TeenStar Singing Competition 2013 Winner Luke Friend performing

17 year old teen star Luke Friend has hit the headlines again – in ITV’s The X Factor! The X Factor judging panel praised the star, including Sharon Osbourne saying “Luke I am crazy about you! You are quite fabulous.” The West Country boy  has just come off the back of being crowned the winner of the singing competition TeenStar, the nationwide competition for teens and pre-teens! The TeenStar singing competition’s Grand Final took place within The O2 in London and gave acts the chance to play in front of a massive crowd and music industry judging panel.

To kick things off, can you give us a funny fact about Luke Friend?
I’m an unintentional comedian and I haven’t washed my hair for quite a long time (I just don’t use shampoo, because I don’t feel the need to).

Lukes hair has become a major talking point on The X Factor too and as a result, in Week Three, X Factor convinced him to wash his hair. 

Thankfully, Luke liked getting his locks cleaned and now he has started washing his hair all the time!

Speaking to The X Factor he said: “I wash my hair every day pretty much,” he reveals. “I shampoo it and everything now. Jamie washed it for me a couple of weeks ago and it looked better. So now I wash it all the time. I just thought it would ruin it, which is why I didn’t do so before. I don’t condition it though, that’s taking it a bit too far.”

Describe yourself in three words?
Crazy, laidback, hippie kid.

You look very different to when you entered Open Mic UK, do you think image plays an important role for any musician?
I think image play’s a very important role, it expresses what you like and what you’re like! (Sounds odd I know) but it shows your attitude whether your wild or calm.

So, what’s life been like for you since winning TeenStar?
It’s been awesome, I’ve had so many people congratulating me which is really lovely and everything’s now on a whole new level and I’ve got loads of new gigs to play.

Do you think TeenStar has helped you gain confidence as an artist?
TeenStar does so many things for an artist, helps you gain confidence, connect with an audience, builds up your emotive process in a song. Yes, definitely.

Did you think you had a good chance of winning?
Never ever! It was an amazing feeling, at the time I was just enjoying the whole amazing experience and meeting some great musicians! Winning it was a massive bonus!

Were you nervous?
A bit, everyone was, but at the same time it was such an exciting feeling.

You entered Open Mic UK in previous years, do you think that has really helped develop you as artist?
Over the years I have developed my own style and image as a musician, these competitions certainly help recognise your own personality and skills that you’re good at and not so good at. Yes it’s helped so much.

What other things have you done to develop your music career?
Songwriting is one of the main aspects of music I have really focused on and this has helped me to develop myself and my music career because you never realise until you share a song with an audience that, the song relates so much to them too, creating the performance to be personal between you and the crowd.

What’s been the single most important thing to date, musically?
Musically, has to be writing and recording my own songs to share with an audience! I love that!

As a result of winning TeenStar you’ve played and impressed at a few festivals this summer?
I adore playing at festivals, they’re always a great time, I was so happy that people enjoyed my own songs at the festivals as well as the covers I did, I can’t wait to play even more in the future!

Which festival was your favourite?
Looe Music Festival, I mean The Darkness and Reef are played. Including loads of other artists, as well as playing music I love watching, being inspired.

Which would be your ultimate festival to play at?
Main Stage at Glastonbury or Leeds festival, I would love that so much, plus Leeds is my birth town so that would be a lovely feeling to play at such an awesome event there. It would mean so much to me personally.

Do you feel being based in the South West has been a help or hindrance?
It’s hard to say because wherever a teenager lives, they always want to be somewhere else sometimes! But songwriting here is so great, as the scenery is just too great to miss for inspiration.

How difficult is it to get your name known as an unsigned performer?
It is a really difficult thing to do but if you want it enough, work hard and are passionate enough about playing to an audience and sharing music, you will succeed.

What importance do you place on your social networks to increase your fan base?
High importance, social media in this day and age is really key to getting a positive and dedicated fan base from around the world!

What tips would you give to those who are trying to get their name out there?
Be yourself and make sure you talk with other musicians who have more experience than you to help you understand more about what to do, keep in touch with people who enjoy your music as much as you can.

What’s Luke Friend’s favourite artists?
Pearl Jam (is my main love), Bob Marley, Cyndi Lauper, Matt Corby, Ben Howard, loads of artists!! All music inspires me in some form.

Describe your music in three words?
Personal, meaningful and happy.

People you respect and admire?
Friends, family and fans!

If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be?
Pearl Jam or Jeff Buckley!

Check out Luke Friend’s winning TeenStar performance here: