Banchory teen wins NEX Factor singing prize

Anna Barton, winner of NEX Factor 2015 (JN Photography).
Anna Barton, winner of NEX Factor 2015 (JN Photography).

A Banchory schoolgirl has set her sights on global stardom after winning the north-east’s largest youth singing contest, the NEX Factor.

Anna Barton (16), dazzled the 300-strong audience which packed into Inverurie’s Thainstone Exchange on Saturday, May 30, for the contest’s grand final.

The Banchory Academy pupil beat off 11 other teenage acts to receive the most audience votes and scoop £1,000 in prize money, a session at a recording studio, a personal art portrait and a day out in London with Aberdeenshire pop star Emeli Sandé.

The NEX Factor singing competition highlighted the most promising music stars between the ages of 13 and 19 from across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

More than 100 youngsters applied to take part in this year’s event and through a series of auditions the judges whittled the field down to the final 12 acts – 11 soloists and one duo.

Each finalist performed two songs on the night, some choosing to sing a composition written by themselves.

Anna, who performed fourth on the night, opened with the Motown soul hit ‘Who’s Lovin’ You’, written by Smokey Robinson and recorded by many artists, including The Jackson 5, The Supremes and Michael Bublé. Her second song was James Brown’s ‘This is a Man’s World’.

Following her sensational win, Anna said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to win this year’s NEX Factor.

“The other finalists were all so talented and I faced some really tough competition for the title. Music will always be one of the most important things in my life and I would love to make my living as a singer-songwriter.”

The Banchory teen has been singing at Aberdeen’s Junction Church for several years and is a regular worship leader, so she is used to performing in front of audiences.

Emeli Sandé wished all the finalists good luck ahead of the final. Posting on Twitter to her 1.2million followers, she said: “Good luck to all the NEX Factor contestants. I remember falling in love with performing on the stages of Aberdeen.”