Bradford singing sensation, Faheem Ashraf has been crowned the winner of a national singing competition.
The 21 year old Wibsey soul singer managed to beat over 9,000 hopefuls in the 2014’s Open Mic UK competition.
Faheem, who works for Virgin Media, began singing when he was 15 years old having been inspired by Lionel Richie and Boys II Men. It was the support from his family that encouraged him to pursue music. “I grew up listening to my mum sing and my granddad was a professional singer. I used to sing on my mum’s karaoke machine in my bedroom, but thanks to my mum she pushed me to sing publicly.”
For many years, Faheem had been trying to make himself known as a singer. He was busking in Leeds, and entering local competitions. “I was performing anywhere I could. I have done a few gigs, local charity events and performed in shopping centres like Kirkgate and The Trinity Centre. I have just been trying to get out there.”
Open Mic UK is described as “The Biggest Search for Unsigned Acts in the UK.” The music contest attracts thousands of singers, singer-songwriters, rappers and vocalists each year. They then compete at regional auditions to get the chance to perform at live music showcases to then reach an annual national final.
After hearing about the competition, Faheem thought it would be a great opportunity to create contacts with industry professionals and get noticed as an artist. “Unlike other singing competitions like the X Factor and The Voice, the judges in this competition are all representatives from record labels who are looking to further opportunities within the industry.”
After winning in the 16-20 category (he was 20 at the time) ,Faheem said how he was surrounded by tough competition. “There was so much raw talent but I wanted to strive to be the best that I could be. I planned each performance thoroughly.”
The singer went on to say how proud he felt of his recent win. “It has given me a good confidence boost. It made me appreciate what I have got and that I can actually sing. It has given me more belief in myself rather than people just telling me that I am a good singer.”
It was after singing Leona Lewis’ ‘First time, ever I your saw your face’ that saw Faheem cement his name in the competition and win over the judges. “For the grand final, with the acts that I was up against I wanted to sing a powerful song. I enjoy singing ballads so I wanted to show off my vocal range and show off my powerful voice.”
Previous winners of the competition include X Factor stars Lucy Spraggan, Jahmene Douglas and Union J’s Jaymi Hensley.
Faheem has high hopes of making it big in the music industry. In terms of new music, he is planning on releasing a single called “Young and Wild” which will be out in a couple of months.
“I am also looking to organise a show called “A night with Faheem” in a couple of months’ time. I want to scout some singers and give them a chance to perform. I want to get them on stage and give them to opportunity to do what I’m doing.”
For now, Faheem is looking to perform at festivals over the summer and is currently working on new music with producers in London. He is also searching for the perfect manager to help him advance to the next level of his career within music.