Discover Young Hackney’s 2015 youth arts festival has begun with the announcement of sixteen-year-old Kali McLoughlin as the winner of the Alter Ego, “untapped talent” competition.
McLoughlin was crowned winner after her breathtaking performance of Minnie Riperton’s 1974 hit ballad “Lovin’ You” at Hackney Empire.
Discover Young Hackney, organised by the council, is an award-winning festival launched in 2007 and aimed at developing arts opportunities for people aged 13 to 19. Every year the festival starts with Alter Ego, a competitive showcase that helps young people to reveal their talents as well as learn new artistic skills.
Hosted by Kat B of MTV Base, Alter Ego 2015 featured performances by Jermain Jackman, Sneakbo, Timbo and Mandem on the Wall alongside the best young artists of the vibrant borough of Hackney.
This year’s contestants included singers, guitarists, rappers, spoken word artists and dance groups. Since the auditions in January all acts have been mentored by professional artists at the theatre in Mare Street.
The winner was selected through a combination of 50 per cent audience text voting and 50 per cent nominations by the judges. The judging panel included a former contestant and winner of The Voice, Jermain Jackman as well as top industry professionals such as grime artist Ghetts, producer Bless Beats and Leroy “FX” from
the dance group Flawless.
The arts festival will continue until 28 February and feature events in film, dance, music, theatre and more. More information can be found on the Facebook page or the event brochure.