JACK GRIFFITH spoke to some of the borough's top music talent vying to get a spot in the area finals of Live and Unsigned - a competition in which an artist or band will ultimately win a lucrative recording contract

ON SUNDAY, bands, solo acts, duos and the rest will descend upon The Beck Theatre to battle it out in the regional finals of the Live and Unsigned Competition, a contest looking to find the country's best undiscovered musical talent.

The bands will be vying for a coveted spot in the area finals. The national finals, to be held at the O2 arena on July 10, will see the best of the best slug it out in front of industry professionals in a bid to bag a lucrative recording contract.

On Sunday, the latest crop of young hopefuls will be performing for the opportunity of a lifetime.

* The Eleven 37s A FIVE-PIECE from Brighton and London who have been wowing audiences at venues in London and Brighton for the past two years with their unique brand of pumped-up funk rock.

In that time they have gained a loyal fan base, with more than 2,700 fans amassed on the social network site Myspace.

The boys, who count Rage Against the Machine and Brighton band Mean Poppa Lean as influences, are regulars at Brighton's Funk Up nights, held at the Latest Music Bar, playing alongside a wide array of acts. They embarked on a nine-date tour last April, travelling the length of the country.

Jamie Topp, the band's frontman who studies design at Brunel

University, in Uxbridge, said the tour gave them the motivation to press on with their musical aspirations, and hopes progress in the competition will boost the profile of the genre.

"It will be good promotion for the band and for the music generally," he said. "We've played a lot of gigs but there is a little bit of added pressure here.

"We are just going to go out, enjoy it, and hope for the best."

**Angie A ANGIE A, of East Finchley, is a vocal coach at Windmill Studio, in Pembroke Road, Ruislip, with dreams of performing her music, energised, soulful pop. She is described on the big stage as a cross between Amy Winehouse and Corinne Bailey Rae.

An experienced singer and performer of 10 years, Angie A took the plunge and auditioned for the competition, which she sees as an ideal opportunity to showcase her music. Angie has already been busy putting her music out there, playing gigs in and around Ruislip. The song that got her to this advanced stage was from her independently released four-track EP, Free.

When asked about her hopes for the contest, she said: "It would be great to get recognition for my songs. I just want to go into these regionals with a level head and hopefully blow the judges away.

"These days, all artists are competing against the X Factor machinery, which makes things that much harder, but I have confidence in my musical ability.

"It would mean so much to me to get through to the next stage - but we will see."

**Charlotte Campbell CHARLOTTE, of the Fairway, Ruislip, is a singer-songwriter who impressed judges in the opening round with her acoustic rendition of Akon's Beautiful.

The 20-year-old has been carting her guitar around London and playing intimate gigs for the past five years, and is looking for that all-important springboard into the music business.

Charlotte, in her first year at Southampton University, said she takes inspiration from the likes of Joni Mitchell, Counting Crows and Alanis Morissette.

She got a taster of performing to a big audience on a fringe stage at Glastonbury - 2008, and said that she was not fazed by the occasion.

"I am not as nervous in front of big crowds. You can see people's faces when playing smaller, more intimate gigs, and it's so much easier to play to an anonymous mass," she said.

"I really want to start a career in music and I am so excited about going back for the regional finals. It's a great opportunity to get heard and it would mean a lot to get through."

* Unity Vibes UNITY Vibes are an eight-piece reggae/ska act with aspirations of bringing 'positive vibes' to worldwide audiences and bringing roots music centre stage.

The last Live and Unsigned audition was one of only a handful of shows the band has played since forming nine months ago, and already they have a bevy of original tracks they are keen to showcase.

They are steadily gaining a devoted fanbase through radioplay on various local stations, and their polished website is a sign they are serious about their musical careers.

'H', the band's backing drummer and vocalist, who hails from Hayes, said he had little hope of getting to this stage.

"All of the people there were quite rock influenced, so it was quite a shock to get through, although I think we offer something a little different, which is always good," he said.

"We want to bring the commercial aspect back to reggae music, and take it to another level."

On assessing the band's chances of progressing, he said: "It would be amazing if we were to get through to the finals, but we are definitely not looking that far ahead. We just want to put ourselves out there and play live as much as possible.

"With each show we are getting better and better, and we're all having a ball."

**Avatar Original AVATAR Original are a four-piece rock band made up of west Londoners Carl and Robert Komuro, Julian Crosswell and David Bean, who mish-mash 90s rock with funk and grunge, combined with emotional melodies and catchy riffs, to produce a unique sound.

Carl Komuro, who lives with his brother, Robert, in Yiewsley, said of the first auditions: "It was all quite fast paced and rushed through, you could really feel the tension in the room amongst everyone who was auditioning."

The band breezed through the opening stages, and Carl said their success has given them renewed motivation to press on.

"To get through was an awesome feeling," he added. "We have worked hard on our image, our style, stage presence and song writing, and we've really stepped it up in the past few months.

"We will just continue to give our all for as long as we are still in."

* For more information, visit www.liveandunsigned.uk.com .