Ben Kelly working with D:Ream’s Peter Cunnah
CONTROVERSIALLY dropped from the running in ‘The Voice’, Ben Kelly has shrugged off the slight to his talent and this weekend will be packing the ballroom in The Belfray Country Inn to the rafters.
His exit from the BBC talent show caused shockwaves when mentor Jessie J chose outsider Ruth-Ann St Luce to go through to the final instead of Ben. At the time it was the biggest shock of the show, but Ben’s professionalism in the face of adversity has only added to his appeal.
Determined to make it in the music business, before Ben had even appeared on The Voice, the singer was known for his video posts on YouTube, where they have attracted thousands upon thousands of hits.
Speaking to the Sentinel yesterday, Tuesday, Ben said that far from being a negative thing, his appearance on The Voice had been “a great experience overall”.
“It has got me a lot of attention and really raised my profile. People are starting to recognise me. Just recently a man was walking past the house as I was leaving and he turned and said ‘Aren’t you the guy who was on The Voice?’,” he says.
Ben has been living in North London for three years now, but originally came from close to the Culmore Point area of the district.
Since leaving home he has completed his degree, obtaining a 2:1 in English from UCL, graduating in September, and since that time has focused very heavily on following his dream career, singing.
“It is hard work, and I know I am taking a bit of a gamble and have put all my eggs in one basket, but I really feel like it is what I should be doing.,” said the young singer.
Ben spring-boarded himself onto the small screen after he auditioned for the show. He recalled: “I don’t remember how I learned about it, but I just went to the open auditions and decided that this was something I would like to do. I only got to work with Jessie J in a one-on-one but the other judges, Tom Jones and Will I Am were great and getting their feedback was just incredible. Singing feels like this is what I should be doing . It just feels natural.”
Currently working on an an EP, Ben believes it will blossom into a full album in the fullness of time: “I have been working on a few tracks with Peter Cunnah who was in D:Ream and one of the next events I will be doing is to perform at the launch event for the City of Culture on May 30 in St Columb’s Hall, which I am excited about.”
Supporting local talent is a must for the management team at The Belfray, Brian Loughlin and John Edgar, who pride themselves on showcasing the best of everything north west.
“Since we made it known that we had booked Ben to appear in The Belfray Bistro we have had that many enquiries about the show that we have had to move the show into The Belfray Ballroom. We are expecting large numbers on Saturday night, which is wonderful because Ben is such a talented young singer,” said Brian.
“We believe in community and on Saturday night we are throwing open the doors of the ballroom so people can see Ben Kelly for free. We know that Ben will be making an official visit to the city so we are delighted that he had consented to take time out of his hectic schedule to appear at The Belfray.
“We have been astounded by the interest Ben’s appearance has generated. The switchboard has been lit up with calls, some of them from as far away as Belfast, so we are expecting a large crowd. If the demand is anything to go by people are going to have to get here early. I have heard Ben sing and he is just fantastic. It is apparent to anyone who knows him that singing is all he wants to do in life. He is very determined to succeed in the music industry and we wish him well.”
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Weather for Londonderry
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 10 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West