-year-old Bonnie Kemplay wins chance to perform in BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge

19-year-old Bonnie Kemplay from Edinburgh has been named as the winner of BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge Introducing talent search

"I’ve watched Radio 1’s Live Lounge for a long time and have always thought that it would be amazing to get to play one day. I just didn’t expect that day to be this week!" — Bonnie Kemplay


BBC Radio 1

Singer-songwriter Bonnie claimed the top spot ahead of over 10,000 other entries from some of the UK’s very best undiscovered and under the radar musicians, each hoping to land a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform in the world famous Radio 1 Live Lounge. The search, founded as a partnership between Radio 1 and BBC Music Introducing, was conceived as a means of nurturing and developing new talent, helping to propel some of the UK’s best new acts onto a national stage as the music industry begins to emerge from the challenges of the past 12 months.

Bonnie is a current student at the Royal Northern College of Music. She began nurturing her love of performing aged just 11 when she joined a community music club who supported her to explore different instruments and build her confidence. Now aged 19, she has received support from BBC Music Introducing in Scotland for her self-described brand of ‘indie sadcore’, and counts artists such as Soccer Mommy, Julien Baker and Clairo among her inspirations. Bonnie will perform in Radio 1’s Live Lounge on Thursday 29 April 2021, joining the likes of Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Stormzy in the Live Lounge history books.

The entries to Radio 1’s Live Lounge Introducing were reviewed by BBC Music Introducing’s network of local and regional shows, with a panel of industry experts helping to narrow down the longlist. Introducing alumni artists Celeste, Arlo Parks, Sam Fender, Tom Grennan, Wolf Alice's Ellie Rowsell and YUNGBLUD thenjoined Radio 1’s Clara Amfo and Gemma Bradley to judge the top five best tracks and select the overall winner.

The top five artists were (in alphabetical order):

Alfie Indra
Bonnie Kemplay
Cathy Jain
East Anglia based Alfie Indra first got into music after being gifted a ukulele for Christmas at the age of 12. He combines melancholy lyrics with upbeat indie vibes, and counts Easy Life and Lauv among his influences. 17-year-old Cathy Jain, based in South Cheshire, started releasing music made in her bedroom in 2020. Cathy’s brand of blissful alt-pop melodies stem from musical influences including Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish and Frank Ocean. Nottingham based singer/songwriter Jerub moved to the UK from Nigeria aged 10. Now aged 22, he combines powerful vocals, heartfelt lyrics and magical melodies in genre-blending style, taking inspiration from pop, RnB, gospel, soul and folk. Leicester born SOFY first threw herself into music 12 months ago after being placed on furlough. Now based in London, the 23-year-old counts the likes of Jorja Smith, Easy Life and Matt Maltese among her influences.

Bonnie Kemplay says: “When I submitted Blushing for the competition I thought it would be a great opportunity and was worth a shot! Clara was so good at hiding the fact that I’d won that when she broke the news I was genuinely shocked. I’ve watched Radio 1’s Live Lounge for a long time and have always thought that it would be amazing to get to play one day. I just didn’t expect that day to be this week!”

YUNGBLUD says: “I love Bonnie me! I looked at her Instagram and I was like who is that?! She’s a star!”

Arlo Parks says: “What I can see in her is the voice and the potential. And we’re talking about live music and you can imagine kids just going crazy to that!”

Clara Amfo, host of Radio 1’s Live Lounge, says: "Being part of the judging process for our first ever Radio 1 Live Lounge Introducing was a challenging and rewarding process. The top five all had a uniqueness that made us all unanimously excited for their future as artists. With that, Bonnie instantly stood out for her lyrical vulnerability, tender yet powerful voice and production skill that will no doubt continue to flourish and I just know her performance this week is going to gain her a legion new life long fans."

Phoebe I-H and Shereen Cutkelvin, co-hosts of BBC Music Introducing in Scotland, say: “From the moment we first heard Bonnie Kemplay, we were truly gobsmacked by her. Her beautiful melodies, unique voice and utter talent on the guitar make her the perfect candidate to blow us all away in the Live Lounge. This is an amazing opportunity for an artist like Bonnie: we hope it boosts her career and gives her all the success that she deserves. She’s doing Scotland proud and we are overjoyed to be a part of her journey.”

Chris Price, Head of Music for Radio 1, says: “The standard of the submissions to Live Lounge Introducing was exceptional; I’m so excited about the next generation of emerging talent. All five of our shortlisted artists are winners, but congratulations in particular to Bonnie, who shone through as a fully realised artist proposition with a long career ahead of her.”

Aled Haydn Jones, Head of Radio 1, says: “The Radio 1 Live Lounge is known for hosting some of the biggest artists on the planet, so it’s really exciting that we’re able to open the doors up to someone right at the beginning of their journey for the very first time in partnership with BBC Music Introducing. We launched this initiative earlier this year as part of our commitment to finding and developing new talent, and with our top five succeeding ahead of staggering 10,000 entrants, we’re looking forward to seeing where this opportunity takes them next.”

Bonnie will perform an original track, along with a surprise cover, in the Live Lounge from midday, Thursday 29 April on Clara Amfo’s Radio 1 show (Mon-Thurs, 10.30am-1pm). All local BBC Music Introducing shows in England, plus BBC Music Introducing in Scotland, will broadcast a Live Lounge Introducing special on Friday 30 April from 8-10pm, celebrating the top five tracks as well as showcasing some of the best entries from their local area. Across The Line on BBC Radio Ulster will also have a Live Lounge Introducing special (Monday 3 May, 9.30-11.30pm), and The Wales Mix on Bethan Elfyn’s BBC Radio Wales show (Saturday 1 May, 7-10pm) will be dedicated to Live Lounge Introducing, with a Live Lounge Introducing special on Sian Eleri’s show on BBC Radio Cymru (Tuesday 4 May, 6.30-9pm).

More information about Radio 1’s Live Lounge Introducing, including full terms and conditions, can be found on the Radio 1 website.

Source BBC Radio 1

April 27, 2021 4:30am ET by BBC Radio 1  

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