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Orange unsignedAct with Sony Ericsson Finalists – Toby Sebastian

By on Friday, 16th January 2009 at 11:00 am

Toby Sebastian (side)Local lad (well, to me here in Oxfordshire) Toby Sebastian has won himself a whole army of (mostly female) fans. He started learning the guitar 7 years ago when he was living in Andalucia, with the exoticness certainly shining through.

At just 16 he’s the youngest one left on Orange unsignedAct with Sony Ericsson, and has achieved an amazing amount considering how young he is. We caught up with him earlier in the week to sit down and have a chat about how things are going…

How are you finding balancing school work and the show?

Balancing school and the show.Very difficult. School has been so supportive and helpful.I nearly missed last term completely and I know I’ve messed up 2 drama productions as well as infuriating my rugby teacher.You know what sports teachers always say, There’s no I in TEAM ! My drama teachers are my best friends and my music teacher in fact most of my teachers are like friends but that won’t help with the studying.I cannot focus on school essays when this is going on. There’s filming every week plus a different song to do each week depending on what the judges told you the week before. Everyone tells you to do something different and literally everyone has their own opinion and they like you to hear it.So yes its more exhausting than you might think.

Being the youngest act on the show, does that give you any more pressure / less pressure?

Being the youngest is great there’s no pressure being young. I don’t notice any age difference really in the competition apart from the fact that on tour I couldn’t go out clubbing with the other acts! -I’m lucky to be in my first year of A levels because 2nd year exams are starting now and that would be tough.

If you could do a duet with any artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

It would be Jimi Hendrix and I would have kept him awake on the night he died. Ray Charles or Frank Sinatra but I honestly don’t think I could add much to their sound.

Are you close to any of the other artists behind the scenes?

I get on great with Hip Parade and Bo and Scarlets; there hasn’t been anyone I didn’t get on with …..I think they must have got rid of the prima donnas early on in the show.We wouldn’t be very good on Big Brother because we have all got on for the whole show.

Want to get more of a feel for what Toby Sebastian really sounds like? Have a watch and a listen below:


Orange unsignedAct with Sony Ericsson – The Finalists

By on Monday, 12th January 2009 at 6:33 pm

Orange unsignedAct with Sony Ericsson - JudgesThe search for the U.K’s best unsigned artist is nearing its end this January as Channel 4’s hit show, Orange unsignedAct with Sony Ericsson, ever approaches the anticipated live final in a couple of weeks time. Later this week Phil will be bringing you lucky readers interviews with the finalists of the show, but before that, let me give you a little background on the competition labelled ‘the indie X Factor’.

The show, which airs every Sunday at 12:30pm on Channel 4, is presented by tousle-haired XFMer Alex Zane and fittingly comes complete with a star-studded judging panel consisting of Blur bassist come cheese enthusiast, Alex James, DJ slash TV presenter, Lauren Laverne and record-label maestro Simon Gavin. Travelling the nation, the judges encountered tonnes of unsigned artists hoping to gain the Universal Records deal that is tastefully up for grabs – along with a nice £60,000 to boot. They saw the good, the bad and down right evil – but with a little help from the public they managed to nail it down to four artists – Bo Bruce, Hip Parade, Tommy Reilly and Toby Sebastian. The quartet will battle it out over the next couple of weeks alongside a lucky fifth act, Scarlet Harlots, who were revoted back into the show Sunday by us viewers (keeping up?).

So, to help you decide who you’ll be voting to put through to the grand finale on January 25th, let me give you a little background on the five artists left in the competition.

Bo Bruce (side)Bo Bruce

Don’t be fooled by Bo’s feisty front (she’s famously had a spat with judge Lauren Laverne on the show). The Wiltshire singer-songwriter contrastingly possesses an angelic voice, who’s folky pop has seen her gain a coveted place in the semi-final.

Hip ParadeHip Parade

Indie Glaswegian lads Hip Parade have already gained support slots with Revered and the Makers and Zane Lowe in their active 4 year career – but the band have yet to bag a record deal. They’ll be hoping to get just that, though, this January if you pick up the phone and vote for them this week!

Tommy Reilly (side)Tommy Reilly

Hip Parade aren’t the only Glasgow-based artist in the show this year – acoustic singer-songwriter Tommy Reilly also calls the Scottish city home. Reilly’s Bob Dylan influenced pop has certainly been a hit with the judges on the show – but what about you?

Toby SebastianToby Sebastian

Toby Sebastian could potentially win the prize for the youngest contender to ever have entered the competition at just 16 – but his acoustic soul has certainly got him far – to the semi-finals, infact. Certainly a brooding talent, Toby’s cites Damien Rice and Otis Redding as just two of his influences.

Scarlot HarlotsScarlet Harlots

Despite Lauren Laverne’s protests, Scarlet Harlots were eventually voted out of the competition by the judges a few weeks back. Sunday’s show, however, saw the experimental punk-pop troupe voted back in by a seemingly adoring public. Can Scarlet Harlots recreate last year’s wild card Envy and Other Sins’ win, and come back triumphant to take the title?


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