BIMM Manchester’s Jess Kemp has won the prize of a lifetime after impressing a panel of music industry experts – including XS Manchester’s DJ and Inspiral Carpets legend, Clint Boon – to be named the winner of the Manchester Arndale Student Band Competition 2017.

Clint said: “I was knocked out the first time I saw Jess Kemp perform live. She’s not just a world-class songwriter; she’s a fantastic performer. Her career’s off to a great start, and her charm and enthusiasm and charm are infectious. The songs Jess writes are classic, timeless treasures which have the potential to resonate with people right around the globe.”

The 22-year-old singer-songwriter, who hails from Irlam, Salford, beat a host of talented bands and artists to take home first place. She has won a coveted slot at this year’s Kendal Calling and Bluedot festivals, as well as four days recording at Manchester’s renowned Blueprint Studios (past clients include Elbow, Björk, Gorillaz, and Snoop Dogg).

The final was held at the Manchester Arndale in front of hundreds of shoppers and judges, including Gavin Sharp (CEO of Band on the Wall), Tim Thomas (Blueprint Studios), Andy Smith (Director of From The Fields) and the aforementioned Clint Boon.

According to Tim Thomas, choosing Jess was a “no-brainer”.

Talking about her win, the elated singer/songwriter spoke of her excitement at the prospect of her band playing at some of this year’s biggest festivals alongside the likes of Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers and Alt-J:

“It’s a massive shock to us, but it’s beyond exciting. We can’t thank the judges and the organisers enough. The other bands we were up against were massively hard competition – it was an honour to play alongside them. I can’t begin to explain how excited we are to record at Blueprint and play on those stages. We’re hoping to impress the crowd with what we do best…See you in the fields!”

This summer’s festivals will see Jess perform in front of her biggest crowd to date, following past headline appearances at Manchester Academy 3 and Manchester Pride’s main stage. The news of her competition win follows the release of Jess’s stunning single ‘Vondelpark’, which enjoyed a sell-out launch at Salford’s Sacred Trinity Church back in March.

Last weekend Jess was busy performing at both the Dot to Dot and Irlam Live festivals, slotting in various radio interviews and sessions in between. Next up, she’ll be heading back on the road with her band to a host of great festivals around the UK, including the Blackthorn Music Festival in July.

We’re incredibly proud of Jess and all that she has achieved so far. Bring on the summer!

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