Wigan lad on Simon Cowell’s radar

A WIGAN schoolboy has caught the eye of music mogul Simon Cowell after he was declared the winner of a prestigious singing competition.

Jake McKechnie has won the pre-teens section of TeenStar, as he sang a funky remix of John Newman’s Love Me Again, Get Lucky from Pharrell and Florence and the Machine’s You Got The Love, in a final at Birmingham’s NEC.

Young singer Jake McKechnie

Young singer Jake McKechnie

The Orrell 10-year-old sang in front of a panel of eminent judges, including Ivor Novello award-winner and one half of the garage duo Artful Dodger, Mark Hill; CeCe Sammy, a celebrity vocal coach who has worked Diana Ross, Simon Cowell and Leona Lewis; and Sony Music talent scout James Dillamore.

Cowell’s agent, from Syco Entertainment, expressed interest in Jake and invited him to sing at future events.

As part of his prize, Jake will be given time in a recording studio, publicity and a musical showcase. There were two other categories - mid-teens and late-teens - plus an overall winner, who was Emily Middlemas from Glasgow.

Jake, a Highfield St Matthew’s Primary School pupil, said: “It was cool to perform at such a big venue. I was not that nervous because I enjoy singing and so I didn’t think about the large crowd. I never thought I’d win my age category - I thought maybe I would come third, but never first!

“I’m so pleased to have won and I hope to carry on singing and further my career.”

Giving feedback on the TeenStar website, judges said: “Jake already has a grasp on using expression and dynamics to deliver a performance. Vocal control is exceptional. He needs to stay this far ahead of his competition as he grows up as he is one to watch.”

Proud grandad Mike Mason said: “Jake has been absolutely awesome. He was leaps above everyone else and he received great comments.

“Simon Cowell’s agent was there and wanted to do something with him. He has been invited to sing down south. They were shocked that when he auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year, he did not get past the junior producers, as they were sure he would have got on the show.

“It is a shame Jake didn’t get to be the overall winner of the whole competition, but to be in the top three out of 9,000 entrants is still amazing.”